iMac Intel 17" Hard Drive Replacement

Featured Guide

Featured Guide

This guide has been found to be exceptionally cool by the iFixit staff.

Upgrade your hard drive to gain more storage space!

Edit Step 1 Access Door  ¶ 

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Edit Step 1 Access Door  ¶ 

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

  • Remove the access door from the iMac.

  • Before beginning the repair, unplug the computer and press and hold the power switch for 20-30 seconds, to discharge internal capacitors.

Edit Step 2 Front Bezel  ¶ 

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Edit Step 2 Front Bezel  ¶ 

  • Remove the following four screws:

    • Three 6 mm T8 Torx.

    • One 8 mm T8 Torx.

Edit Step 3  ¶ 

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Flip your iMac over and lay it stand-side down on a flat surface.

  • To lift the front bezel off the iMac, simultaneously:

    • Use your thumbs to press in the RAM arms and hold the iMac down.

    • Use your index fingers to pull the small bridge of material on the front bezel toward yourself.

    • Pull the Front bezel up with your index fingers.

  • Once the small bridge of material has cleared the RAM arms, lift the front bezel by its lower edge just enough to clear the bottom edge of the rear case.

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

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

  • Insert a plastic card up into the corner of the air vent slot near 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.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • 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.

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • If necessary, remove the piece of kapton tape(it is ok to toss this) wrapped around the microphone and camera cables.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Disconnect both the camera and microphone cables.

Edit Step 8 Display  ¶ 

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Edit Step 8 Display  ¶ 

  • Peel up the lower EMI shield from the rear case.

  • It is only necessary to peel the shield up from three sides. Leave it attached to the display.

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

Edit Step 9  ¶ 

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 4.8 mm T6 Torx screws securing the display data cable to the logic board.

  • Grab the display data cable connector by its black tab and pull it straight up off the logic board.

Edit Step 10  ¶ 

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Inverter cable on 24inch iMac pulls off to the left.

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

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • 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.

Edit Step 12  ¶ 

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Allow the EMI shield to hang down from the display.

  • Remove the four 8 mm with 2 mm thick head coarse-thread 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.

  • It is strongly recommended to use a magnetized screwdriver so the screws won't fall into the iMac.

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

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

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

Edit Step 14 Hard Drive  ¶ 

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Edit Step 14 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • De-route the bundle of power supply cables from behind the hard drive bracket.

Edit Step 15  ¶ 

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • A hard drive thermal sensor may be present on some models. If your logic board is missing the hard drive thermal sensor socket highlighted in red in the first picture, skip this step.

  • Pull the hard drive thermal sensor connector away from its socket on the logic board.

  • Pull this connector parallel to the face of the logic board toward the top edge of the iMac.

  • Use a spudger to pry the thermal sensor and adhesive off the hard drive and install it in the same location on the replacement drive.

Edit Step 16  ¶ 

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Press the hard drive bracket down to free it from the rear case, then rotate the top of the drive toward yourself.

  • Pressing the top of the hard drive bracket down to release it from the rear case requires a substantial amount of force, so we recommend laying your iMac stand-side down on a table to avoid knocking it over.

Edit Step 17  ¶ 

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Lift the hard drive off its lower pins and pull it out of the rear case, minding the power supply cables that may get caught.

  • When reinstalling your hard drive, be careful not to push the two rubber grommets through their holes in the chassis. Retrieving them would require removing the logic board.

Edit Step 18  ¶ 

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • Insert a spudger between the SATA connectors and twist it to separate the connector from the hard drive.

  • Disconnect both SATA connectors.

Edit Step 19 Hard Drive  ¶ 

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Edit Step 19 Hard Drive  ¶ 

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

  • Lift the bracket off your old hard drive and transfer to it to your new drive.

Edit Step 20  ¶ 

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • Remove the two T8 Torx hard drive pin on the other side of the drive.

  • The pins attach to the connector side of the hard drive.

  • If a thermal sensor is present on your hard drive, use the flat end of a spudger to pry it off and transfer it to your new hard drive.

  • If you are installing a new hard drive, we have an OS X install guide to get you up and running.

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

For more information, check out the iMac Intel 17" device page.

Required Tools

Phillips #1 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Plastic Cards

$2.95 · 50+ In stock


$2.95 · 50+ In stock

TR10 Torx Security Screwdriver

$1.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Related Products

2 TB 3.5" Hard Drive

$109.95 · 21 In stock

Universal Drive Adapter

$29.95 · 50+ In stock

Recommended Tools

54 Bit Driver Kit

$24.95 · 50+ In stock

Pro Magnetic Project Mat

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$59.95 · 50+ In stock

Anti-Static Project Tray

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Comments Comments are onturn off

It was a fun way to spend a sunday! We didn't have a magnetic screwdriver so we used a glue stick and dipped our screwdriver in the "goop" and used it to secure the screws to the driver for the deep screw section. Fun stuff!

Jeff Walker, · Reply

Thanks to this guide and a RAM upgrade my imac has at least a couple more years left on it. I did not disconnect the front bezel or LCD I just laid them aside (the LCD had to be propped up a little to prevent pulling). The scariest part was removing the HD heat sensor. I just went really slow and most of the glue was still attached to the sensor so that all I had to do was press it against the new HD and it affixed just fine. One week later and everything is working great! Magnetizing the Torx driver with the remote magnet is a great idea. I purchased a stand alone magnetizer/demagnetizer myself though.

Dave Rabiger, · Reply

Very handy guide. I just replaced the internal drive on my iMac and it's working well. Here also is a pretty good video of the procedure:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Mark, · Reply

Thanks to this very good description. Now these Mac has 10x more HD-Size than before! (1.5 TB). I wrote this from the IMAc so that you see: it works fine!

Thank you!


Dirk Redemann, · Reply

Anyone else have really loud fans running all the time after upgrading hard drive?

I put in a 320 GB Seagate 7200, and I now have to turn Pandora up quite a bit to drown out the fan noise.

Suggestions? Workarounds?

Andrew, · Reply

I just successfully replaced my dead hard drive with a WD Caviar Green drive in ~4 hours (minus a trip to Ace for a narrower T10 driver), despite being terrified. As a novice, this was difficult, especially removing the front bezel. That took me 30 minutes of trials. I had to use a lot of force in removing that and the hard drive. A couple of times my computer differed from the guide (I have a 2 GHz intel core 2 duo white imac). For instance, my hard drive temperature sensor looked completely different and wasn't labeled, and some other connections were in completely different places than in the demo, so I had to hunt around. I also think I messed up the hard drive thermal sensor when I put it on the new drive because my fan was running at high speed after this, like Andrew describes above. I downloaded hddfancontrol and that instantly fixed it. It took 10 seconds to install and then the fan noise stopped. Regardless, the guide was great-I had no business even trying this but it worked!

Sarah, · Reply

Now I can't put the hard drive back in :-((

wwwkyngallimore, · Reply

Excellent guide which gave me the confidence to give it a try - unlike the YouTube videos which range from comical to plain scary. I didn't have a thin enough T10 screwdriver but managed OK using one with a flat blade which I magnetised first. Only problem came when I tried to install Snow Leopard. When I tried to format my new 1Tb drive Disk Utility said the drive was 7.3 Tb and refused to format the disk, citing input/output errors. I assumed that I had screwed up somewhere and went through the whole process again, only to get the same result. I decided to install the OS to an external drive as a temporary measure and found that the disk was then correctly recognised. After that, everything was plain sailing. If you aren't too sure, give it a try and save some money. Just be painstaking and patient. I'm a Silver Surfer so with no IT skills to speak of. If I can do it, so can you. Many thanks.

Tonyh, · Reply

Everything went as planned. But now when I try to reinstall OSX I don't see the hard drive as a install destination. Searching the web now for ideas.

Mark, · Reply

I was unable to get the HD bracket to release so I carefully unscrewed it and slid it off to the side until it let go. A bit clumsy but hey! It worked!

Fubar, · Reply

I just replaced the HDD in my 7 1/2 year old iMac. Took about 3 hours total from dead WD Caviar 160GB to Seagate Barracuda 1TB including the full restore from Time Capsule (also a Seagate). Went really well, considering I've never changed a drive in a Mac. Have done so on Win PC's that had a lot more room inside of them. Following the instructions here wasn't terribly difficult, though some things were a bit different than the photos showed. Was also surprised that the display was made by LG/Philips, but not surprised by all of the Foxconn parts inside! Overall not difficult, but did have one minor problem that I discovered a day later - it wouldn't past POST, and found out that one of the two memory cards was slightly out of place upon reassembly. Easy fix, and not having any issues with high speed fan running, at least as of yet. Also found a free app that acts very similar to HDD Fan Control.

Garry Billick, · Reply

That is a really, really unnecessarily complex way of fitting a new hard drive. Thanks, but no thanks...

annax, · Reply

Quote from annax:

That is a really, really unnecessarily complex way of fitting a new hard drive. Thanks, but no thanks...

annax, if you can suggest a simpler way we're all ears!

Jake Simmonds, · Reply

I found this guide to be very useful. The installation was super easy, especially since I've never opened my iMac before. I was able to skip steps 6, 7, 9, 10 and 14. Wish I had one of those long skinny magnetic torx screwdriver's though. I had to use duct tape to hold the screws on the end of the bit for step 12.

I used this opportunity to vacuum out the dust with mini attachments. Much needed after 3 years ;0)

Awesome site!!! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and saving me time and $$$!

Eric Patten, · Reply

Yes I did it! thanks for this very good manual

Philippe d Anfray, · Reply

T8's on the MA590LL 17" iMac.

Endareth, · Reply

8mm screw is 2nd from left - useful when reassembly

Stefano Speriani, · Reply

Apple uses a powerful magnet to release these latches, but the official tool is not available. If you have access to a few failed hard drives, you can take out the magnets from those, and stack them up to have a magnet strong enough to easily open these latches.

Simply place the magnet on an upper corner of the machine, and when you hear a click, gently pull the corner of the front case forward. Repeat the process for the other upper corner. Use care not to pull on the iSight cables.

Note: Use care when handling the hard drive magnets, they are powerful, and you don't want them to snap together on your fingers. OUCH!

Zaphod, · Reply

You can use a credit card. Mine survived, though it did get a little bent.

David Bendory, · Reply

I used two credit cards for extra thickness and the latches released very easily.

James French, · Reply

The magnetic latches are about 2-3 cm from the left and right edges right at the top edge of the case. I just ran a rare-earth magnet over the from of the bezel in this area. You can hear it click when it disengages. RadioShack has these kind of magnets for $3, the call them "super magnets".

James, · Reply

I found that it is much easier if you remove the top of the case first, then lay computer back on the stand & remove the bottom as directed.

G A Long, · Reply

I was able to skip Steps 6 & 7 entirely. The microphone and camera cables had enough slack to flip the front cover off and lie it flat above the rest of the computer.

Carly Hobeef, · Reply

Step 4 is completely unnessecary. Just lift the bezel up and wiggle it until the metal clips let go. Then lift the bezel straight up.

Cloudsurfer, · Reply

Make sure the white wire is on the same side of both parts of the connector before reconnecting.

It is possible to reconnect the microphone cable in the wrong/reversed orientation with the connector. The microphone will still work but will be muted and result in a "tinny" sound on the receiver's end.

creecher, · Reply

Can anyone ID these connectors (at least the camera connector) so that I may make an extension (to move the camera out and re-house it myself). I probably have the gear to do the mic already.

Is the camera connector some standard I can order M & F versions online to terminate to an extension cable?

hutchwilco, · Reply

The inverter connector had a different location for me. It was situated next to the top left corner of the right speaker, just under the display. I didn't figure this out until I actually lifted the display off the computer.

Cloudsurfer, · Reply

My 17" iMac also has the inverter cable. It located in the upper right just below the display.

Clinton, · Reply

I couldnt get this cable off, so I skipped this step. If you have this problem, just proceed; when you get to step 13, lift the display carefully as this cable will still be attached. You'll now easily be able to grip the connector and remove it.

David Bendory, · Reply

Only peel back the black EMI tape that overlaps the edge of the display, not the silver tape on the display itself.

Odesseus, · Reply

The above note sounds as if one should peel the aluminum-foil colored tape back from the frame. Do NOT do this; instead, peel the BLACK-colored aluminum tape back from the display frame to reveal the crevice between the display and the case and the mounting screws you are about to remove.

Byron Bray, · Reply

I didn't actually need to peel anything at all. The screws would have been visible had I looked more carefully.

David Bendory, · Reply

To put the T10 screws back, you'll need a magnetic head T10 screwdriver or a long, tweezer-like device found in a good set of computer tools. The screws are WAY down there and it is difficult if not impossible without the right tools.

Monkee, · Reply

If your thin torx driver is not magnetized, you can hold another, magnetized, driver against it as a temporary solution.

Si Brindley, · Reply

If you really want to tackle it without proper tools: with a non-magnetised thin torx loosen the screw till its ready to come out, then wrap a little bit of duct tape (sticky side out) around the head of a spare thin screwdriver, gently push the duct taped screwdriver on top of the loosened screw. The magic tape will lift the screws out.

When re-assembling, it's also a good way to fish out the screws that missed the holes completely when your expert fingers skills are classed as clumsy.

Mark, · Reply

You must have a magnetized Torx 10, 2 to 3 inches in length to safely get these screws out. Fortunately if you have the T10 you can magnetize it with your iMac.

Inside the front bezel are two magnets that hold your apple remote to the case, simply tap the T10 to the larger magnet 3 or 4 times and test it's strength in holding a weighty screw. You are good to go. I did this and the scary lose a screw into the iMac was diminished with a firm hold in both removal and install.

rwpete63, · Reply

If you don't have a magnetic screwdriver or they are aluminum screws, you can use this old mechanics tip: Use a small piece of paper or celophane tape on the head of the screw, then press the screwdriver into it, this creates a nice snug hold so you can reinstall the screws.

Greg Olson, · Reply

Steps 14 & 15; If you remove the top screw, and just loosen the bottom screw you can rotate the optical drive clip out of the way, tighten it, then screw the top screw back in to hold the logic board down for later trying to remove the connector. You also save three more parts kicking around on the desktop.

dentoni, · Reply

There was a thermal sensor attached to the HD. You can peel it off and glue it on the new HD and attach the connector back again.

map, · Reply

I think there is no need to mess whit the connector. just peel it off and glue it on. the connector is very week.

thanks for ever ifixit!

sebalancea, · Reply

My thermal sensor was magnetised. I just pulled it off my old HD and put it on my new one. It sticks perfectly to the metal casing.

Cloudsurfer, · Reply

There was a thermal sensor attached to my previous HD but not to the new one. But without this sensor, the iMac was down :-( (logic board ?)

I was forced to re-install the old HD with the temp sensor on.

Except this point, related to my iMac, thanks ifixit for this great manual

Jerome, · Reply

I found it easier to take the sensor off the Hard Drive, not the logic board. The stickiness holding it place on the old drive was sticky enough to hold it in place on the new drive.

Leif, · Reply

I was applying a considerable amount of force and was not getting anywhere and I was afraid it was going to suddenly release and the resulting jerk would break something else. I noticed that all I was trying to do is get a plastic tap to go past a metal plate. There was plenty of room with no other components around so I stuck a medium screw driver behind the plastic latch and applied a small amount of pressure and it unlatched very nicely. I pried on one side and then the other to release it on both sides. For me this method worked a lot better.

flyingmonkey1, · Reply

When I was trying to remove this bracket, it broke right off!! do you think i could super glue it back together, or order a new one? or does it even need one?

danielle, · Reply

The drive bracket wasn't moving until i placed my fingers exactly as shown in the picture and firmly applied force. Then it moved easily.

Clinton, · Reply

I also struggled trying to get the bracket loose by pressing down. I finally took FlyingMonkey's suggestion about the screwdriver and it came right off.

Rachael Whitaker, · Reply

I too was afraid I would break the bracket. I removed the screws that held the bracket to the hard drive. This allowed the hard drive and bracket to come right out.

Roscoville, · Reply

I really didn't need a spudger to pull the cables off.

Cloudsurfer, · Reply

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