iMac Intel 27" EMC 2309 and 2374 Hard Drive Replacement

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iMac Intel 27" EMC 2309 and 2374 Hard Drive replacement.

Upgrade your hard drive for more storage space!

Edit Step 1 Glass Panel  ¶ 

Image 1/3: Stick a heavy-duty suction cup near each of the two top corners of the glass panel.

Edit Step 1 Glass Panel  ¶ 

  • Stick a heavy-duty suction cup near each of the two top corners of the glass panel.

  • To attach the suction cups, first position the suction cup with the movable handle parallel to the face of the glass panel (as highlighted in the second picture).

  • While lightly holding the suction cup against the glass, raise the movable handle until it is parallel with the other handle (as highlighted by the third picture).

  • If your suction cups refuse to stick, try cleaning both the glass panel and the suction cup with a damp soft, lint-free cloth. (Dampen with distilled water, and if needed, an equal ratio of distilled water and white vinegar for best results.)

  • Do not use the suction cups to carry the display glass because if one of them fails to stick, you could drop the screen and break it.

  • The original iMac box makes a good place to store the glass panel. Otherwise, a padded horizontal surface, like a towel on a desk will do nicely.

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

Image 1/3: Gently lift the glass panel perpendicular to the face of the LCD enough to clear the steel mounting pins attached along the underside of the top edge of the glass panel.

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Gently lift the glass panel perpendicular to the face of the LCD enough to clear the steel mounting pins attached along the underside of the top edge of the glass panel.

  • Pull the glass panel away from the lower edge of the iMac and carefully set it aside.

  • During reinstallation, be sure to meticulously clean the inside of the glass panel and the face of the LCD as any dust or fingerprints trapped inside will be annoyingly visible when the machine is turned on.

Edit Step 3 Display  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Remove the eight T10 Torx screws securing the LCD to the outer case.

Edit Step 3 Display  ¶ 

  • Remove the eight T10 Torx screws securing the LCD to the outer case.

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

Image 1/3: Carefully lay the iMac stand-side down on a flat surface.

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Carefully lay the iMac stand-side down on a flat surface.

  • Due to tight tolerances, you will have to use a thin hooked tool to lift the display out of the outer case. As seen in the third picture, we made one out of a bent paperclip.

  • Use a thin hooked tool to lift one side of the top edge of the display by its steel outer frame.

  • After lifting the top edge of the display on one side, hold it out of the outer case while you use a hooked tool to lift the other side. A pencil or pen can be placed under the top edge of the display, parallel to the top edge and extending past the edge of the computer, to keep the first side propped up while lifting the second.

  • Do not lift the top edge of the display out of the outer case too far, as several short ribbon cables still connect the two components.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

Image 1/2: Use a pair of tweezers to pull the vertical sync ribbon cable out of its socket on the LED driver board near the top left corner of your iMac.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Use a pair of tweezers to pull the vertical sync ribbon cable out of its socket on the LED driver board near the top left corner of your iMac.

  • On some iMacs this may not be a ribbon cable but four separate, very fine and very fragile wires. Be very careful, if the tweezers slip off the plug, you will very likely pull a wire out of the assembly.

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Rotate the display out of the outer case enough to disconnect the LED backlight power cable from the LED driver board.

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Rotate the display out of the outer case enough to disconnect the LED backlight power cable from the LED driver board.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Squeeze the two display data cable connector arms together to unlock it from its socket on the logic board.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Squeeze the two display data cable connector arms together to unlock it from its socket on the logic board.

  • Pull the display data cable connector away from its socket on the logic board.

  • Be very careful when disconnecting this cable as both the cable connector and logic board socket are extremely fragile. When reconnecting the cable later, use as little force as possible.

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Lift the display for enough clearance to disconnect the LCD thermal sensor cable connector from its socket on the logic board.

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Lift the display for enough clearance to disconnect the LCD thermal sensor cable connector from its socket on the logic board.

  • If your fan is spinning full speed after completion, check this connection or the hard drive's thermal sensor cable. The thermal sensor connector socket is very fragile, so be very careful when you connect back the sensor cable.

Edit Step 9  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Carefully pull the display toward the top edge of your iMac and lift it out of the outer case.

Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Carefully pull the display toward the top edge of your iMac and lift it out of the outer case.

Edit Step 10 Hard Drive  ¶ 

Image 1/3: Before disconnecting the thermal sensor cable, take note of its orientation. It is extremely important to reinstall the connector in the current orientation so the fans will not run at full speed. If you have multiple pins on your replacement hard drive, put the connector closest to the SATA connections and closest to the PCB board.

Edit Step 10 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Before disconnecting the thermal sensor cable, take note of its orientation. It is extremely important to reinstall the connector in the current orientation so the fans will not run at full speed. If you have multiple pins on your replacement hard drive, put the connector closest to the SATA connections and closest to the PCB board.

  • Disconnect the thermal sensor, SATA power, and SATA data cables by pulling their connectors away from the sockets on the hard drive.

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Remove the two T10 Torx screws securing the upper hard drive bracket to the outer case.

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Remove the two T10 Torx screws securing the upper hard drive bracket to the outer case.

Edit Step 12  ¶ 

Image 1/2: Slightly rotate the hard drive away from the outer case.

Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Slightly rotate the hard drive away from the outer case.

  • Lift the hard drive off its two lower positioning pins and remove it from the outer case.

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Remove the two T8 Torx screws securing the upper bracket to the hard drive.

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Remove the two T8 Torx screws securing the upper bracket to the hard drive.

  • Remove the upper bracket from the hard drive.

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Remove the two T8 Torx pins from the other side of the hard drive.

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Remove the two T8 Torx pins from the other side of the hard drive.

Edit Step 15  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Carefully peel off the piece of EMI foam attached to the front of the hard drive.

Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Carefully peel off the piece of EMI foam attached to the front of the hard drive.

  • Don't forget to transfer this to your new hard drive.


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

Comments Comments are onturn off

While putting the system back together, I recommend untaping and removing the vertical sync cable from the back of the led screen. Plug it back into the LED Driver board and then into the back of the screen. Reapply the tape and continue reassembling as normal. It is far easier to plug it back into the screen than into the driver board through such a small gap.

Evan, · Reply

My hd failed and i used this guide to replace it with the same model. The problem i'm stuck with now is installing os x again. The installation starts and goes on for a while, while the hard drive makes a weird clicking noise. Then randomly the installation fails and asks to try again. I've done this ten times now.

I'm not here to rant though, i've some useful tips as well.

Instead of buying suction cups, i used a vacuum cleaner inserted into the back of a plastic container to create more pressure per inch. Also used duct tape on edges of the container to create more friction and not damage the glass. Although later i noticed you could wedge the sharp edge of a knife between the glass and the case and widen the gap with a fingernail, then pull the glass out completely.

A note when you're buying screw drivers... The ones with the interchangeable bits won't reach the screws on the lcd, so be prepared to fiddle with strips of paper and screws falling into the sides!

nav, · Reply

I'm supposing my SSD will go before my HDD, but either way this doesn't look like the inside of my 27" iMac. Help?

Thomas Donaghey, · Reply

A partir de l'étape 5, mettre un baton qui sert de cale pour soutenir l'ecran, pas la peine d'enlever les autres connecteurs. Moins de 8 minutes pour le deuxieme Imac que j'ai fait. Apple compte 4 heures de main d'oeuvre...Je n'ai fait que le changement du Disque dur interne sur 2 imac 27 mid 2010. Vraiment à la porté de tous. Une ventouse en haut au centre de la vitre suffit. Rajouter un aimant sur le tournevis torx pour faciliter la remise en place des vis.

docteurfrankenstine, · Reply

I wanted to add a quick note to this after completing my HDD replacement.

As I was going though my reinstall of the OS I got an hardware error because of the disconnected special cable that apparently is used for the fan controls as mentioned in other posts here. Everything works fine though because I took the advice upfront to install HDD Fan Control. Until I installed HDD Fan Control the fans did rev up faster than normal. But it wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting or had heard/read. Once installed it took over the fans perfectly. I tweaked the defaults speeds a bit and off I went to restore my data.

I can't thank you all enough for sharing your wealth of information. The breakdown of the iMac and replacement went perfectly due to all the information and additional notes of experience. Thanks. I look forward to doing more repairs now, instead of dreading them.

James Brynildsen, · Reply

I MADE IT!!! thank you very much for this! You saved me a lot of money!! 400 euros actually for just replacing the hard drive. Thank you!!!

Stavros Chatzidakis, · Reply

I had a spudger - which was of great help getting the display off, and also in guiding the scews in when reassembling - the magneic clips on the display were annoyingly grabbing the screws, and the spudger made all the difference in keeping them from adhering to the nearest magnet.

Also - when levering out the display, instead of the corners, I found one of the steel tabs holding the magnets at the top was easier to lever out a little and then get ahold of.

Another tip - if you can, when you lay this flat, do so such that the base of the mac is facing away from you, and get some good directional lighting - a desk lamp, right into where you will be disconnecting/reconnecting the fiddly display wires. The HDD is a doddle once the display is off.

dannystaple, · Reply

See this explanation for thermal sensor issues:

Apple uses proprietary thermal sensing firmware included on drives they ship - if you install a stock drive you'll need to install this software - or something else - to use the standard heat sensing system on most drives.

I followed this guide with a 2011 iMac and ended up with my fan pegged at 4000rpm - I installed the HDD Fan Control software and it instantly went back to normal.

Sam Mateosian, · Reply

Why does my iMac look nothing like he one in the pictures? It's a late 2009 27 in, but the screen does not go all the way to edge.. there's metal in the way..

ashkaan, · Reply

You can use a free alternative to the insanely expensive HDD Fan Control :

It works out of the box. No tweaks or strange things. And it costs nothing (it's donationware).

teresa, · Reply

Switching from 1TB HD to 500GB SSD like a charm - warning : SSD desktop kit required. I highly recommend using softwares as SSD Fan Control and TRIM Enabler in order to get your iMac SSD capable.

Simon DESVERGEZ, · Reply

This guide was a perfect step-by-step and if you follow it you will have a successful repair. I replaced the internal hard drive and my mac is up and running again perfect! Thank you Ifixit!

Frank Gorora, · Reply

In this guide, the first step should be to identify which make of drive is currently installed. If it's Seagate, install a Seagate drive. Ditto WD or Hitachi. I have one that's got the Seagate cable and I am putting in a 2TB SSHD and will report back on if I have the fan issue.

jtowner, · Reply

After upgrading RAM, I recently added a new harddrive to replace the original rumbling 1Gb Seagate. I installed one of the new hybrid drives from Seagate (in this case 2TB) and it is not only very fast but almost silent. I can certainly recommend it. No Fan issues if you install the cables carefully.

Graham Callaway, · Reply

I used this guide to the letter, and everything worked perfectly for me. I bought all my supplies from iFixit- the suction cups, the hard drive, even the 54 bit Driver kit. The long narrow screw driver in the kit made it easy to remove the screws. I guess the only thing I had to supply was the paper clip and the screen cleaner. I was really glad this guide was here to help me fix my $2000 anchor when my hard drive crashed.

elementkim, · Reply

This is a great guide; I have a comment for the lazy/fearful. What I did is installed Mac OS on an external drive (LaCie Firewire), plugged it in the back, and that has become my hard drive. I'm sure it's slower than it should be, but works just fine for my needs (telecommuting, streaming media, internet, etc.). The old, dead hard drive is still stuck inside the iMac, and there it will remain...

E Law, · Reply

Does anyone have any techniques or recommendations for how to make sure you get ALL the dust off the screen before putting the glass back on?

The only aspect of this entire installation process that I'm worried about is that I'll somehow damage the bare panel while the glass is off, or I'll get contaminants in there.

Obviously canned air is at the ready.

Great guide!

dreamstateseven, · Reply

I used a clean dry 3" wide watercolor wash brush, which I have utilized for other instances such as getting dust off color transparencies. You just need to go very lightly all the way across until you see no more dust, which can sometimes take a dozen or so swipes. I was thinking of using canned air but the brush works fine. They cost about 3 bucks at an art supply store.


Thank you, iFixit. Without the guide I wouldn't have a nice new SSD in my late 2009 iMac. One suggestion. It would help a LOT if each step in all the guides that involves a connector showed or described how the connector is to be disconnected. For those of us not familiar with all the different kinds, it's sometimes NOT obvious whether to pull UP or OUT, whether or not there is a lock release of some sort, etc. The LCD thermal sensor cable connector (Step 10) was particularly tough, because it is small and the wires are thin and it would be easy to break them (it pulls toward the end where the wires exit the connector, but use something to grab the connector, rather than pulling on the wires!)

Brian, · Reply

Great guide. I followed it but found after removing the logic board there was no secondary sata port!!! Either way I hooked up the original hard drive to power and temp sensor to stop the fan spin up and used the sata for the SSD so works great. One problem! My sound is now greyed out? Any physical reason for this? When the imac powers on it makes a sound but no sounds in Mac OS. I feel it must be physical not software related.

Damian Wright, · Reply

the optical replacement caddy is required in order to fit an SSD as the SATA connector which plugs into the optical drive is smaller and will not naturally fit your SSD!! I couldn't see this mentioned in this guide.

Also to confirm I ended up replacing the main hard drive with a SanDisk 256GB Extreme II drive and to prevent the constant fan noise problem if you fit a spare 2pin thermal sensor by unplugging the original hard drive sensor it does actually work! I managed to salvage a spare thermal sensor from an old iMac from the optical drive and plugged it in and it works a treat!!

j74656, · Reply

If you are looking to replace the existing factory fitted hard drive with an SSD and you have a 2 pin thermal sensor - like one out of an old iMac's optical drive unit (or a spare ordered online) you can easily use this and replace the factory fitted hard drive thermal sensor. Be very careful as this connector can be fragile but place the replacement thermal sensor on top of your SSD and secure down with sticky tape. Works a treat! The iMac's fan's do not spin at full speed and you don't need any software to control the fan speed. The iMac is truly fooled :-)

j74656, · Reply

Many thanks for this service. I did not use any special tools, it was very easy to manage. Every step is explained perfectly.

Hasnspeter, · Reply

Another awesome guide! Kudos to Andrew Bookholt! It was very well illustrated and the photos were very well taken. Rock-on iFixit!

MacTwidget, · Reply

Thank you so much! I didn't have to actually change the HDD, I could connect it on my other laptop to repair and format. After that it worked and my restore went easy as pie. :)

Ayda, · Reply

I would like to mention that I was terrified of having to open my 27" iMac. I mean really, suction cups? Fragile tiny wires that you have to remove when the display is open about an inch? Yikes! As it turns out, if you ever had to work inside a Mac SE30 you can definitely do repairs on an iMac. Same cramped spaces but better design.

cbird1057, · Reply

Thank YOU all so much for this guide and comments. Took me two weeks to get up the courage to open my iMac. Watched videos read and reread everything. My iMac now has a beautiful 2TB Seagate Barracuda Hybrid (ST2000DX001) drive in it. I replaced a Seagate 1TB that died. So when considering replacement drives this one seems to be working just fine. It's been on for 24 hours no fan problems. Woohoo!

Cyndee La Matry, · Reply

Great guide, but I think I screwed it up - I installed a new hard drive, no problem there, and I gently pulled out The Vertical sync ribbon. When I tried to put it back in, the 4 small metal connector folded up like tape! I I very gently straightened them out and reattached it, (and I reattached everything else by the instructions) but when I tuned the power on, the Screen lit up for a brief moment then turned off. I could hear whirring inside, but cannot get it to boot up. I wondered if I need a boot disk or something but I am pretty sure I did something wrong reassembling... Can anyone help???

TJ Morris, · Reply

I completed all steps easily and with no hassles using these straight-forward instructions and succeeded in replacing my iMac's old HD for a new superfast 1Tb SSD. Can't thank you enough! I was pretty insecure but all went well.

contato, · Reply

Hi cantata, do you mind sharing some of the details? Which SSD did you choose, did it fit out of the box or did you need a kit, how did you tackle the thermal sensor issue or did you use fan control software? Thanks!


Awesome guide! Worked like a charm. Thanks so much!

Vak Anderson, · Reply

Woo hoo! It worked for me. Well, that is it worked after I realized why the screen was not turning on (I had missed plugging one of the cables back in). The restore from the Time Machine worked great and now I'm up and running on a 3TB drive. Woo hoo!

AZDean, · Reply

Great guide, It worked perfect for me. Thanks a lot! I appreciated a second persons help to hold the lcd screen to a safe distance while I was unplugging the connectors so I could see what I was doing. A good but silly tip to control the magnetic force when screwing back the LCD is to reach the hole holding the torx screw with tweezers to place it in the correct position

Usue, · Reply

Maybe I should have been reading the comments or edits before I started but I was unaware of the incompatibility of the thermal sensor with most new drives :-/. Fortunately, after little research, I found SSD Fan Control ( ! There's a few hardware hacks or workarounds but I didn't really find if they would work w/ my particular model (2309). Anyway, the app works great, check it out if you need it! Hopefully it will continue to do so.

Otherwise, great guide, as usual!!! This site, has once again, saved my Mac and saved myself TONS of money! Spent $175 in 2 HDD's and tools as opposed to $1700+ on a new 27" iMac! Cannot even describe how good that feels.

Joe List, · Reply

Excellent guide. when I turned my mac back onto after installation it showed the folder with question mark symbol..The new HDD must be formatted for mac to recognise it (mac journalled GUID partition) I couldn't get disk utility off my original installation CD as my optical drive died years ago so turned a USB into a bootable drive, downloaded yosemite installed it as an installer, when I plugged it into my mac and held down C on startup I was overjoyed to see the apple. from here I erased the seagate HDD reformatted it to mac journalled and created a GUID partition, went back to installer followed the installation process and it was easy sailing form there!! Thank you!! and instead of using suction cups to take the screen off I used high tac duct tape.

Anna Evans, · Reply

Les explications sont très claires, j'ai rencontré un problème de connection pour le câble du capteur termique. Le disque d'origine était un Western Digital et j'ai commandé un Toshiba.

Mais le probème est résolut et tout fonctionne.


Jean-Pierre Moll

jpmoll, · Reply

I have a IMAC 27" 2.66 GHz (late 2010) with Seagate 1T harddisk. The harddisk stopped working end of August 2015. I replaced it with a new Toshiba 1T purchased from IFIXIT. I formatted the hard disk and installed the OS X 10.6.8 snow/Leopard without any problem and following the guide here.

Now every 5 seconds there is a very annoying sound like dripping water sounds like its coming from the new harddisk.

Can someone advise me what the problem is?

INFO, · Reply

You can easily lift the glass panel off the magnets with only your fingernails (or something thin like a credit card or a guitar pick). No need to buy suction cups you will only use once.

Nick Caron, · Reply

Yes, you don't need the specific suction cups to remove the display cover - it's held on by magnets, and if you start at the center by the iSight you can work out to the edges and remove it. I had an iPhone screen suction cup around and it helped with balancing the screen when you pull it out fully, but by no ways is it required.

jtowner, · Reply

Great guide and pretty straight forward the only thing that took me ages and I didn't manage to undo were the power btn cable (step 28) and the thermal sensor (step 25) Seemed like they were glued on! Very difficult to remove and obviously conscious so I didn't break anything!

Eddie, · Reply

Thanks!!! Worked excellently.

I used a plunger (clean first ;-) to get the screen off, and for fan control.

Then, i did not take out the whole display and left it in the hinges on the bottom side and held it up with two small cardboard boxes. Easy enough to disconnect the hdd then.

I replaced with an ssd, put that into a ssd enclosure. Had to drill an extra hole in it to fasten the pins that hold it in place.

Used Carbon Copy Cloner to make an image from the old hdd, with the sad connected via usb. Checked it of it booted via System Preferences > Startup Disk. It worked so the took the imac apart and replaced the disk. Booted, everything was working as always, only faster!

Frank303, · Reply

I'm replacing my optical drive too. what exactly needs to be plugged into the SSD? I don't have the kit - as I am not sure one is required if I buy something like this:

Can you please advise? Can I do it with this piece, or do I need to get the entire bracket kit?

Allen Borza,

My display data cable forks, with a smaller section going up near the camera board. Where it forks, it is attached to the aluminum plate that attaches around the cpu board. I haven't seen any images that look similar, and I'm stumped at how to remove this second section of the cable. 2010 i7 build to order

Awolf, · Reply

you should do this mac up, because, for me, one of the suction cup failed, and the glass fall into the lcd screen. Now there is a big hole in it...

Lau, · Reply

do you still have this panel?

Alpha Dimension,

Reassembly: After powering on and running for a few minutes, found a large whitish patch on the screen. Persists after powerdown.

Turned out to be condensation, though it didn't look like it - more like fine white powder rubbed in. Humidity is very high this time of the year. Fix: start airconditioner in a room, leave it running a while, take iMac in, prise open the glass again. Condensation vanishes instantly. Keep it out for a ~15 minutes running infinite loops to get iMac nicely heated up and fans running. Snap glass back.

ganesh, · Reply

I used a Swiffer dry cloth to get all the dust off the screen while just blowing with my mouth at a steep angle. I know I didn't get every speck, but the screen looks perfect once assembled and lit again. Removing the glass from the screen is pretty easy if you need to re-clean it.

Jay Gillibrand, · Reply

I strongly recomment to detach the suction cups while working at the rest of the steps. In my case after half an our i heart a crack noise behind me on the table... The vacuum of one of the suction cups braked the glass! maybe there should be a warning in the Repair guide

shippe, · Reply

Be careful not to lose these screws when they are unthreaded. Use tweeters to grab them before removing the Torx driver.

Gavin McMorrow, · Reply

To prevent screws close to the magnets to leave your screwdriver, use a straw to encapsulate your screws. This is especially useful when putting them back. See pictures for details: and

Marc66, · Reply

Be very careful not to hook the Bluetooth antenna cable while you're lifting the display out. It's hiding under the top left corner of the iMac. I managed to snag mine with the paperclip and ended up pulling the antenna cable clean out of the tiny gold connector. Some very precise reconstruction work was required to get the cable seated in the connector again and back up to full signal strength.

Ben Davies, · Reply

I had a friend with me so all I did was disconnect the vertical sync ribbon cable, and I had my friend hold up the LCD for a couple of minutes as I swapped out my HDD with an SSD, thus avoiding steps 6-9 and going straight to step 10.

Gabe, · Reply

Can I purchase this cable separately?

mamedovmarat, · Reply

After removing the display, I noticed a high pitched whine coming from the machine, different loudness for different levels of display brightness. Reading up on it, it seems that the problem is with the vertical sync cable (and this is a well-known issue with Apple with new machines, too). So be careful when reinserting this cable!

Adam Hintz, · Reply

I noticed that the vertical sync cable seems to have been updated since the guide was produced. It now has a more normal plug and socket and 'regular' wires instead of the flat ribbon cable shown here. I used narrow nosed pliers instead of tweezers to unclip it as I was afraid that just pulling on the wires could have broken them.

Eoin, · Reply

WARNING: Take extreme care when removing these wires as mine were not a ribbon cable but individual tiny wires. I removed them cautiously with tweezers OK but when re-inserting, one of the wires came off. Obviously someone had been in here before.

Peter Sinclair, · Reply

be sure to keep this cable, because it does not come with a new display!

Julian, · Reply

I changed the HD yesterday and when I reinstalled the Display I had the same problem then Peter Sinclair. I started to panic first. But then I reinstalled the Pannel without re-insterting the cable at all and nevertheless my iMac works perfectly since 14 hours now. I'm really confused!

muggooz, · Reply

My vertical sync ribbon cable had two of the four contacts bent back, it may even have been like this originally. I straightened them out as best I could under a magnifying glass, and after reinserting, everything is working OK. Seems this cable is not particularly critical. Also, I used needle nose pliers for this and the other connectors, I can't get enough grip with tweezers.

Andrew Crabb, · Reply

Tweezers didn't work for me due to the angle and lack of grip (they kept slipping and I was concerned about squeezing any harder). I just used my fingers to grab the connector as close to the connection as possible for both removal and insertion and it worked just fine. I have big hands and meaty fingers, so this method should work fine for anyone.

David, · Reply

I have a late 2009 27" Mac and did something similar to Gabe, but being alone, after unplugging the vertical sync cable, I used two wooden chopsticks to hold the screen at about 45° and without disconnecting any more cables I could quite easily access the Superdrive to remove and replace with a 240GB SSD with help from a caddy from TheNatural2020, which required a tiny modification.

All in all it took me about 45 minutes and was much easier than expected. It is working at a negotiated SATA speed of 3 Gbps Some report a speed of only 1.5 Gbps, but from what I had read before purchasing the Crucial M500, going for a 6 Gbps SSD is worse on a late 2009 Mac as it has to default to the basic SATA 1 speed of 1.5 Gbps, while the slower 3 Gbps SATA II drive works at 3 Gbps. The time from the Apple logo till the sign-in screen on startup has gone from 33.5 seconds to 8.5 secs, and my internal hard drive is a 7200rpm

I am VERY satisfied and it was much easier than expected.

Adam Griggs, · Reply

I also did this step and then went straight to step 10. I installed a SSD so I didn't do step 15 either. You can use this to control the fans:

Overall, great guide! Thank you.

Sam Im, · Reply

Adam's technique with the chopsticks works great. I didn't even have to disconnect the V-sync cable. Mine wasn't plugged in for some reason. I guess the LCD works without it.

Ashok, · Reply

This was for me the hardest step when reassembling the iMac.

I had to open and close the iMac several times as each time some of the cables was not properly connected: The vertical sync, the display data cable connector, even the Bluetooth antenna was off at some point and I had to re-open every time! Finally I left the vertical sync cable disconnected as with each operation it was in very bad condition and impossible to plug in. I'm amazed at how bad designed is this cable and how easy is to break it! It's nice to know that they improved it, poor technicians.

I'd like to replace it in the future but I really don't know how or if it is available in its more up-to-date version… I didn't feel like dissasembling everything again to see how is it connected.

carolaclavo, · Reply

The portion of this little cable that plugs into the receptor is stiffer than the rest of the cable, but it is very slippery. For me, it was also very tight. Tweezers and fingers just slipped right off of it. Fortunately, I didn't tear the cable. I ended up using needle-nose pliers wrapped with cellophane to get traction. It was also very difficult to reinsert. By raising the display to the maximum level with all the other cables connected, I was able to push it in with my fingers.

Also: if you get any smudges on the display, a lens pen works great to remove them. I used a swiffer to pick up dust.

Michael Morris, · Reply

I opened the case as far as I could without stretching this cable and used my fingers to get it. The end of the ribbon where it connects is stiff, so you can grab it there. There's not connector; the stiff part just slides in and out. Getting it back in is a pain, but if you get the perfect angle it slides back in without much force.

Jay Gillibrand, · Reply

Pull the cable AWAY from the connector. Some cables have a plastic connector cap attached to the end. This one does not. The cable just slips out as if pulling a stick of gum out of a package. I used my index finger and thumb, no tweezers needed.

Cameron Moll, · Reply

Step 7 MAY be better done prior to Step 6. 7's cord comes tight before there is enough lift room to get to Step 6's plug in my opinion.

Gavin McMorrow, · Reply

Maybe it's just me but I couldn't see how to unclip this. It felt like it should just be a case of squeezing both sides and then pulling, but it was so stuck I was concerned about damaging it.

If anyone has a little more detail on this step it'd be useful.

Chris, · Reply

The connector has a simple locking mechanism, essentially a ridge on the top where the thumb is placed in the picture. If you push down gently there the latch raises and you can pull the cable out.

Rob Purcell, · Reply

I found step 6 the most difficult of the whole procedure. The way I unclipped the connector was from the front, with my thumbnail. There's a little ridge over which the cable clicks tight. If you use your thumbnail to lift the connector over that ridge, you can then easily remove the cable. (Maybe iFixit should that advise to the guide, since especially step 6 is a bit too concise imho.)

Daan, · Reply

Agreed with previous comment :You should be very careful after step 5 - it may be necessary to do the step 7 before the step 6 because the connector on the motherboard for the LCD data is very very fragile. I broke it and found that a lot of people broke it as well .

pierre, · Reply

I just spent 100€ at the Mac shop to learn this: when reattaching the display data cable be sure you get the ends right. Even if the cable fits perfectly the other way round, the computer won't even start.

Julian, · Reply

NOTE!  The internal video connector on the logic board is quite fragile - proceed with extra care when disconnecting. There are many postings of Mac users who have broken the display connector and are then left with quite a challenging proposition to replace it. Here is the link to one such thread:

thorjurgen, · Reply

Ditto. It is very fragile. Mine pulled off the motherboard while doing the upgrade (all else went well). Problem occurred because I tried to do the drive swap without removing the display. I had someone hold it up for me. Display is heavy and you can't feel the tug of the cable. Disaster.

The repair is beyond most computer repair folks. Found these guys and they are great. For $195 they fixed it in 24hours.

Dave, · Reply

I ran into a big problem with step 7: my display data cable did not have any sort of plug to connect to the logic board. Instead, the cable seemed to be soldered onto the board or simply run under this small copper-colored band. There was no plastic plug to detach/attach.

I was afraid to pull on the cable and break something, so I simply had a friend hold up the LCD and I replaced the logic board without removing the display. I'm not sure what I would have done if I needed to replace the drive.

Has anyone else run into this issue where the display data cable doesn't have a plug? And are there alternative ways to detach it safely?

fronesis, · Reply

@fronesis - on my iMac it wasn't possible to pull out the connector at first. There was a small rectangular metal clip which locked the connector in place - this had to be pulled up first, and then the connector came out extremely easily.

johnrowell, · Reply

I'm having blackscreen issue and this cable is my main suspect. Here is my post regarding this issue.

Mads, · Reply

Be very very careful when you pull out this plug as it is extremely fragile and also reattaching the LCD thermal sensor plug and very very gently ensure that the pins are actually going into the connector before you push the plug in. i damaged the top part of the plastic housing which then made it difficult to insert the plug into the connector. I can't believe how easy it was to damage this connector!! If you don't attach the LCD thermal sensor plug correctly the Mac fans will go crazy at full speed. It took a good 15 minutes to get the pins to finally go into the plug and they can bend easily.

j74656, · Reply

This was too tight to get with my hands. I used needle nose pliers to grab the plastic connector and it popped right out. I need pliers to get it to snap back in too. The wire itself if very thin so be sure to only grab the connector.

Jay Gillibrand, · Reply

I just put a 2 TB WD (WD2001FASS) Black in a 27″ iMac. I had issues with the hard drive fan staying on and the system showing the thermal sensor wasn't working. I tried the pin a number of ways but I finally figured out I had to have the connector closest to the SATA connection and the black wire had to be on the board side (toward the LCD).

philomathius, · Reply

Thanks so much for this comment! I was going nuts trying to figure out why the fan was going crazy despite my using the same brand drive. I flipped the connector over and plugged it back into the drive with the black cable nearest the display. Problem solved.


Thank you very much for sharing this information.

I can confirm the same for the WD 1TB (WD1003FZEX). I too had to turn the sensor cable 180° and insert it into the socket with the black cable facing up (i.e. towards where the LCD would be) in order to solve the fan speed issue.


Note that the thermal sensor cable is no longer present on the mid-2011 iMac.

Robert Slifka, · Reply

Speaking of the thermal sensor, I just bought 2 2tb internal HDD (Hitachi Deskstar 3.5 and a seagate barracuda green) and both of them have different thermal sensors. Baraccuda is 4 pin, and Hitachi is 2 pin. the pics of the stock western dig looks like it has 6 pins, from a video I saw online of this. I want to trade out my hard rive myself, but I don't want to #$&@ it up, so any suggestions or comments would be greatly appriciated ( I have a 2007 27in 2.66 i5)

William Evans,

I put a 1.5 TB seagate barracuda in (before that there was a 1 TB seagate barracuda). but my fans stay on 4000 rpm. the connector in my machine can only go in one way, so i can't change connections like Philomathius wrote. the connection on the drive is the same: 4 pins, the cable has only 2.

peter, · Reply

This step is somewhat important if you want to use the thermal sensory with a multiple pin style drive. My comment is to just read the instructions a few times before and make sure you use the two pins that are in the top row on the side of the SATA cable.

mike, · Reply

I hate to say this guys, because this guide is really well put together and has been helpful, but I am a little furious at the fact that I bought the recommend Western Digital HDD #WD10EZEX to replace in my mums iMac and the HDD doesn't even have a port to fit the thermal sensor pins in. It just has 8 pins for inserting a jumper. After finishing the process and fitting the new HDD it doesn't even notice that it's there upon boot. I can't see it being an issue with the iMac (however I will now have to take it apart again just to confirm and troubleshoot) but why would you recommend something that doesn't fit the bill?




If this an error on my behalf and anyone could help I would be very grateful, otherwise I'll have to sell the HDD and buy another...

Rhys, · Reply

Hi Rhys,

That HD should work great. If it's not showing up at all then there is another issue in play. Most of the older WD drives had a cutout for the jumper cable. The new ones don't so just remove the extra clip on the iMac's thermal sensor cable.

Scott Dingle,

The best solution for the Thermal Sensor issue is to use a 2N3904 transistor as explained here:


I used that exact solution yesterday and it's working like a charm:

Marc66, · Reply

For solve reving HDD fan issues with SSD install, I removed the fan and a plastic barrier...

See here:

Gerd24, · Reply

I just added a 3TB Seagate Barracuda Drive (ST3000DM001) and an 1TB Samsung 840 EVO SSD Drive, and haven't had any fan issues. You have to know, that every HDD seems to have a different connector for the temperature. The original HDD was a 2 TB Hitachi drive, the temp. connector wouldn't physically fit in the Seagate Drive. I ordered another cable at There was only one way it would fit and has worked like a charm.

Georg P, · Reply

Thank you for the guide. I did it! new SSD installed :)

brendan, · Reply

I purchased my SMC cable through OWC. Worked perfectly. Didn't like the idea of downloading a "patch".

OWC HDD Compatibility for all Apple 2009-2010 iMac 21.5" and 27" Models with SMC Compatibility.

rfmorrow, · Reply

has anyone guidance on how to convert the original samsung thermosensor connector (two rows of three pens) into the new 4 pin-in-a-single-row of the seagate replacement SSHD?

Freek, · Reply

I have the same issue with my new 1000 GB hybrid Seagate SSHD drive. Is there an adapter available?


Since I am based in Europe (very expensive international shipping over at I went and ordered a Seagate Temp Sensor Cable (Apple Part number: 922-9224) via


Excellent guide! I just replaced the Seagate Barracuda disk in a 2010 27" iMac and didn't have any problems at all - certainly no issues with the HDD temp sensor. It definitely pays to research what model of disk you buy. The hardest part for me was reconnecting the incredibly short vertical sync cable. Thanks guys!

Andy Gibbons, · Reply

Apparently I bought the wrong disk for my late 2009 Imac. The disk was supposed to be a Seagate and the one I replaced it with was a Toshiba. The new Toshiba only has 2 pins in in the termal sensor. Now my fans are going crazy. Has anybody had the same issue?

Thanks in advance


jacobraahauge, · Reply

You need to buy a Seagate.

Scott Dingle,

My 27" 2374 iMac required a torx T9 to replace the hard drive bracket.

etk0770, · Reply

Shout out to a great guide! I managed to put the sensor in step 8 in upside down and the fan did indeed whirl. Got it right the second time and everything is great!

mailericla, · Reply

Many thanks for this excellent guide.

The vertical sync cable took a bit of looking at but it really does just pull out tho had to use pliers to get enough purchase. From there just propped the display up with a DVD case at each end which gave enough clearance to remove the drive. All sweet from there on in. Reinserted the sync cable ok but need to use tweezers to hold some of the case screws in place to overcome the magnets.

Rohan, · Reply

I guess I am one of the lucky ones with an original Seagate drive. I upgraded to the 2t HDSS, also from Seagate. The install was painless and the thermal sensor fit exactly as it did on the old drive. From start to finish, the entire process took about an hour. Very quiet iMac now.

johnstonryan, · Reply

Thanks so much. Really useful guide especially when read in conjunction with . I swapped over a replacement HDD reasonably easily. The HDD formatting stage was straightforward using the Imac as a Target (hold T at startup) using Disc Utility on my MacPro as the host via Firewire. The problem came when I tried to use the original installation disc. Usually pressing C or even option (alt) at startup should find the optical drive but it kept spitting out the disc and a folder with a question mark flashed at me. My workaround was to use Disc utility to create a copy of the installation disc on an 8 GB flash drive (presumably a USB would have done as well) and boot from that by holding C at startup. Worked right away. Thanks again

Michael Chester, · Reply

Wow! Start to finish was about 45 minutes! Excellent guide, thank you so much. Just restoring from TM now. Replaced a WD 1TB with a WD 2TB Red. Two thumbs up!!

ricke, · Reply

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