Introduction

Upgrade your hard drive for more storage space.

Power down your Mac Mini, disconnect all of the cables, and flip it over. Insert the Jimmy into the crack between the aluminum top housing and the plastic lower housing.
  • Power down your Mac Mini, disconnect all of the cables, and flip it over.

  • Insert the Jimmy into the crack between the aluminum top housing and the plastic lower housing.

  • The Jimmy should reach a stop about 3/8" down.

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Gently bend the Jimmy outwards to pry the crack open a little larger and lift the lower housing up a small amount. There are several plastic clips on the lower housing that fit into a channel in the aluminum top housing. Your goal is to use the Jimmy to push these clips inward enough to free them from the channel, while gently pulling up on the lower housing. There are several plastic clips on the lower housing that fit into a channel in the aluminum top housing. Your goal is to use the Jimmy to push these clips inward enough to free them from the channel, while gently pulling up on the lower housing.
  • Gently bend the Jimmy outwards to pry the crack open a little larger and lift the lower housing up a small amount.

  • There are several plastic clips on the lower housing that fit into a channel in the aluminum top housing. Your goal is to use the Jimmy to push these clips inward enough to free them from the channel, while gently pulling up on the lower housing.

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Once you have the first side free, rotate the Mac Mini and start prying up on the front edge. Use the same prying motion to both bend the clips inward and lift the lower housing up out of the top housing.
  • Once you have the first side free, rotate the Mac Mini and start prying up on the front edge.

  • Use the same prying motion to both bend the clips inward and lift the lower housing up out of the top housing.

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You may need to move the Jimmy along the edge to pry up all of the clips. Be patient and do a little bit at a time. You may need to move the Jimmy along the edge to pry up all of the clips. Be patient and do a little bit at a time.
  • You may need to move the Jimmy along the edge to pry up all of the clips. Be patient and do a little bit at a time.

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Keep working around the perimeter, freeing the clips along the final edge. Keep working around the perimeter, freeing the clips along the final edge.
  • Keep working around the perimeter, freeing the clips along the final edge.

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Flip the Mac Mini back over and lift the top housing off of the lower housing. Flip the Mac Mini back over and lift the top housing off of the lower housing.
  • Flip the Mac Mini back over and lift the top housing off of the lower housing.

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Deck the Halls
With tools and Fix Kits
In the next few steps you will be removing the AirPort and Bluetooth antennas (shown in red) from the internal frame. Be very careful, as breaking the brackets will require replacing the internal frame.
  • In the next few steps you will be removing the AirPort and Bluetooth antennas (shown in red) from the internal frame. Be very careful, as breaking the brackets will require replacing the internal frame.

  • We will first remove the AirPort antenna, located in the lower left corner of this picture.

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Slightly squeeze the two retaining arms toward each other and lift the AirPort antenna off its post. Squeezing the two posts excessively will surely break them off the internal frame. Work delicately.
  • Slightly squeeze the two retaining arms toward each other and lift the AirPort antenna off its post.

  • Squeezing the two posts excessively will surely break them off the internal frame. Work delicately.

  • During reinstallation, you will have to slightly squeeze the two posts together so they fit into the openings on the AirPort antenna board.

Spring loaded

bobonthis419 - Reply

The two Bluetooth antenna boards simply lift off the internal frame. Grab the Bluetooth antenna nearest the port side of the computer by the edges of the board and pull it straight up off the internal frame.
  • The two Bluetooth antenna boards simply lift off the internal frame.

  • Grab the Bluetooth antenna nearest the port side of the computer by the edges of the board and pull it straight up off the internal frame.

    • Pull carefully, as it may offer significant resistance and release suddenly.

On mine, at least, a considerable amount of force was required to get the bluetooth antennas up off the posts. In fact, I ended up pulling so hard one one of them that when it suddenly came up, I broke the antenna cable. Be careful!

talarohk - Reply

They do need a fair bit of force. Best way for me was first finger and thumb underneath, either side of the post; and first finger of the other hand on top to prevent it "jumping". Then just move up in one smooth motion.

Brian -

Did you repair the antenna or just let it go? I broke my antenna too, and I can't tell if it's a 2-conductor coaxial cable or a single conductor that I could resolder.

Whiskeychief -

Note on re-assembly - there is a "pin" formed from the top of the internal frame which needs to go through the corresponding hole in the antenna assembly. Although the antenna will clip down without it being exactly in place, the antenna will not be "sprung" and will probably foul the cover when it is replaced, probably causing damage.

As you almost certainly wouldn't notice this as you replace the cover, do check that this "pin" is aligned and that the antenna is floating on the spring, before replacing the cover.

Brian - Reply

I realized, that it made it easier when I grab and squeeze just a little on the spiral thing under the antenna while lifting it up.

Sebastian A Dyhr - Reply

A more controlled way of remove the bluetooth antennae: lever them gently off. The closer you are to the centre pin, the more force you will exert there, instead of wasting it bending up the board. You already have the tools - the putty knife & the spudger.

Put the putty knife gently under the board on the side of your non-dominant hand, and then the spudger under the board on the side of your dominant hand. Gently lift the handle of the putty knife and apply constant pressure. Then gently push and wriggle the spudger under the other side with your dominant hand and push constantly forward. The further you push forward, the more upward force you will apply.The antenna will pop up before you get the spudger all the way under, and it will only rise a few mm when it does.

Tim - Reply

Be aware of cable and Bluetooth antenna board upon reinstall. I attempted to reinstall the board as it faced the incorrect direction, and the cable was improperly positioned. The result? Upon snapping the board in, the cable got caught and portion of it was shorn off near the solder. So, be aware of the board and cable positioning on reinstall.

Tomas - Reply

From what I've read elsewhere- the "spiral thing" under the antenna is a plastic clip that

needs to be pinched together with fingertips,to release the antenna from its post.

This should also be done when replacing it, to ensure the antenna will clear the case.

Seems like this detail was skipped in other instructions here.

myretoucher1 - Reply

From my point of view, it's not always necessary to remove those antenna : I left the bluetooth antenna in place and just put the top part of the Mac Mini close to the bottom, linked by the cable.

cochardp - Reply

Remove the antenna board near the front of the mini by pulling it straight up off the internal frame.
  • Remove the antenna board near the front of the mini by pulling it straight up off the internal frame.

  • If necessary, remove the piece of tape securing the antenna leads to the internal frame.

  • Be sure to keep track of the springs under each of the three antenna boards.

On my late 2009 2.53GHz C2D, there's no tape holding the antenna wire to the frame but it *does* sit in a "clip" formed off part of the internal frame. There's very little slack in the wire for this BT antenna and so it pays to drop the wire back into the "clip" and re-insert the antenna in one motion.

Brian - Reply

Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the audio ribbon cable connector up off the audio board.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the audio ribbon cable connector up off the audio board.

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Remove the following four screws securing the internal frame to the bottom housing:
  • Remove the following four screws securing the internal frame to the bottom housing:

    • Three 6.7 mm Phillips #00 screws

    • One 9.5 mm Phillips #00 screw

  • The screw in the lower right corner of this image is recessed deep in the internal frame and longer than the other three screws. A flashlight and a thin screwdriver aid in removal.

Be careful. There are 2 LONG screws and 2 short ones. Mark which got out where as the short ones do not fit in the long wholes.

Patrick Mast - Reply

Quote from Patrick Mast:

Be careful. There are 2 LONG screws and 2 short ones. Mark which got out where as the short ones do not fit in the long wholes.

I found one long screw. It goes in the corner right next to the fan.

Also, I would recommend taking the audio cable off nearest to the cd drive and not on the audio board. It's easier to see if it is lined up when reconnecting it.

Desmo - Reply

The screw in the lower right is longer than the other 3

bay computers - Reply

6.7mm and 9.5mm screws are equivalent to what size? PH00....PH0 what? 6.7mm is this PH screwdriver and 9.5mm is this PH screwdriver. Please answer.

P.S. I have your 54 Bit Driver Set and least your Phillips bits are labled as PH0 or PH000 not in a mm lable.

Thanks

vikingsgy - Reply

Hey Vikingsgy! Looks like we forgot to say #00 in that step, but the tool required for this guide is a Phillips #00! The millimeter measurements are just for the screw lengths, to make sure they go back in the right spots!

Sam Lionheart -

Lift the internal frame off the bottom housing, starting at the rear edge, until you feel the concealed edge connector on the motherboard disconnect. Then lift straight off, minding the bluetooth and 802.11 antenna cables.
  • Lift the internal frame off the bottom housing, starting at the rear edge, until you feel the concealed edge connector on the motherboard disconnect. Then lift straight off, minding the bluetooth and 802.11 antenna cables.

  • When reassembling, the wifi antenna wire routes to the inside of the vent and then over the top of the vent.

Be VERY careful when reassembling that your wifi/bluetooth cables don't get caught between the internal frame header and its connector on the motherboard. They're so thin that you will hardly feel this (considering this connector requires a lot of pressure). If you then tighten the screws the connector and the stuck wifi cable will be severely damaged.

This damaged my mini's wifi cable and the connector that the internal frame plugs into. I was able to repair the connector by squeezing the plastic sides back together but it's never been quite right and my wifi cable was completely cut. I removed the wireless daughterboard completely now, as I didn't need it anyway and the mini is working again.

I know I should have checked but I didn't think of it. So this is just a word of warning to others trying the same :)

GekkePrutser - Reply

If you accidentally disconnect the antennas, see Mac mini Model A1283 Antennas Replacement to reconnect them.

eric - Reply

I second the comment about trapping wires on reassembly, particularly the WiFi one. The cable's natural tendency is to trap itself between the black plastic airduct section of the internal frame and the corresponding moulding on the base / port side.

In the absence of a third hand, I found that resting the WiFi antenna on top of the optical drive as you lower the internal frame back into position helps position the cable in the right place, rather than leaving the antenna outside the port area.

Brian - Reply

Very tricky to line up the longer screw on reassembly,. I found it easier to put all the screws in place in the plastic frame before carefully reassembling the internal frame with the outer casing. Just be careful not to disconnect the antenna wires, before tightening the screws.

wmdel - Reply

Remove the two Phillips screws connecting the underside of the hard drive to the internal frame.
  • Remove the two Phillips screws connecting the underside of the hard drive to the internal frame.

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Remove the two Phillips screws securing the side of the hard drive to the internal frame.
  • Remove the two Phillips screws securing the side of the hard drive to the internal frame.

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Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the hard drive thermal sensor board off the adhesive securing it to the side of the hard drive.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the hard drive thermal sensor board off the adhesive securing it to the side of the hard drive.

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Remove the strip of tape holding the thermal sensor cable to the hard drive and remove the thermal sensor from the hard drive.
  • Remove the strip of tape holding the thermal sensor cable to the hard drive and remove the thermal sensor from the hard drive.

  • You'll want to transfer this thermal sensor to the same position on your new hard drive.

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Slide the hard drive toward the speaker to disconnect it from the interconnect board. Lift the hard drive from the edge opposite the fan and remove it from the internal frame.
  • Slide the hard drive toward the speaker to disconnect it from the interconnect board.

  • Lift the hard drive from the edge opposite the fan and remove it from the internal frame.

To reinstall drive, hold the internal frame upside down. This will make it easier to align the connector.

eric - Reply

It was super frustrating getting the drive aligned, and when It finally did align, I forgot about the temperature sensor and managed to yank the wire out of the board. Hopefully I can adjust the fans manually and not have to reattach the wire, which doesn't really appear possible.

Anyone ever do it?

I wonder if the wire was the cause of my issue from the beginning, as now that the wire is gone, the drive slips right into place. So, if you're having difficulty getting the drive connected, make sure the temp sensor wire is out of the way.

maccentric - Reply

So, looking back, I now see that the sensor cable routs on top of the drive, not underneath.

maccentric -

When putting a new drive in you need the spudger to hold the bottom of the drive in place though the side opening while you slide it into the sata connectors with your hand or a dull side of a screw driver. It wont damage anything [edit] (the spudger through the side hole) although it seems like you're forcing it. I did it twice because of the same problem with the wire getting caught. Rather than pull on the wire I just removed the drive and realigned the sensor. It's easy with the spudger.

maxcsmith - Reply

It's really not that hard getting the new drive in and avoiding the wire. Move the wire out of the way! Drop the drive in, at an angle under the screw holes adjacent to the fan. Slide along the bottom until it touches the end where the connector is. Turn upside down and push in.

Andy D - Reply

Conclusion

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

572 other people completed this guide.

15 Comments

The Phillips required on this for me was a size 0, not 00, which was too small.

Symm Vafeades - Reply

Step 13 is not needed and should not be attempted.

Don Woollings - Reply

You don't need to remove the connector of the HD temperature sensor from the interconnection board, just detach the sensor from the drive. Then you can still get the drive out. My sensor connector unfortunately broke off completly. I managed to solder the sensor wires directly to the tiny contacts on the board :))

Chris Tyson - Reply

Step 16: Is the thermal sensor necessary if I am replacing HDD with an SDD? If so, where should it be attached?

Brian - Reply

The comment about "Step 13 not being required and shouldn't be attempted" is incorrect!

py - Reply

The guide should be edited for tool list so users don't gather the wrong tools. The phillips driver needed is #0, not #00.

py - Reply

All 3 antenna cables were disconeccted when I separated the board, the correct pins I believe are: for the WiFi antenna J3 (red-black cable), for the Bluetooth antennas J2 (grey cable) and J4 (black cable).

vlada - Reply

I have a dual-drive (mirrored RAID) A1283 which I bought as a preconfigured Snow Leopard Server. The optical drive was omitted to accommodate the second drive. I have to replace both drives. I've been able to disassemble the machine fine but now all 3 of the antenna leads have become disconnected-- both Bluetooth antennas and the Wifi antenna. I can't figure out which goes where. The little board with the barcodes on it has three antenna sockets. With the back of the Mac Mini facing away from me, the Serial Number info reading correctly and the 3/8 inch wide copper ribbon cable on the left, there are two sockets on the right side and one on the left above the copper ribbon cable. My question is, which goes where? The plugs and sockets are all the same. The wires are as follows: Bluetooth closest to the back of the case, black/light blue; Bluetooth closest to the front of the case, silver plastic sheath; Wifi right rear corner closest to the back of the case, black and brown. Thanks in advance.

Richard Cacciato - Reply

PS: I found this page about antennas (Mac mini Model A1283 Antennas Replacement) but the wire colors they mention are different.

Richard Cacciato -

OK, so the airport wire is short and the only place it looks like it goes is in the right side socket closest to the rear of the unit, also taking in account the kinks in the wires. I'm going with that but would appreciate if anyone can confirm. Thanks.

Richard Cacciato -

To get the new hard drive edge connector to mate, turn the chassis up on end, so the weight pulls it in the right direction.

Dermod Wood - Reply

I just completed this install on my 2009 mac mini. I installed a brand new Crucial M500 480gb SSD drive. When attempting to load the OS with a bootable usb I keep getting the No Entry icon on the screen.

Do I need to format the new SSD drive before loading the OS?

Kevin Tufts - Reply

Yes. Initialise the new drive as GUID, MacOS Extended, Journaled.

Then install and all should go well.

Elvin Lucic - Reply

on my install i had to initialize the drive in a ext case on another system. if you are going to install new os from a usb (ubuntu, osx) almost any format will do that assigns partition and a system type. then the system will recognize that the drive is there and permit loading of a system. that may work with a recovery drive as well. after the quick format i tested both my osx and my ubuntu usb loaders. system found both of them.

walang - Reply

Is the hardware recognised by a Windows installation? i mean the airport/bluetooth.

Looks fun to try and install win 10 in this mini box :)

Ramon - Reply

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