Introduction

Replace your broken optical drive to keep those disks spinning.

  1. Before you work on the computer, unplug the computer and press the power button for 20-30 seconds to drain the stored energy in the power supply.
    • Before you work on the computer, unplug the computer and press the power button for 20-30 seconds to drain the stored energy in the power supply.

    • Loosen the two Phillips screws securing the access door to your iMac.

    • These screws are captive in the access door.

  2. Remove the access door from your iMac.
    • Remove the access door from your iMac.

    • Remove the three T8 Torx screws securing the front bezel to the rear panel.

    • Orient the iMac face-up, on its backside.

    • Use your thumbs to press both RAM arms in past the front bezel for enough clearance to lift it off the rear case.

    • While holding the RAM arms in with your thumbs, lift the lower edge of the front bezel enough to clear the rear case.

    • Re-orient your iMac so it sits upright on the stand.

    • Insert a plastic card up into the corner of the air vent slot at the top of the rear case.

    • Push the card toward the top of the iMac to release the front bezel latch.

    • Pull the front bezel away from the rear case.

    • Repeat this process for the other side of the front bezel.

    • It may be necessary to apply several layers of duct tape to the top of the access card to aid in releasing the latches.

    • If the bezel refuses to release, try pressing the lower edge back onto the rear case and repeat this opening process.

    • Lay your iMac stand-side down on a table.

    • Lift the front bezel from its lower edge and rotate it away from the rest of your iMac, minding the RAM arms that may get caught.

    • Lay the front bezel above the rest of the iMac.

    • If necessary, remove the piece of kapton tape wrapped around the microphone and camera cables.

    • Disconnect both the camera and microphone cables.

    • Peel back the aluminum EMI shield up off the lower three edges of the rear case.

    • It is not necessary to peel the EMI shield off the display.

    • We found it helpful to tape the EMI shield up against the display to keep it out of the way.

    • Remove the two 5 mm T6 Torx screws securing the display data cable to the logic board.

    • Using its attached black tab, pull the display data cable connector up off the logic board.

    • Pull the inverter cable connector up off its socket on the logic board.

    • Peel back the aluminum EMI tape from the two vertical edges of the display.

    • During reassembly, it is helpful to use several small strips of tape to hold the EMI shielding along the left and right edges of the display footprint out of the way before lowering the display into the rear case of your iMac.

    • Remove the four recessed coarse-thread 7.5 mm T10 Torx screws securing the display to the rear case.

    • These screws are recessed, so a thin screwdriver such as this is essential for removal. Bit drivers tend to be too short for this application.

    • Lift the display from its lower edge and pull it toward yourself to peel it off the EMI shield attached to its top edge.

    • Be mindful of any cables that may get caught during removal.

    • Remove the T10 Torx screw securing the optical drive flex cable mounting bracket to the logic board.

    • Remove the flex cable mounting bracket.

    • Lift the optical drive flex cable connector straight up off the logic board.

    • This ribbon cable is thin and easily torn. Use caution.

    • Move the SATA data cable away from the edge of the optical drive.

    • Disconnect the optical drive thermal sensor.

    • Apple's "engineers" didn't learn much about deflection and material stiffness when they went to "college", so this optical drive is particularly difficult to remove because the bracket flexes too much. The next few steps require some patience and a good amount of force.

    • Insert the flat end of a spudger into the gap between the optical drive and its bracket until it contacts the chassis.

    • Grab the spudger as close to the surface of the optical drive as you can, then depress the release tab with your thumb while pulling toward yourself.

    • The wedge shape of the spudger may cause it to slip out of the gap toward yourself. Be sure to press the spudger in toward the rear case while squeezing the release tab.

    • Remove the two T10 Torx screws from the side of the optical drive.

    • It's a good idea to lay your iMac flat on a table before removing these screws to avoid them falling behind the logic board.

    • Use the flat end of a spudger to press the bottom edge of the lower optical drive bracket release tab toward the lower edge of the iMac.

    • The optical drive should now be free from the rear case.

    • Maneuver the optical drive out of the rear case, minding the two plastic pins molded into the rear case near the open end of the optical drive that can break off.

    • Remove the two T10 Torx screws from the side of your optical drive.

    • Push the two optical drive bracket tabs out of their slots in the top of the optical drive.

    • Using the tip of a spudger, press the optical drive bracket tab out of its slot on the side of the optical drive.

    • Use the tip of a spudger to push the optical drive bracket tabs out of their slots on the bottom of the optical drive.

    • Pull the optical drive bracket toward the open end of the optical drive to free it from the optical drive.

    • Set the bracket aside.

    • Remove the two T6 Torx screws securing the optical drive flex cable to the optical drive.

    • Insert the flat end of a spudger into the gap between the optical drive flex cable connector and the optical drive.

    • Twist the spudger to separate the connector from the optical drive.

    • Repeat this process for both sides of the connector.

    • Pull the optical drive flex cable connector away from the optical drive.

    • Use a spudger to pry the optical drive thermal sensor off the optical drive.

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

    • Use the flat end of a spudger to remove the small piece of EMI foam from the underside of the optical drive.

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

    • Your optical drive is now completely stripped. If you have a disk or anything else stuck inside your optical drive, we have a guide to fix it.

Conclusion

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

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