Introduction

Use this guide to replace the iSight camera.

  • With the hinge free to move, the iMac will be unbalanced and hard to work on. Repairs can be completed as shown, but are faster and easier with an iMac service wedge.

  • Before beginning any work on your iMac: Unplug the computer and press and hold the power button for ten seconds to discharge the power supply's capacitors.

  • Be very careful not to touch the capacitor leads or any exposed solder joints on the back of the power supply. Only handle the board by the edges.

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Starting on the left of the display, near the power button, insert the iMac Opening Tool into the gap between the glass panel and the rear enclosure. The hub on the iMac Opening Tool will keep you from pushing the wheel in too far. If using a different tool, insert no more than 3/8" into the display. Otherwise, you risk severing antenna cables and causing serious damage.
  • Starting on the left of the display, near the power button, insert the iMac Opening Tool into the gap between the glass panel and the rear enclosure.

  • The hub on the iMac Opening Tool will keep you from pushing the wheel in too far. If using a different tool, insert no more than 3/8" into the display. Otherwise, you risk severing antenna cables and causing serious damage.

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Use the tool like a pizza cutter—roll it along through the gap, and it will cut the foam adhesive through the center. Be sure to always push with the handle behind the cutting wheel. If you pull, the wheel might get pulled out of the handle. Run the tool up along the left side of the display.
  • Use the tool like a pizza cutter—roll it along through the gap, and it will cut the foam adhesive through the center.

  • Be sure to always push with the handle behind the cutting wheel. If you pull, the wheel might get pulled out of the handle.

  • Run the tool up along the left side of the display.

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Continue running the tool up around the top left corner. Continue running the tool up around the top left corner. Continue running the tool up around the top left corner.
  • Continue running the tool up around the top left corner.

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Cut the adhesive along the top left of the display. Cut the adhesive along the top left of the display.
  • Cut the adhesive along the top left of the display.

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Continue along the top of the display. You may want to run the tool back and forth through what you've already cut a few times, to ensure you get as much of the adhesive separated as possible.
  • Continue along the top of the display.

  • You may want to run the tool back and forth through what you've already cut a few times, to ensure you get as much of the adhesive separated as possible.

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Push the tool around the top right corner of the display. Push the tool around the top right corner of the display. Push the tool around the top right corner of the display.
  • Push the tool around the top right corner of the display.

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Wheel the tool down along the right side of the display. Wheel the tool down along the right side of the display.
  • Wheel the tool down along the right side of the display.

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Finish pushing the opening tool to the bottom of the right side of the display. At this point, you'll want to run the tool back around the entire display, to ensure you cut as much adhesive as possible.
  • Finish pushing the opening tool to the bottom of the right side of the display.

  • At this point, you'll want to run the tool back around the entire display, to ensure you cut as much adhesive as possible.

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While the opening tool cut most of the adhesive, the display will still be slightly adhered to the case. A plastic card will be necessary to free up the last of this adhesive. Set the iMac face-up on a table. Starting from the top right corner of the iMac, wedge a plastic card between the display and frame.
  • While the opening tool cut most of the adhesive, the display will still be slightly adhered to the case. A plastic card will be necessary to free up the last of this adhesive.

  • Set the iMac face-up on a table.

  • Starting from the top right corner of the iMac, wedge a plastic card between the display and frame.

  • Be careful not to insert the plastic card more than 3/8", or you may damage internal components.

Don't forget to place the mac face up on the table. Unlike older models, there is no more flap at the bottom holding the display in place. If you do these steps with the Mac upright, the screen will pop out, hit your table, and shatter :( Don't ask me how I know.

John M - Reply

So sorry. Thanks for that caution.

Ted Horodynsky - Reply

John. May I contact outside of this posting for a question please? Thank you. Ted.

Ted Horodynsky - Reply

Gently twist the plastic card sideways to create a gap between the display and frame. Move slowly and be careful not to stress the display glass too much—you only need to make a gap of about 1/4".
  • Gently twist the plastic card sideways to create a gap between the display and frame.

  • Move slowly and be careful not to stress the display glass too much—you only need to make a gap of about 1/4".

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Black Friday
Broken doesn't stand a chance.
Slide the card toward the center of the display to cut any of the remaining adhesive along the top right corner of the iMac. Be sure to stop before the iSight camera, or you may damage it. Be sure to stop before the iSight camera, or you may damage it.
  • Slide the card toward the center of the display to cut any of the remaining adhesive along the top right corner of the iMac.

  • Be sure to stop before the iSight camera, or you may damage it.

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Wedge the plastic card into the top right corner once again and let it stay there to keep the adhesive from resettling. Wedge the plastic card into the top right corner once again and let it stay there to keep the adhesive from resettling.
  • Wedge the plastic card into the top right corner once again and let it stay there to keep the adhesive from resettling.

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Insert a second plastic card into the gap between the display and frame located at the top left corner of the iMac. Insert a second plastic card into the gap between the display and frame located at the top left corner of the iMac. Insert a second plastic card into the gap between the display and frame located at the top left corner of the iMac.
  • Insert a second plastic card into the gap between the display and frame located at the top left corner of the iMac.

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Gently twist the card upward, slightly increasing the space between the display and frame. As with the other side, twist slowly to allow the adhesive time to separate, and be careful not to over-stress the display glass.
  • Gently twist the card upward, slightly increasing the space between the display and frame.

  • As with the other side, twist slowly to allow the adhesive time to separate, and be careful not to over-stress the display glass.

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Slide the plastic card toward the center, again stopping just before the iSight camera. Slide the plastic card toward the center, again stopping just before the iSight camera. Slide the plastic card toward the center, again stopping just before the iSight camera.
  • Slide the plastic card toward the center, again stopping just before the iSight camera.

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Wedge the plastic card back into the top left corner. Wedge the plastic card back into the top left corner.
  • Wedge the plastic card back into the top left corner.

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With both plastic cards inserted as shown near the corners, gently twist the cards sideways to increase the gap between display and case. If there are any sections that seem to stick and won't separate, stop twisting and use one of the cards to cut the remaining adhesive. Begin to lift the top of the display up from the frame.
  • With both plastic cards inserted as shown near the corners, gently twist the cards sideways to increase the gap between display and case.

  • If there are any sections that seem to stick and won't separate, stop twisting and use one of the cards to cut the remaining adhesive.

  • Begin to lift the top of the display up from the frame.

  • Only lift the display a few inches—the display data and power cables are still connected to the logic board.

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While holding the display up with one hand, use the other hand to unplug the display power cable. Make sure that you pull the cable out from the plastic tab, and not by pulling on the color wires. Lift the display up enough to have easy access to the connector, but not so much that you stretch the cables and stress their connections (about 8").
  • While holding the display up with one hand, use the other hand to unplug the display power cable. Make sure that you pull the cable out from the plastic tab, and not by pulling on the color wires.

  • Lift the display up enough to have easy access to the connector, but not so much that you stretch the cables and stress their connections (about 8").

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Use the tip of a spudger to flip up the metal retaining bracket on the display data cable. Carefully pull the display data cable from its socket on the logic board. Be sure to pull the display data cable connector straight out of its socket.
  • Use the tip of a spudger to flip up the metal retaining bracket on the display data cable.

  • Carefully pull the display data cable from its socket on the logic board.

  • Be sure to pull the display data cable connector straight out of its socket.

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Lift the display up to a near-vertical position. At this point there is still a strip of adhesive along the bottom of the display, that will hold the display to the frame like a hinge. You can loosen this adhesive by working the display up and down a few times.
  • Lift the display up to a near-vertical position.

  • At this point there is still a strip of adhesive along the bottom of the display, that will hold the display to the frame like a hinge. You can loosen this adhesive by working the display up and down a few times.

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If necessary, a plastic card can be used to cut any remaining sections of the bottom adhesive strip. If necessary, a plastic card can be used to cut any remaining sections of the bottom adhesive strip.
  • If necessary, a plastic card can be used to cut any remaining sections of the bottom adhesive strip.

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Lift the display up from the frame and remove it from the iMac. It may be necessary to slowly lift from one side, to peel against the remaining adhesive. Be very careful handling the display—it's big, heavy, and made of glass.
  • Lift the display up from the frame and remove it from the iMac.

  • It may be necessary to slowly lift from one side, to peel against the remaining adhesive.

  • Be very careful handling the display—it's big, heavy, and made of glass.

  • Upon reassembly, now is the time to go to the Adhesive Strips Guide after cleaning off all the old adhesive. iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2544 Adhesive Strips Replacement

After removing the display, I also removed the 3 screws for the processor fan, disconnected the power connector for it and set the fan shroud aside. Disconnecting the remaining cable (similar style to 1 of the cables for the display) that is in the way of the RAM chips is all that's left to do. I was then able to access and quickly remove the two Apple-provided RAM chips, and replace them with 3rd party RAM. Turning the iMac on its side, so that it's in a position where you're physically putting the RAM chips DOWNWARD into their respective slots is the best way to go about uninstalling and reinstalling the chips. Using a narrow but long'ish plastic spudger tool is the best way to defeat the spring-tabs which hold the RAM chips in place. After removing the LCD display, changing the RAM is about a 10 minute process!! And I'd SURE prefer not to remove all the parts and risk damage to the iMac via the standard procedure listed. As per usual, take your time and work gently :-)

Mitch K - Reply

Use the tip of a spudger to flip down the metal retaining bracket on the camera cable. Use the tip of a spudger to flip down the metal retaining bracket on the camera cable.
  • Use the tip of a spudger to flip down the metal retaining bracket on the camera cable.

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Gently pull the camera cable straight down from its socket on the camera board. Be sure to remove only the camera connector—the microphone connector is on a separate branch of the cable.
  • Gently pull the camera cable straight down from its socket on the camera board.

  • Be sure to remove only the camera connector—the microphone connector is on a separate branch of the cable.

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Disconnect the microphone connector from its socket on the camera board.
  • Disconnect the microphone connector from its socket on the camera board.

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Use the tip of a spudger to flip up the metal retaining bracket securing the camera cable connector to the logic board. Use the tip of a spudger to flip up the metal retaining bracket securing the camera cable connector to the logic board.
  • Use the tip of a spudger to flip up the metal retaining bracket securing the camera cable connector to the logic board.

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Pull the camera cable straight away from its connector on the logic board. This is a delicate connector that can easily be broken. Make sure to pull the connector parallel to the logic board when removing.
  • Pull the camera cable straight away from its connector on the logic board.

  • This is a delicate connector that can easily be broken. Make sure to pull the connector parallel to the logic board when removing.

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The camera cable is connected to the rear enclosure via adhesive.  Gently peel and remove it from the rear enclosure. If you have trouble peeling the cable from the rear enclosure, use a spudger to help pry it free.
  • The camera cable is connected to the rear enclosure via adhesive. Gently peel and remove it from the rear enclosure.

  • If you have trouble peeling the cable from the rear enclosure, use a spudger to help pry it free.

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Remove the two 4.3 mm T5 Torx screws securing the camera board to the top of the rear enclosure.
  • Remove the two 4.3 mm T5 Torx screws securing the camera board to the top of the rear enclosure.

  • During reassembly, be careful not to over-tighten these screws. They have large shoulders and will not hold the camera board tightly against the rear enclosure.

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Lift and remove the camera assembly from the iMac. Lift and remove the camera assembly from the iMac.
  • Lift and remove the camera assembly from the iMac.

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Conclusion

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse and use our Adhesive Strips Guide to reattach the display glass.

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Sam Lionheart

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