Follow the steps in this guide to upgrade or replace the SATA hard drive in a 21.5" Retina 4K 2017 iMac. Note that if you are upgrading your drive, you will need to clone your existing hard drive onto the replacement prior to performing this upgrade to keep your files and operating system.

Some images in this guide use a 2015 iMac, which has minor visual differences. These differences do not affect the repair procedure.

  • With the hinge free to move, the iMac will be unbalanced and hard to work on. Repairs are fast and easy with an iMac service wedge, but can be completed without one.

  • 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.

The wedge is an extremely tight fit for this model. I was worried that the amount of force needed to use it as shown might damage the stand, so I used it with the long side down instead. It worked fine that way and didn’t need anywhere near as much force to insert.

roberttrevellyan - Reply

Here’s a good YouTube vid on upgrading the RAM: Can a Normal Person Upgrade the RAM in the 2017 21.5" iMac?

Dan - Reply

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.
  • 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.

Erreur de traduction: "de bas en haut" et non de" haut en bas" sur le côté gauche de l'écran

Moreau - Reply

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

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  • 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.

In this step can I cut along the display without make any damage to the front camera?

arisnordico - Reply

Hi! Actually - there is no need to cut the tape around the camera area - there is no tape to cut at all! And so, the way go is easy - just pass 10 mm to the left and to the right from camera and start cutting!

P.S. Just did the whole procedure to replace a RAM and to add SSD on PSIe an hour ago! Seems to be different reading the instructions... you know - 2/10 and so on. But it's really not that hard, trust me. I'll give it 5/10.

P.P.S. By the way there is one trick to pass the difficult steps. Any action which requires pulling smth (motherboard, speaker, power supply unit) from the narrow crack (or should i say - slit?) at the bottom of your Imac is really not so easy.

And the trick is to first remove a thin metal stripe with some kind of insulation on it which held by 5 small (very small!!) screws at the bottom of your Imac. After you done it - it's easy to pull everything! Pay attention to the fact that one of this 5 screws at the center are more shortly than others.

dv1977 - Reply

After doing the replacement the adhesive still sticks quite good enough to hold the screen in place. Maybe this isn't rock-solid, but enough for me.

Mirko - Reply

I did all steps like this manuell but now the Display wont work only some colered strips are to see! Whats happend??

Can anybody help me ? Maybe the connector cable is broken?

djfanta - Reply

Check both connectors, probably one of them not seated well

pzhivulin -

You can add a SATA SSD if you already have a PCIe SSD Factory?

kaserlik - Reply

If you're changing cracked EMC 2638 display to new assembly, there's two more steps:

Step 24: 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 display assembly.

Step 25: Use the tip of a spudger to unplug bracket of the thermal sensor small cable near display data cable.

Carefully remove scotch tape covering thermal sensor. Using iSesamo or flat tip of the spudger carefully peel the thermal sensor away.

pzhivulin - Reply

omg - forgot to switch the termal sensor from the old display...

now fan runs like crazy...

Andrei Balotescu -

  • 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.

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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.

Yes, do it many times to loosen the adhesive.

Noah Ralston - Reply

  • 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.

this step is extremely important NOT to stick in the cards too far….. doing so, you risk a 600 euro replacement as I experienced………

Edgar Broekema - 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".

This part must be done very carefully or you can damage the flat cable from display, despite it was under a iron cover.

Cassio Machado - Reply

  • 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 leave it there to prevent the adhesive from resticking.

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  • Insert a second plastic card into the gap between the display and frame near 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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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

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  • 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").

  • Hold the display with one hand while using your other hand to unplug the display power cable.

It was difficult to remove this connection. I ended up having to gently pull-up vertically a little on the wire side to unsnap it about 1mm and then horizontally wiggle it out.

delacrj2 - Reply

I had a difficult time removing this connection. I had to lift the wire-side about 1mm before it unsnapped and then carefully wiggle it out horizontally.

delacrj2 - Reply

  • Continuing to support the display with one hand, 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, keeping it parallel to the motherboard, to avoid damaging it.

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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.

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

At step 21-22, releasing the adhesive strips from the bottom of the display, I noticed a tab on the outer end of each strip. Pull the tab to remove the whole strip, no need to mess around with the plastic cards!

roberttrevellyan - Reply

  • 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.

  • After the adhesive is cut, it cannot be used to re-seal the display in place. Follow this guide to replace the adhesive strips that secure the display to the rear enclosure.

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  • Remove the following T10 Torx screws securing the hard drive brackets to the iMac:

    • Two 21 mm screws

    • One 9 mm screw

    • One 27 mm screw

At step 26, when reassembling, it's super easy to over-tighten the 9mm screw and strip the brass ferrule out of its hole in the plastic bracket (%#*@).

roberttrevellyan - Reply

  • Remove the left and right hard drive brackets from the iMac.

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  • Lift the hard drive from the edge nearest the logic board and pull it slightly out of its recess.

  • The hard drive is still attached by its SATA cable; do not attempt to fully remove it from the iMac yet.

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  • Use a spudger to disconnect the single SATA cable by prying it gently away from the hard drive.

  • Remove the hard drive assembly from the iMac.

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  • Peel the rubber bumper off one side of the hard drive.

  • Repeat for the other side.

  • When installing a new drive, it's helpful to use double-sided tape to stick the bumpers to your new drive.

reconnecting the new drive can be a little tricky as the sata connector in the Mac is hard to align. I found that it helps to move the end of the bumpers out of the way, then push them back into position once the drive is connected.

Gareth Jones - Reply

thats what it did as well, thx for the hint. also i used a plastic spudger to reconnect the plug unto the new drive and leveled it against the speaker casing thats so close to the drive bay

Stef999 - Reply

Can I install a Samsung 850 EVO 500GB to replace my 1TB 5400rpm disk? and is a seperate thermal sensor/cable needed to prohibit the fan to run at 100% all the time?

Maurits Kühne - Reply

Yes you can install ANY SATA SSD.

And no … there is no thermal sensor on the drive. You don’t need them on these models.

robert Seith -

Can I install a Seagate FireCuda 2TB to replace my 1TB 5400rpm disk? and is a seperate thermal sensor/cable needed to prohibit the fan to run at 100% all the time?

andrew mudd - Reply

Did you ever find out if you could replace your 500 GB with that Firecuda? I’m looking at doing that. I need more storage for my 500 GB photos library and don’t want to pay so a ton for the SSD that is big enough.

shippster -

where is the guide for the follow up ?

installing a new hard disk and closing the screen back up.

yog1389 - Reply

The SSD was a HUGE performance boost over the 5400rpm drive my iMac came with. If you’re pulling your hair out because Lightroom has become excruciatingly slow, upgrade your hard drive to SSD. You will not be disappointed.

The kit has everything you need. Follow these instructions carefully and you’ll be fine.

Mike Mullis - Reply

Huge improvement! It’s like a new machine. Highly recommended upgrade.

Take care with the adhesive strips, and don’t forget to set new SSD as the boot disk (System Preferences, Startup Disk) after you’ve tested its bootable.

Stephen Babbage - Reply


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

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Evan Noronha

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What type of SATA SSDs are compatible with iMac? I don't want to buy the kit because I have the necessary tools, but I'd like to know which brand of SSDs work the best.

Avery C. - Reply

>Will take any SATA SSD.

>On a mac with a fusion drive, it just removes the spinning drive from the mix, leaving you with a separate 28gig or 128 gig SSD drive that will appear on your desktop along with the newly installed SATA SSD.

>NO TEMPERATURE monitor is needed. This generation of iMacs has done away with the propietary temp sensor. It just relies on S.M.A.R.T. tech now.

robert Seith -

Does the screen stick back on with the same adhesive or do you have to reapply new adhesive? If yes, does it come in the kit?

Rick Hahn - Reply

You have to apply new adhesive. Go slow and careful, it’s really not hard at all.

robert Seith -

Will this work similarly for an iMac with a fusion drive? -> (what about upgrading the ssd portion?) Will there be a guide for that in the future?

Lucas - Reply

The 1TB fusion drive is simply a 1tb standard SATA spinning drive combined with a separate 28gig blade SSD. The blade SSD is much harder to get to, but when you replace the 1tb SATA drive with an SSD, you then have access to both drives, the 28gig blade SSD appears on your desktop to use and format as you wish, and you then have the newly installed SSD to use and format as you wish.

robert Seith -

Is the temperature probe/OWC cable nescessary for the Imac to register temps from a 3rd party SSD? I'm thinking about changing the 1TB hdd for a Samsung EVO SSD

Maurits Kühne - Reply

No temp sensor is used on these 2017 models. Put in the new drive and you’re good to go.

robert Seith -

I'm planning to remove the Fusion Drive from the iMac 4K and replace it with SSD blade!

Is that possible?

How much does it cost?


flyer13 - Reply

Is there any posibility to replace the normal 1tb HDD by a NVMe SSD like the FusionDrive Model has?


Kevin Braun - Reply

If the iMac is originally SSD-only, can this procedure be used to add a SATA second drive?

afwalton - Reply

Can I replace the 1TB HDD to 2TB HDD? Will it still work as Fusion Drive?

And do you need a iMac specific model HDD or whatever brand of HDD?

Way White - Reply

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