Introduction

Prerequisite only.

Image 1/1:
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the hard drive connector up from its socket on the logic board.

I have a late 2012 Mac mini, but it must be an earlier version than this late 2012 Mac mini in this description, because removing the hard drive is much more complicated than described here. Please see this YouTube video if you have trouble removing your hard drive with these directions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvmuQIZP... There is a longer process you've got to go through. It can be done, it just takes much longer. (3-4 hours for me)

sandyfacebook - Reply

At this point I could remove the hard drive by gently pulling it. There is no need to remove the motherboard!

Zitoune7 - Reply

Same here. I just place two of my torx head screwdrive tips in the holes on the drive and levered it out. Really easy and, well, created my own 12 step program. ;)

Les Manthe - Reply

+1: Don't remove the motherboard, and don't buy the tool to do it. When it's time to slide out the logic board, just push gently on the inside of the metal air guide fins on the intake. This will "eject the motherboard out the necessary 1/2 inch. Be mindful of the length of wires going from under the RAM out to the front of the case, as you don't want to pull hard or disconnect these..

Scott Prive - Reply

I decided that there was a greater risk of breaking something by not removing the logic board than by removing it. The old hard drive comes out easily enough, but the new one would just not quite go in for me. Lining the screws on the outside of the new hard drive with the rubber grommets is so much easier with the logic board out. I used masking tape with pencil marks on the case and on the drive in order to line up the screws and the grommets with the case right side up. IMHO, by the time the antenna is off, removing the logic board is relatively easy.

Robert Meppelink - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Use the tip of a spudger to lift the IR sensor connector up and out of its socket on the logic board.

You can remove the hard drive by lifting out after step 9, it's not necessary to disconnect the wireless, nor remove the system board.

Zinger z - Reply

I did not remove the IR sensor. I attempted to and it was very difficult, (I felt like I was going to snap or damage the logic board). I would advise skipping this part since it's not necessary to removal of the hard drive, and it seems like a number of people have damaged their logic board while trying to disconnect the IR sensor. Skip.

FinnCrisp888 - Reply

That third screw on the lower right hand side should be removed in the beginning when you remove the fan.

FinnCrisp888 - Reply

You can skip this step with no problems.

manwe - Reply

Agree with all the previous: this step is not necessary to remove the second drive (the one closer to the bottom of the case. The connector is VERY delicate.

TerribleHacker - Reply

That is true! I just used the tip of a screw driver in the screw holes on the drive to help slide the drive out. The hard part is putting the new drive back in position, due to the 2 screws at the back have to fit into the 2 holes in the rubber at the back of the bay. I finally stood the mini on end, so the drive would fall down into position. Then I stuck a suction cup on the drive to then pull the drive towards me to get the screws and the holes in the rubber to line up.

Wayne Renshaw - Reply

This was my first time taking apart my Mac mini. I wanted to upgrade my hard drive and RAM. However, when I came to this step I pulled the motherboard out a little bit to hard (after tugging on it gently a few times, but it wasn't coming out) and the wires came out. So I was wondering is this fixable? Thank you.

Robert - Reply

I managed to lift the IR connector and the base it connects to... I tried to put it back without breaking the pins but failed. Fortunately, the IR sensor is the least useful part of this device for me, so no loss.

art - Reply

I tried to reconnect this IR plug, but managed to crush all the pins on the logic board. I was gentle the entire time, but I simply could not see how the two fit together, and I still don't. I broke off all the dangling pins and removed them and will now leave the IR connector dangle. These instructions should provide a better visualization for this step. And by the way, I had to remove this connector because I was replacing both drives of a Fusion logical volume.

Dave Kitabjian - Reply

After fiddling with a spudger and then two spudgers and not being happy at all with the direction of the forces I feel that the only safe way to do this, in my opinion, is to slide something under the wires of the IR connector (I used a narrow cable tie, but maybe a suitably bent paper clip would do it too). Make sure this is sitting as close to the connector as possible and then pull directly upwards (away from the board). The idea being to exert a force equally on all the wires at right angles to the board.

Frank Puranik - Reply

Image 1/1: One 5.0 mm T8 Torx or 2.0 mm Hex screw (either screwdriver will work)
  • Remove the following three screws:

    • One 5.0 mm T8 Torx or 2.0 mm Hex screw (either screwdriver will work)

    • One 16.2 mm T6 Torx screw

    • One 26 mm T6 Torx standoff

The 26 mm T6 Torx standoff is actually part of the the third fan screw which was removed earlier in order to get the fan out.

Craig Foster - Reply

If you skipped step 13, skip this one as well.

manwe - Reply

Screws were in different spots on my model

alex - Reply

Note: On my model, this was not a "pull up" cable that needs a spudger, it was a regular "slide" in connector.

alex - Reply

  • To remove the logic board, the two cylindrical rods of the Mac Mini Logic Board Removal Tool must be inserted into the holes highlighted in red. Inserting instruments into any logic board holes other than the ones highlighted in red may destroy the logic board.

  • Insert the Mac Mini Logic Board Removal Tool into the two holes highlighted in red. Be sure it makes contact with the top side of outer case below the logic board before proceeding.

  • Carefully pull the tool toward the I/O board. The logic board and I/O board assembly should slightly slide out of the outer case.

  • Cease prying when the I/O board is visibly separated from the outer case.

  • Remove the Mac Mini Logic Board Removal tool.

You may not find it necessary to push out the logic board in order to slide in (or out) the hard drive. It helps to have the extra room to maneuver, but it can be done without.

FinnCrisp888 - Reply

I had read all the comments thet said the HDD can be taken out at step 12, besides I'm in France, so I hadn't bought the special tool. when I realised I had to remove the logic board after all, I managed without the tool but I'm not doing it again. I inserted 2 screwdrivers in the holes and tried to move them both simultaneously. It worked but instead of sliding out slowly, the I/O board came out all the way with a noise! The clips from step 16 had unclipped by themselves, causing the noise. For a second I thought I had broken everything. I really don't recomment doing this without the tool.

Elica - Reply

Instead of the removal tool it is also possible to use two metal pins with 2,5mm diameter.

Martin Born - Reply

I didn't have the opportunity to get the removal tool before starting my tear-down but when I got to the Removal Tool stage I used a pair of small allen keys, just big enough to fit through the holes in the logic board. You can feel them engage into the holes below the logic board. Easy, steady pressure on both does the job well. I think the main thing through the whole disassembly process is SLOW and Gentle.

January 11, 2015

Steen Rancher - Reply

If you are this far into a tear-down it's a good idea to pop the logic board and replace the battery - a 3Volt #2032. It's on the under side of the board below the antenna and HDD. May save having to come back this way again...

Steen Rancher January 12, 2015

Steen Rancher - Reply

This step may require more force than expected. I was very careful and pulled the remove tool out too early. You have to put a bit of will into it and push it at least 0.5cm (= 0.2 in), less won't do the trick.

Wenzel Massag - Reply

If you have no such tool, just skip this step. You can pull HDD anyway.

manwe - Reply

For this, I discovered that no special tool was needed. I simply pushed the logic board towards the back of the case where the ports are, slid out easy peasy.

alex - Reply

Also, be sure to withdraw the special tool (or any substitute) before prying out the logic board more than just a bit. In my case, the tool restricted the board's movement, and it took me a while to understand why I wasn't getting anywhere.

Gunnar Linn - Reply

I used two 2.5 mm drill bits, turned upside down. They worked like a dream. It took me a little while to realize that they needed to be lifted slightly from the underlying case in order for the board to slide out.

aron - Reply

I put two small screwdrivers in these holes and pulled and had my son push on the far side of the logic board. It took two of us to get it to move.

sandyfacebook - Reply

With a Mac Mini 2012 model, you DO NOT need the logic-board removal tool. I wish I had read these comments before I spent the ten dollars on the tool (I'm not criticizing ifixit here, but I wasted my money).

Scott Prive - Reply

You could always create your own logic-board removal by re-bending what's known as a "landscaping staple". It's just stiff steel wire.

Scott Prive - Reply

Image 1/1: Only pull the logic board assembly out of the outer case until the edge of the I/O board is about .5" away from the edge of the aluminum outer case.
  • Simultaneously push the two plastic clips on the far left and right sides of the I/O board toward the middle of the I/O board and pull the I/O board away from the outer case.

  • Only pull the logic board assembly out of the outer case until the edge of the I/O board is about .5" away from the edge of the aluminum outer case.

steps 10 11 13 14 15 16 not necessary …

radioman - Reply

Really, not necessary.

manwe - Reply

Confirmed not necessary at all!

Paolo - Reply

Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Pull the hard drive away from the front edge of the mini and remove it from the outer case.

Be careful when replacing the HD/SSD in this step. If you are not careful, you can mess up the rubber shock absorbers by misaligning the posts. If that happens, you will have a hard time getting the screws to line up when putting the perforated grille back on (wifi antenna grill).

wattmagner - Reply

I have macMini (late 2012) and buy a Samsung SSD 850 PRO 256GB to replace original 500GB Apple HDD. Your guide is OK, but in step 17 I have a big problem. HDD in my Mini was securing with two screws. So first I need to remove logic board and unplug the power connector. Then remove two screws from HDD side.

Roman Pucko - Reply

Can anyone confirm that those "2 screw" holding HDD to plastic frame in step 17 are "T8 torx"?

slodkijanek -

I can confirm as well. I pried off the large connector off the main board to get to those screws. They t8 and were screwed on very tightly in my case.

Johannes Deml -

My MacMini (bought late 2013), had the HDD installed in the upper bay, so a complete teardown was required in order to change the driver.

However, if you are planning just to add a second driver, there is no need for the doubler kit (only a new lower flex drive).

Antonis Spanakis - Reply

If you are having a !&&* of a time trying to re-position the upper HDD - or just putting it back in - try putting the screws from the antenna grill back into the two upwards facing holes in the drive and using them as 'handles'. The drive has 2 small screws on the forward edge that need to line up with 2 holes in the outer case and as the drive flops around at first it is really hard to hold & maneuver it at the same time.

January 14, 2015

Steen Rancher - Reply

You can pull the HDD out without sliding the board at steps 15 and 16. Quite tricky, but you can.

manwe - Reply

I had the same problem as Roman, I just figured I would add that those "two screws" are T8 screws and that there is a cable on the right side which you should be careful about while removing and reinserting the said screws.

philippott - Reply

In my model, this didn't just slide out. It was attached to a caddy that required removal of the power supply (see other guides for how to do this) which was a nightmare to get back in the same spot.

alex - Reply

I just did this upgrade and my HDD was secured with screws on both sides of the caddy. I actually think the caddy is really only designed to hold a single drive, kind of in the middle position, i.e., it's not the upper, or 2nd drive, position. In any case, this requires removal of the logic board, power supply, and caddy, entirely, in order to remove the existing drive. Tedious, but I didn't have any problems on reassembly.

Keith Rogers - Reply

I could not remove my hard drive for anything. That's because these late 2012 Mac mini directions do not cover all late 2012 Mac minis. Please see this YouTube video if you have trouble removing your hard drive with these directions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvmuQIZP... There is a longer process you've got to go through. It can be done, it just takes much longer. (3-4 hours for me)

sandyfacebook - Reply

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