Introduction

Use this guide to upgrade or replace your optical drive.

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

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

Remove the following four screws:
  • Remove the following four screws:

    • Three 6 mm T8 Torx.

    • One 8 mm T8 Torx.

T8's on the MA590LL 17" iMac.

Endareth - Reply

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

Stefano Speriani - Reply

Flip your iMac over and lay it stand-side down on a flat surface. To lift the front bezel off the iMac, simultaneously:
  • 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.

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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.
  • 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.

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

This was a nuisance. Had to really move the card around to get it to finally release.

Tim Dougherty - Reply

Be very careful not to damage the metal clips with a credit card. My iMac was very stubborn and I ended up bending the clips in a way they cannot be bent back. The clips do still work and the front bezel does still go back on, however it no longer sits flush with the back of the iMac.

Gary Lefebvre - Reply

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

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

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

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

Disconnect both the camera and microphone cables. Disconnect both the camera and microphone cables.
  • Disconnect both the camera and microphone cables.

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

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

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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.
  • 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.

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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.

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

I was able to slightly bend the plastic case to get my driver to seat. This was the most challenging part of the teardown and reassembly because I did not have the proper tool.

Tim Dougherty - Reply

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

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

Remove the two 7 mm T10 Torx screws securing the optical drive clip to the logic board.
  • Remove the two 7 mm T10 Torx screws securing the optical drive clip to the logic board.

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Remove the optical drive clip.
  • Remove the optical drive clip.

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

What possible reason can there be for dis-connecting the thermal sensor connector from the logic board, when step 26 or so tells you to pry the sensor off the drive? Why stress a logic board connector, then try de-routing the cable from underneath the board, when you're going to disconnect it at the other end anyway? Why not leave it on the board and just pry it off the drive? (And the same with the hard drive temp sensor.)

dentoni - Reply

This is retarded! Why bother with the additional strain on everything taking off a connector and cable wrapped around other stuff, for no reason? You have to remove the heat sensor from the drive anyway, just take it off and leave the connector and cabling and motherboard alone!

Please correct me if I'm missing something here, but doesn't this seem a totally unnecessary step?

dentoni - Reply

On my EMC 2114, the cable from the temperature sensor on the Pioneer DVR-K06PC optical drive disappears under the logic board. Disconnecting the cable at the sensor end makes more sense for this model.

John - Reply

Squeeze the two optical drive bracket ears together while pulling the drive toward yourself. It may be helpful to hold the logic board down near the optical drive connector when pulling the drive toward yourself to avoid both components lifting together.
  • Squeeze the two optical drive bracket ears together while pulling the drive toward yourself.

  • It may be helpful to hold the logic board down near the optical drive connector when pulling the drive toward yourself to avoid both components lifting together.

  • Pull the optical drive away from the side of the rear panel and remove it from the iMac.

Step 17 was very hard for me. Squeezing those ears together took a lot of pressure, and did not want to release from the inner frame of the iMac. After quite a few swear words I got it to release. I just don't agree with the design....All it needs is 2 screws to hold it down, this is not a snap-together model!

dsmcdonald - Reply

I agree 100% with dsmacd; one tool they left off the list for this job is needle-nosed vice grips to tug and push and pry and wriggle and twist that stoopid tray out of there. Man, everything about Mac's optical drive sucks! I've got 2 & 4-year-old machines with bad slot drives, (all the same; won't eject; two replacements same!) and 8 & 10 year-old machines with well-used tray drives, still working like a charm. Apple, get the message; it's too small a package to cram in such mechanical complexity. Go back to a reliable tray drive!

dentoni - Reply

I just now attempted to edit Step 17 to tell how I dealt with getting one of the brackets loose.

=I was able to easily detach the upper/top-side bracket; but, the bottom one [towards bottom of the iMac] was another story! So after detaching the upper bracket, I loosened the 2 screws holding the 'bottom' bracket to the drive. Then I was able to lift the drive enough to easily detach the bottom bracket from the metal framework.

Henry in StL - Reply

I needed to get a disc out of my iMac's (EMC 2114) Pioneer DVR-K06PC, and to do that I only needed to remove the four very small screws on the cover to get it out. A little jiggling at the plastic opening of the drive was necessary. To put the cover back on, I needed to engage the front of the cover with the black plastic entrance fitting and then work with getting the rest of the cover back on.

John - Reply

I concur with Henry StL. Once I removed the two left side screws, I was able to pull the drive right out with no obstruction. I used a 9mm Torx craftsman driver.

George Tedrick - Reply

Remove the two T6 Torx screws securing the connector board to the optical drive. Pull the connector board away from the optical drive.
  • Remove the two T6 Torx screws securing the connector board to the optical drive.

  • Pull the connector board away from the optical drive.

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Remove the two T10 Torx screws from each side of the optical drive (four screws total). Remove the two T10 Torx screws from each side of the optical drive (four screws total).
  • Remove the two T10 Torx screws from each side of the optical drive (four screws total).

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

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

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

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

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

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Pull the optical drive away from its bracket, minding any tabs that may still be caught in their slots.
  • Pull the optical drive away from its bracket, minding any tabs that may still be caught in their slots.

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Use a flat end of a spudger to remove the EMI gasket from the top of the optical drive.
  • Use a flat end of a spudger to remove the EMI gasket from the top of the optical drive.

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

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Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the optical drive thermal sensor off the adhesive holding it to the top of the optical drive.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the optical drive thermal sensor off the adhesive holding it to the top of the optical drive.

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

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

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Conclusion

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

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2 Comments

There are two things not mentioned in this guide (which is, all-in-all very good)

1. There is a short lead connected through the EMI shielding at the top of the IMac to th right (inside vie) of the camera board, to a very small daughter card marked Apple 820 2009-A 2006 srewed to the inside upper ABS case surface by a single 1mm torx screw. The lead s othere end goes to the power board. Check this has not been severed. I extended mine.

2. The Super drive DVD drive is very difficult to re-position because apart from the mounting frame ears mentioned, there are two "dowels" moulded into the ABS bezel. If these are not correctly aligned when fitting, then the CD/DVD will not eject because of the mis-alinement. The ears can be difficult to release because the unit is forced against the logic board at the point where the board to drive connector is situated.

nick watts - Reply

I didn't buy a DVD I'm taking it out of my other 27" IMAC I'm hoping this works as there was no mention of what drive to use buy but this is an excellent guide and I hope others have easier time also I'm replacing the screen new>(LP171WU1 (TL)(A3) LINES in it from walmart $54.00 and got a deal on V4 adapter. Thank you all for this info .

vtails - Reply

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