Use this guide to replace or upgrade your hard drive.

  • Before beginning, unplug your iMac and lay it on a soft surface as shown.

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

  • To attach the suction cups we sell, first position the suction cup with the movable handle parallel to the face of the glass panel. While lightly holding the suction cup against the glass, raise the movable handle until it is parallel with the other handle.

  • If your suction cups refuse to stick, try cleaning both the glass panel and the suction cup with a mild solvent.

Change "Before beginning, unplug your iMac and lay it on a soft surface as shown." to "Lay your iMac on a soft surface as shown"

Henry Barnett - Reply

my imac power sullye not powering

tahir - Reply

imac 2544 2.5 core i5 i touched the motherboard to supply and it spark now it is not powering

please tell me the directions

thanks witting for answering .

tahir - Reply

Im sorry to say, If it sparked when you touched it your motherboard s now fried. You need a new one.

Robert Wacker -

Very easy to lift the glass out. Don't jerk too hard.

kctipton - Reply

Success replacing the stock ST31000528AS with a STBD3000100 (Dead 1TB to new 3TB, both Seagate). First try. Using another Mac and a quality Firewire 800 cable, I formatted it using Target Disk mode, 2 partitions (defaults, except I made the first one bigger than the second). To the second, smaller one, I copied a bootable Install OS X Mavericks partition. Tried to boot. It booted, and I installed; nary a glitch. (Running the Installer over Firewire would have been faster, but I didn't want to reboot this machine.)

See part 2 below...

Matthew Elvey - Reply

(Part 2:)

I SKIPPED steps 6, 7 AND 8! Instead, after doing Step 5, I noticed I then had enough room and cable length to access the screws in Step 11 if I lifted the LCD up an inch or so, rotated it about 20-30 degrees clockwise and moved it a couple inches toward the base, and put it down. After removing them (Step 11), I propped up the LCD (with a spare spudger) and had enough room to do Steps 12, 13, and 14 without much difficulty. Felt safer/less work and risk than not skipping steps 6-8. No risk of the damage Ersan and Michael caused performing Step 7!

Matthew Elvey -

I just edited that step to add a note about the shortcut.

Matthew Elvey -

What the ???

Geoff Wacker has REJECTED my edit:

I wonder why. What's the deal, Geoff? I mean I'd understand if I suggested folks didn't need the suction cups, as that could cut into iFixit's income stream, but what's wrong with suggesting that a few steps aren't needed? It worked for me; the EMC 2389 I fixed is humming along with a new 3TB HD I installed while skipping those steps.

Matthew Elvey -

I did not have to remove a single cable! After undoing the torx screws from the sides, I was able to rotate the LCD out of the way enough to reach all the screws holding in the ODD bracket. One of them was a bit challenging to get to, but I never felt that I was risking the cables by leaving them connected. Also, it wasn't totally clear, but you have to actually remove the ODD itself from the ODD bracket - 4 torx screws. The SDD mounts into the hard drive enclosure, then the enclosure is screwed into the bracket. Those holes (enclosure <-> Bracket) did not line up correctly for me, and I had to go with only three of them connected in the end. Seems to work fine.

cdansmith1 - Reply

Another comment on DATA & LCD Temp. Sensor cables: I had to remove the vertical sync, and the backlight cable, however, if you have an assistant or/can carefully rotate the screen clockwise/and then have it held up about 5" to 6" at a slight angle, you do not need to remove LCD data cable or LCD thermal cable, however - IMPORTANT: you must have a second pair of hands/or way to securely prop up the LCD. Also, don't rotate too much, since then you will pull out LCD data cable, and it renders the whole exercise moot, or can damage the cable or connector.

MaximBorzov - Reply

You don't need suction cups. The screen, held by magnets, can simply be pried off using a very thin blade such as a screw driver and fingers.

Deepsurvival - Reply

That's a bad idea. using a metal tool to pry off glass is likely to end with an expensive broken front glass.

Suction cups are common. Find a couple and do it the safe way. I use some cheap ones that came with iPhone repair kit.

max damage -

Hello, I just need to replace a slightly cracked screen on my iMac. Where is it best to place the suction cups? Thanks in advance

michelemiller0 - Reply

No need for suction cups, I just stuck my nails (short like guys usually have) between the top part of the screen and body, and it came off easily. I've never done it before, so it seems to be very easy.

Nikolas Lintulaakso - Reply

Nails worked for me too

Rob Dale - Reply

Just completed the replacement of the optical drive with an SSD using an OWC Data Doubler kit. Attempted to remove the optical drive without disconnecting any cables but found it a bit fiddly to orient the screen for good access. I bit the bullet and disconnected them and found the process less daunting than I imagined. Reconnecting them was similarly straightforward if you're careful.

Tip: you can skip the step for removing the optical drive thermal sensor connector from the motherboard. Still need to remove the sensor from the optical drive but you can leave that hanging and reattach it to the SSD later.

osienna - Reply

I have an odd question -- I want to remove the polarizer from the LCD. With some monitors this is trivial, others not so much. My question is whether it is bonded to the Liquid crystal, or whether it's loose, or cutting it with a razor blade would remove it. Obviously I'd like to know before I go to the trouble of dismantling the thing... Thanks. Paul

Paul Kwiat - Reply

Image 1/2: Pull the glass panel away from the lower edge of the iMac and carefully set it aside. Image 2/2: 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.
  • 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.

What's the best product to clean the face of the LCD?

Steve Speirs - Reply

Microfiber Cloth

Leonardo Fournier -

Image 1/3: The last two pictures are detail shots of each side of the display. Image 2/3: The last two pictures are detail shots of each side of the display. Image 3/3: The last two pictures are detail shots of each side of the display.
  • Remove the eight 8 mm T10 Torx screws securing the display to the outer case.

    • The last two pictures are detail shots of each side of the display.

Replacing the screws , especially the two uppermost ones , is awkward due to the magnets attracting the screws off the Torx driver

Anoop Sahal - Reply

Image 1/1: Do not lift it too much. There are several cables attaching the display to the logic board.
  • Slightly lift the top edge of the display out of the outer case.

  • Do not lift it too much. There are several cables attaching the display to the logic board.

After sliding the display slightly towards the top edge, enough for the bottom edge to clear the retainers, an alternative is to raise the bottom edge out. Then unplug the LED backlight power cable (this step + 2), unplug the LCD thermal sensor cable (this step + 4), unplug the display data cable (this step + 3), and the display may be rotated over the top edge while leaving the vertical sync cable attached (this step + 1).

Jerry - Reply

Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Pull the vertical sync cable connector out of its socket on the LED driver board near the top left corner of your iMac.

Do not try to pull the plug off the circuit board as it's soldered. Pull the cable sideways out of the socket.

Alex Campbell - Reply

Skipped step 5-10. I used two 5-6" chopsticks to prop up the display, this gave me more than enough room to complete the rest of the steps. I only had to disconnect the 3 cables are directly connected to the hard drive. Replacing the Seagate hard drive with another Seagate hard drive eliminated any cable issues. Now I have 2TB SSDH

jaime martinez - Reply

I was also able to skip steps 5 thru 10, which meant no messing with any cables except for the two for the HD (steps 13+14). Used a credit card to start the removal of glass panel (step 2) - much easier than I imagined. After removing display screws (step 3) I simply had a friend hold up the display's bottom edge as far as the cables would allow (careful not to stress at connection to logic board) and this provided enough room to remove the HD bracket screws (step 11), detach the HD cables, and remove the HD. Was replacing a failed 1TB Seagate with a 3TB Seagate so no problems with compatibility when reattaching the HD cables and everything worked fine when I restored the OS and data to the new HD. No fan issues. I did take great care to not get fingerprints on the inside of the glass panel and to blow off any dust specks before reinstalling it. It was a bit tricky to get the new HD back in without letting the magnets get a hold of it, so thanks for the warning posted here about that!

Chuckles McBunny - Reply

On my mid 2010 Imac I found it was not necessary to disconnect any cables (except of course those attached to the drive). Simply angle the monitor away from the case to a safe distance without stressing any cables and secure with tape. With a stubby screw driver it was easy to access and remove the drive.

Michael Husselbee - Reply

Image 1/2: Disconnect the LED backlight power cable by depressing the locking mechanism while pulling the connector away from its socket (toward the bottom edge of the iMac). Image 2/2: Disconnect the LED backlight power cable by depressing the locking mechanism while pulling the connector away from its socket (toward the bottom edge of the iMac).
  • Rotate the display out of the outer case enough to disconnect the LED backlight power cable from the LED driver board.

  • Disconnect the LED backlight power cable by depressing the locking mechanism while pulling the connector away from its socket (toward the bottom edge of the iMac).

Add Comment

Image 1/2: Pull the display data cable straight out of its socket on the logic board. Image 2/2: Do not lift up on the display data cable, as its socket is very fragile. Pull the cable parallel to the face of the logic board.
  • The display data cable plug has a wire lock. Disengage the plug's lock by rotating the plastic tab so that it points upward. (It is not a pull tab.)

  • Pull the display data cable straight out of its socket on the logic board.

    • Do not lift up on the display data cable, as its socket is very fragile. Pull the cable parallel to the face of the logic board.

This cable is very short, I would remove it before any of the others. First time I did this, I didn't realize this and this cable just popped out of it's socket. Luckily, the board wasn't damaged.

maccentric - Reply

i damaged my (step7) cable, and my iMac screen won't work, how to fix this?

Ersan Rasubala - Reply

I did the same thing. The pins are VERY easy to bend. I replaced it with a new cable from this company.

Waiting for it to arrive.

Michael -

I wish this step was listed as a warning before lifting the monitor and as the first cable to undo. I broke it as it popped up and out, had to trash my Mac and I am stuck with a new hard drive.

Frank1701a - Reply

I followed the directions to a T and everything worked going back together. That cable in step 7 is delicate so one must be very careful.

dustynnelson -

Same problem for me. I damaged this cable and am ordering one now.

This is a tough step so I would also suggest removing this cable first.

lyleberman - Reply

Yes, damaged mine too. It is better to take it out of the LCD and install it carefully on the logic board, then install it to the LCD.

asle -

Ok finally got the cable and was able to successfully finish the project.

That video cable is ROUGH to install.

lyleberman - Reply

The same thing happened for me. That cable was by far the shortest and a slight pull of the display up caused the connector to come free. Luckily it wasn't damaged by this. It was pretty unclear to me how that connector fit in as well. It slides in and out parallel to the surface of the mother board, up towards the top of the iMac to unplug and down towards the bottom to plug in. I agree, if I were to do this repair again that is the first interior cable I would disconnect. Maybe a closeup of the cable plugged in and unplugged to show exactly how it engages and disengages would be good as well.

danieljseta - Reply

It is fine to remove the cable from the logic board when when you remove the screen. But when when assembling back together I found it better to take the LVDS cable out of the LCD and install it carefully on the logic board. Then connect it to the top of the LCD. Also the connector to the LCD is much more solid and not so easy to bend.

asle - Reply

This is by far the best way round to do this as trying to refit the cable to the logic board is a complete nightmare.

Russ -

I agree with asle, manipulating the display end of the cable would be easier - at least it cannot be any harder then manipulating the motherboard end.

Jerry -

well I did all t these steps and now the iMac won't turn on at all. I guess the big cable is not connected to the board as it used to... Mac is out of warranty so it's going out the door. RIP

Gilbert Palau - Reply

this thing is super fragile. i had to order a new one. i'd recommend removing the other end at the top of the display.

m Burm - Reply

this part is not complicated if you understand at first how the lock works.. remove the lock is easy, reassemble the cable and connect it is very problematic because the space to work is very tiny, but if you are carefully, it should be not a problem . try to see some videos from youtube first!

Cristian Pizarro - Reply

Image 1/2: If your fan is spinning full speed after completion, check this connection or the hard drive's thermal sensor cable. Image 2/2: If your fan is spinning full speed after completion, check this connection or the hard drive's thermal sensor cable.
  • 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.

Be very careful - this connector very difficult to disconnect, and you have a high risk of pulling the cable pins out of the connect. If you have disconnected the 3 other cables, you can have a helper rotate the screen out of the way while you remove the hard drive.

Brian Tsai - Reply

I found this connector impossible to remove

Anoop Sahal - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Carefully pull the display toward the top edge of your iMac and lift it out of the outer case, minding any cables that may get caught.

Add Comment

Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Pull the hard drive temperature sensor connector toward the top edge of the iMac to disconnect it from its socket on the logic board.

I don't think this is necessary, I'd just leave it since you're removing the other end from the drive.

maccentric - Reply

Want to add a comment on this w/reference to HDD & thermal sensor. HDD used: WD1002FAEX - 1TB WD Black. Temperature sensor on this model iMac has a little tab/plastic protrusion, Apple HDD actually has specific opening for it. With this HDD/any after market WD HDD you should use small electrical wire cutters, and just cut off the offending piece of plastic from the iMac sensor. Insert it as specified, closest to SATA/PCB board, take a picture first before taking it out, and it works like a champ!

MaximBorzov - Reply

Sure enough, I had the same problem of the temperature sensor not fitting because of the plastic protrusion on the Apple connector. Instead of using a wire cutter to remove the protrusion, I filed it with a metal file (careful to place a rag cloth underneath, where all the filing dust would drop). It fit wonderfully after that.

girlscandotoo -

I am getting ready to swap out my wife's drive for an SSD. Since there are no moving parts do i need to be concerned with the temperature sensor?

I picked up a 240GB PNY CS1200 Series drive. Its smaller than the original but she doesnt use that much anyways.

Robert Hancock - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Remove the two 9 mm T10 Torx screws securing the upper hard drive bracket to the outer case.

Add Comment

Image 1/1: Be careful not to contact the AirPort card as you lift the hard drive out of its recess.
  • Slightly rotate the hard drive out of the outer case and lift it up off its mounting pins toward the top edge of the iMac.

  • Be careful not to contact the AirPort card as you lift the hard drive out of its recess.

Instead of trying to not hit the Airport card, spend 10 seconds to unscrew the one screw, pull it out of the socket and set it aside.

maccentric - Reply

WATCH IT! When pulling out the hard drive or putting in the new one, stay clear of the strong magnets that hold the glass pane in place. I was so focused on following those steps closely, and when I had the HDD clear I kind of relaxed a bit too much and – "CLONK" – the magnet pulled the HDD and ruined it.

Roberting - Reply

I have fitted a barracuda tb sata hdd ,i have partitioned the drive in d/utility .I have made a bootable us. stick containing os x and it says mac osx cannot be installed to your computer , even though itis displYed as verified in disk utility .......Plese help me !!!!!!

therumourcastro - Reply

Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Disconnect the SATA data cable and SATA power connector from their respective sockets by pulling each connector away from the hard drive.

Add Comment

Image 1/2: Disconnect the hard drive thermal sensor cable from the hard drive. Image 2/2: Disconnect the hard drive thermal sensor cable from the 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 hard drive thermal sensor cable from the hard drive.

You change pictures here and don't specify which hard drive you have. The picture before that shows a different hard drive with a different jumper block. The 13th step shows a 8 pin block but 14 shows a 8 pin block. When reassembling the jumper setting is important for the fan setting.

djhighrise - Reply

If you're referring to the thermal sensor cable, it's eight-pin, and you don't change it out: the new HD takes the cable from the old one.

lewisthegreat -

I replaced the original HD, Western Digital WD5000AAKS, with an updated version, Western Digital 500 GB wd5000aakX. The connector on the thermal sensor cable is incompatible: there is an extra bit of plastic sticking out up top, and minuscule projections at each corner of the face, and the AAKX doesn't have the notch to adapt for it. I personally chopped it off with a cleaver and melted the offending corners, and it fits fine. But you must be prepared to do this if you order the AAKX.

lewisthegreat - Reply

my fan is running at full speed but the cable is connected in the same orientation as it was at the old hdd. i have replaced mit 500gb WD with a 1TB WD. the lcd thermal sensor is pluged in, too.

x4re - Reply

The connector on the thermal sensor cable is also incompatible to my new HD, exactly like lewisthegreat reported, with the extra bit of plastic. I left it unplugged. I can hear the fans but they do not run at full speed. The screen doesn't light up either and the chime doesn't play. I made sure I connected all cables from the LCD to the computer a bunch of times (there are only three plus the thermal sensor, right?). Will leaving the HD thermal sensor unplugged really prevent my computer from starting? Thanks.

Amanda - Reply

Sounds like things may not have gotten connected properly. You can get rid of the extra piece of plastic for the thermal sensor cable.

Scott Dingle -

Hello, I'm wondering if your iMac is still running fine with the thermal sensor cable unplugged. I'm faced with a similar issue.

Jared Weichert -

The cable for the Seagate Hard drive is different then the cable from the Samsung drive I pulled out. If I replace with thermal cable with a 922-9216 cable for the Seagate - will everything work? I did not see an option to order a Samsung drive from this website - did I miss something?

michaelrenoch - Reply

You need to replace your Samsung drive with another Samsung. Unfortunately we do not sell Samsung drives.

Scott Dingle -

What do I do next though? 2tb seagate barracuda sata3 installed and all well. Found online I needed to partition it so used disc utilities and did that. It finds and reads it fine. Made sure SMART status is verified, used Mac OS extended as told etc. but when I revert to install menu it gets maybe 10% through and then says it failed. This is with original Supplied OS. Disc in DVD slot. Tried different partitions, re doing it, checking HD is good, etc. always comes up failed. Am I doing something wrong here please?

Msg is 'install failed, Mac OS X could not be installed in your computer'.

I do not have a backup to install from. Any advice appreciated for this complete amateur!

Tim - Reply

Use internet recovery instead.

Scott Dingle -

Now here's something really strange - I replaced my WD hard drive with a new one, and at first reinstalled the temp sensor (8-pin) in the same orientation as it was in previously (I too had to chop off that annoying plastic bit first). The iMac booted fine, but, I was having the loud fan issue. So after doing a bit of research, some were saying that WD drives require the temp sensor orientation to be opposite of the original, since the poles were reversed. I opened the iMac again and did this, and voila, the fans were back to normal, and Apple Service Diagnostic reported the sensor functioning normally.

HOWEVER, now the machine refused to boot. Disk Util would see the drive as "Media," 0 bytes total size (it's a 1TB drive). I suspected maybe I screwed it up while clicking "stop" during ASD's surface scan, so I used an Ubuntu disk to format and start over. Still, no luck. I opened it again and put the temp sensor BACK to original position and now it boots, but the HDD fan is loud again. Any thoughts??

Matt Berardinelli - Reply

P.S. I have iStat installed, so I know it's the HDD fan running at high speed (rather than CPU or ODD fan). My only guess is that the HDD temp sensor cable, when flipped to reverse orientation (and quiet the fan), screws up the jumper settings on my new drive which is why it won't boot. But here's the REALLY weird part:

Even when the machine wouldn't boot, I was able to target disk it into a Macbook Pro, which saw the drive and reinstalled the OS. It seems extra bizarre that the MBP could see the drive via Target Disk mode, and boot to it, but the iMac itself refused to see it as a bootable drive.

Matt Berardinelli -

Matt, hopefully you have sorted this out by now, but I just went through this in exactly the order that you did. The sensor needs to be plugged in with the black cable on top and the cables connected to the second set of pins closest to the SATA connectors. So, you have to file off (or chop or melt) the plastic housing for the last two slots, essentially making the connector into a 6 slot block. Then your cables will go into the correct set of pins.

I went through this yesterday, again, in exactly the order that you did. When I filed off the plastic and reconnected, everything booted perfectly, all good.

Luke Weiss -

The following document says the the pin orientation should be reversed if the iMac is late 2010. Since we are in a EMC 2389 page, which is mid 2010, we don't need to reverse the pin orientation. I guess so.

HwaJong Oh -

OWC has resolved this issue with their In-line Digital Thermal Sensor for iMac 2009-2010 Hard Drive Upgrade:

EasierTechnologies - Reply

This information was spot on for mid 2010 Imac. The new drive I was using had 8 pins in 2 rows of 4, so I cut off the 2 unused connectors from the old cable and made sure that I reconnected to the top right 2 pins on the new drive with the two wires (one black one grey) In the same orientation as on the original drive. No fan issues.

Michael Husselbee - Reply

I bought the replacement kit for my iMac, but the new WD drive has 8 pins instead of 8, and the distribution is a little bit more spread than the original drive, this is horrible, what do i do? the thermal sensor pin doesnt fit in the new drive! it is a little bit smaller than the new drive's pins. @scottyd i need urgent help :(

Federico Romano - Reply

Did this Ever get addressed? I have the exact same issue. Thank you.

Rob Dunne -

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

  • Remove the upper bracket from the hard drive.

Add Comment

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

Add Comment

Image 1/1: Don't forget to transfer this to your new hard drive.
  • 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.

What about putting it back together?!?!?!?!?!?

Grant Durling - Reply


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

171 other people completed this guide.


I went through all the steps and now when I attempt to boot, I hear the apple chime, but I get nothing on screen.

I thought this might have to do with a loose cord, but when I reattached the suspect cord (the display data cable) it did not resolve the problem.

Anyone have any ideas as to what could be causing the display to malfunction?

Monty - Reply

I had this problem as well, caused by a small cable coming from the display. It is a Sync Cable with a small 2 Pin Molex connector, and it popped up and got hidden when I removed the display, which caused me to forget to re-attach it during reassembly.

capone99 -

Question for capone99: where did this cable come from? Was it one of the five specified for unplugging in this guide? Or are you saying it came loose by itself during installation?

lewisthegreat -

Did anyone ever solve this? Having the same issue.

rowanevan -

In step 14, the Apple connector for the hard drive has a locking mechanise that doesn't fit most replacement hard drives. I got an identical hard drive that doesn't have a provision for the connector. A little bit of shaving or filing of the plastic connector did the trick.

mercadoamiel - Reply

I want to use a (WD20EARX) 2TB hard drive which does NOT have a socket matching the old hard drive for the thermal sensor plug, but rather 8 jumper pins. Can I use this drive as a replacement, and if so what do I do about the thermal sensor?

Robert - Reply

I replaced my hard drive Samsung 1TB. I put a Seagate Barracuda 1TB instead.

I had the problem of thermal sensor that was not adapted to Seagate. I cut it in half cutter, I connect and everything works perfectly.

castusfrancois - Reply

And, finally, additional tool which was super awesome: FLASHLIGHT. Small, flashlight is awesome when just examining the internals prior to removal/especially if you have a way to prop up the LCD panel, since it will cover the main board, and you need some idea as to where what is.

MaximBorzov - Reply

Thanx everybody! I`m new hear & need all the help I can get!

vpkc15 - Reply

This was a great guide and worked perfectly for me. Replaced my non-working 500GB for 1TB new drive. After the installing got an error "folder with question mark". Took it to the apple store had them install a new OS X for free and it is working great now......

singhaviation - Reply

Hi Tim , did you resolve the issue .I used internet recovery n it still fails

therumourcastro - Reply

What I did was:

- Substitute the broken internal hdd with a new one (WD to Segate)

- Change the disk bay to an SSD

Problems I haced:

1) thermal sensor between wd and segate. My fix was to open up the plastic piece that connects to the HDD and separate the cables. Then I taped each cable with isolating material and connected the cables to the bins by hand (praying they would not pop out before I was finished). Actually I noticed that the tape was filling the space in the cavity, making the cables stay in place: fans not spinning crazy.

2) The SSD adapter I bought was a little bit weird and would not fit in the black plastic case of the CD drive. My fix: polish irregularities away from the plastic support. In the end it worked and the drive is now attached

3) Screen connection cable. This one was THE WORST. The cable is really, really delicate and by trying to connect it back after I was finished I broke it in three different ways. Here I suggest PATIENCE and delicacy! I still got it to work though :)

Christian Dallago - Reply

Christian, for the thermal sensor, how did you know which bins / cables to put together? what was the number / configuration of pins on your new drive? any insight you might have here would be appreciated

geemac -

Excellent guide. Managed to swop out my hdd for a ssd using this guide. The ribbon cable in step 7 is one of the more difficult steps to deal with. Be careful not to break the socket.

howeikeong - Reply

Excellent guide. Managed to swop out my hdd with a ssd using this guide. The cable in step 7 has to be carefully dealt with though.

howeikeong - Reply


I'll always choose the DIY option as I don't like paying for labour. This time (with virtually zero experience of taking anything apart, never mind my precious iMac) I wondered if I'd bitten off more than I could chew. I spent a good bit of time watching videos and reading walk through guides before attempting a HDD - SSD replacement. This guide was one of the best and I feel I owe an account of my experience to anyone thinking of doing this.

Removing the glass was as easy as I expected it to be. I used 'the straw' method (mentioned in the comments here) to remove the screws, avoiding magnet attacks. When in the straw, you can quickly whip out the screws using the magnetic tip of your screwdriver. 2-3 were claimed when screws or straws slipped although it was easy to get them back with tweezers.

shawfamily53 - Reply


After peeking under the LCD I was alarmed to see how short the vertical sync cable was in mine (4-5 cm from top to bottom). It turned out to be quite a long cable but I had to prize some of it away from some adhesive/adhesive tape towards the bottom.

The LED backlight power cable was very stiff to remove. I had to be careful not to force it even when pressing quite hard to unlock (might have been me?).

Next up, the dreaded display data cable. No problems disconnecting this although it would later give me a big headache.

I found the LCD sensor very fiddly. I have pretty small hands yet, fingers/finger nails seem inadequate for such a small cable and socket. Of all the cables I removed this was the one I expected to have damaged. I pulled on the cable through frustration as I couldn't get a hold of the plastic plug.

shawfamily53 - Reply


Display and HD temp sensor came out without any bother.

My dead HD also came out without too much trouble although the SATA and thermal sensor cables were quite stiff.

I should mention (at this point) that I had decided to replace my old HHD with an SSD.

I therefore decided to completely remove the thermal sensor cable with a view to using 'fan control' software after replacement. At first, I assumed that the drive would be facing upwards and consequently put the sponge from my old HD on the outside of the 2.5 - 3.5 mounting bracket I'd bought. This also lead to me putting the upper mounting bracket on the wrong side when in actual fact, the mounting bracket would fix back in with the new SSD hanging upside down and sponge on the drive itself (not that this matters. It will ultimately be on it's side when fitted anyway).

With new bracket in place, the SATA cables were a little bit short of where the plugs were. The plugs needed forcing in to line with the sockets. Some slight manipulation required here.

shawfamily53 - Reply


Complications arose when connecting back up (the part that isn't in any guides).

Once again, the LCD sensor cable was tricky fuelling concern of possible damage.

The display data cable cost me a good chunk of afternoon. Without the iMac being upright on it's stand (OWC method of process) it's so difficult to see where this wafer thin cable should connect. I tried moving various props to hold the LCD at a different height and angle as well as moving an LED spotlight about (red hot). The Airport card also obstructs any clear view of both plug and socket. On top of that there's the locking tab to get back in place without touching the logic board.

Some time later, I was fairly (but not 100%) sure that it was locked in place.

After plugging in the other cables, keeping the screen and glass dust free was also quite challenging.

shawfamily53 - Reply


So to the moment of truth. Booting up in recovery mode.

I heard the start up chime but the screen remained black. Back on the Internet to check diagnostics (noticing comments at the top of this thread). On further inspection after taking my Mac apart a 2nd time (in a fraction of time it took originally) I noticed that my nemesis (the display data cable) had either come out on reassembly, disassembly or had not been plugged in correctly in the first place. Several slow mo web videos later I finally nailed it.

I'm currently running a 'Time Machine' backup (6 hours with the fan running at full tilt) but am hopefully on track.

Will report back if there are issues. No news will be good news.

shawfamily53 - Reply

I found when replacing hard drive the most difficult task is to replug the Display data cable back into the logic board. There is just so little room to work, I damaged the data cable plug contacts and the display would not work. For me work around was to order replacement data cable and install first on logic board before trying to mount and connect other display cables. And installing data cable to Display socket last. This end is larger and more robust up near the top edge of the Display giving one much more room to work.

jackshrawder - Reply

I successfully completed this repair. Went from 500GB Seagate to 1TB WD Blue.

Problems I had are limited to the thermal connector would not fit the hard drive I bought. I'm pretty sure the pins on my new drive are for an 8-pin thermal instead of a 4-pin, and I just left it unplugged. The fans spin at full speed now, but that's hardly a deal-breaker.

Corvallis Computer - Reply

I am about to replace my original HD with 4TB Seagate SHDD. My goal was to clone my SHDD before installing. When connecting my SHDD to USB port, my SHDD cannot be found via DiskUtility. The cabling is correct since alternative HD (low density) can be found. Any suggestions? I am using Yosemite (10.10.5).

kvanwinckel - Reply

I ran into the cable temp sensor issue when I replaced a Western Digital (8-pin connector) with a Seagate SSHD (4-pin connector). To resolve it I purchased the OWC temp sensor kit for 2009-2010 iMacs. Unfortunately it did not work with the sensor installed on top of the spindle. The problem is that there is not of clearance and it ends up touching the back on the display and when the screws are reinstalled the computer will not turn on.

OWC's product almost works as described, but is not the best solution. I recommend opening your iMac up to see what type of drive you have and getting the official temp sensor adapter cable from and Apple part supplier (on eBay too). They are around $20 and there is one for each drive manufacturer. The easiest solution is to buy a drive from the same manufacturer and it most likely will have the same sensor plug. I know that some mods can be made to the cable end to get it to fit, but I don't see how the 8-pin plug could be modified to be put into a 4-pin jack.

jehayes68 - Reply

Replaced the 500GB hard drive to a 2TB hard drive, was gonna put a SSD in optical bay as well but ordered a mSATA drive instead of SATA by accident. Overall was pretty easy but very painful trying to reconnect the Display cord. All in all... I've worked on my now 4th apple computer... and 4th computer of all time... and if I can do it you can do it, Make sure your new HARD Drive is the same brand as the one that comes with macbook. I just had to sand down the connection for thermal sensor a little but otherwise it fits without hassle.

scottmcintyre - Reply

A year after 'war and peace' (above) and all is well. SSD works a dream. Have been using 'Fan Control' from day 1 with no issues to date.

shawfamily53 - Reply

I did this around 3 years ago. There's a problem when connecting the new hard drive with the hard drive cable. I'm using a 500GB WD Blue and there seems to be a "tooth" on the iMac connector that won't fit the WD Blue. The only solution was to file off that small plastic tooth. I also didn't need suction cups to remove the glass panel. I accidentally discovered another way, when I was running my finger nail around the seams, it popped up. I wouldn't suggest it though.

mercadoamiel - Reply

As much as I appreciate IFixIt guides this one falls short of their usual high standard.

There are several omissions that can lead to a failed repair.

I wanted to say much more but it would not fit on this page, so briefly:

Failed to mention importance of opening system to determine original brand of drive installed (Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung).

Failed to mention need to get same brand so that thermal sensor could be attached to new drive.

Failed to mention without thermal sensor attached fan will continuously run at full speed very loudly.

Failed to mention need to trim off polarization tab from thermal sensor connector on Western Digital drives.

Failed to mention need to trim 8 pin thermal sensor block on Western Digital drives down to 6 pins so that sensor can be flipped yet keep thermal sensor wires connected to the second set of pins closest to the SATA connector.

Failed to mention that lifting the LCD slowly as cables can be glued in place and need to be freed up or risk damaging.

And more...

X Gempler - Reply

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