Introduction

DVD writer not writing? Get back in business and replace your optical drive.

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

    • To attach the suction cups, first position the suction cup with the movable handle parallel to the face of the glass panel (as highlighted in the second picture).

    • While lightly holding the suction cup against the glass, raise the movable handle until it is parallel with the other handle (as highlighted by the third picture).

    • If your suction cups refuse to stick, try cleaning both the glass panel and the suction cup with a damp soft, lint-free cloth. (Dampen with distilled water, and if needed, an equal ratio of distilled water and white vinegar for best results.)

    • Do not use the suction cups to carry the display glass because if one of them fails to stick, you could drop the screen and break it.

    • The original iMac box makes a good place to store the glass panel. Otherwise, a padded horizontal surface, like a towel on a desk will do nicely.

  1. 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. Don't use the suction cups to carry the glass panel—if either one loses its grip, the panel could fall and break.
    • 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.

      • Don't use the suction cups to carry the glass panel—if either one loses its grip, the panel could fall and break.

      • After setting the glass panel down safely, be sure to release the suction cups, as the suction force over time, can crack the glass.

    • 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.

  2. Remove the eight T10 Torx screws securing the LCD to the outer case.
    • Remove the eight T10 Torx screws securing the LCD to the outer case.

  3. Carefully lay the iMac stand-side down on a flat surface. Due to tight tolerances, you will have to use a thin hooked tool to lift the display out of the outer case. As seen in the third picture, we made one out of a bent paperclip. Use a thin hooked tool to lift one side of the top edge of the display by its steel outer frame.
    • Carefully lay the iMac stand-side down on a flat surface.

    • Due to tight tolerances, you will have to use a thin hooked tool to lift the display out of the outer case. As seen in the third picture, we made one out of a bent paperclip.

    • Use a thin hooked tool to lift one side of the top edge of the display by its steel outer frame.

    • After lifting the top edge of the display on one side, hold it out of the outer case while you use a hooked tool to lift the other side. A pencil or pen can be placed under the top edge of the display, parallel to the top edge and extending past the edge of the computer, to keep the first side propped up while lifting the second.

    • Do not lift the top edge of the display out of the outer case too far, as several short ribbon cables still connect the two components.

  4. Use a pair of tweezers to pull the vertical sync ribbon cable out of its socket on the LED driver board near the top left corner of your iMac. On some iMacs this may not be a ribbon cable but four separate, very fine and very fragile wires. Be very careful, if the tweezers slip off the plug, you will very likely pull a wire out of the assembly.
    • Use a pair of tweezers to pull the vertical sync ribbon cable out of its socket on the LED driver board near the top left corner of your iMac.

    • On some iMacs this may not be a ribbon cable but four separate, very fine and very fragile wires. Be very careful, if the tweezers slip off the plug, you will very likely pull a wire out of the assembly.

  5. Rotate the display out of the outer case enough to disconnect the LED backlight power cable from the LED driver board.
    • Rotate the display out of the outer case enough to disconnect the LED backlight power cable from the LED driver board.

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  7. Squeeze the two display data cable connector arms together to unlock it from its socket on the logic board.
    • Squeeze the two display data cable connector arms together to unlock it from its socket on the logic board.

    • Pull the display data cable connector away from its socket on the logic board.

    • Be very careful when disconnecting this cable as both the cable connector and logic board socket are extremely fragile. When reconnecting the cable later, use as little force as possible.

  8. Lift the display for enough clearance to disconnect the LCD thermal sensor cable connector from its socket on the logic board.
    • Lift the display for enough clearance to 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. The thermal sensor connector socket is very fragile, so be very careful when you connect back the sensor cable.

  9. Carefully pull the display toward the top edge of your iMac and lift it out of the outer case.
    • Carefully pull the display toward the top edge of your iMac and lift it out of the outer case.

  10. Remove the four T10 Torx screws securing the optical drive to the outer case.
    • Remove the four T10 Torx screws securing the optical drive to the outer case.

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

  12. Insert a spudger between the optical drive connector and the optical drive. Twist the spudger to slightly separate the optical drive connector from the optical drive, then use your fingers to pull the connector away from the drive.
    • Insert a spudger between the optical drive connector and the optical drive.

    • Twist the spudger to slightly separate the optical drive connector from the optical drive, then use your fingers to pull the connector away from the drive.

  13. Lift the left edge of the optical drive slightly and pull it away from the right side of the outer case.
    • Lift the left edge of the optical drive slightly and pull it away from the right side of the outer case.

    • During reassembly, note that there are two holes in the optical drive face plate into which two stubby plastic posts must engage for proper positioning.

  14. Peel back the portion of aluminum tape highlighted in red, leaving the rest attached to the black plastic optical drive bracket. It is not necessary to peel all of the EMI tape off the optical drive bracket.
    • Peel back the portion of aluminum tape highlighted in red, leaving the rest attached to the black plastic optical drive bracket.

      • It is not necessary to peel all of the EMI tape off the optical drive bracket.

  15. 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).

  16. Use the tip of a spudger to press each of the optical drive bracket tabs out of their slots on the bottom of the optical drive. Rotate the optical drive bracket slightly away from the optical drive. Pull the optical drive bracket away from the open end of the optical drive, minding any tabs that may get caught.
    • Use the tip of a spudger to press each of the optical drive bracket tabs out of their slots on the bottom of the optical drive.

    • Rotate the optical drive bracket slightly away from the optical drive.

    • Pull the optical drive bracket away from the open end of the optical drive, minding any tabs that may get caught.

  17. Use the tip of a spudger to peel back the piece of foam tape covering the optical drive thermal sensor. Use the flat end of a spudger to carefully pry the thermal sensor up off the adhesive securing it to the optical drive.
    • Use the tip of a spudger to peel back the piece of foam tape covering the optical drive thermal sensor.

    • Use the flat end of a spudger to carefully pry the thermal sensor up off the adhesive securing it to the optical drive.

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

Conclusion

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

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5 Comments

Great tutorial. The recommended T10 Torx Screwdriver was too big - I had to use a T9.

Also, it isn't necessary to unplug the optical drive thermal sensor connector socket on the logic board (Step 10), I just disconnected the optical drive thermal sensor from the drive (Step 17) before removing it.

Ian - Reply

Awesome guide! I bought your suction cups for the front glass, and a toolkit, along with a 2TB HDD to replace the original 1TB drive. It was easy to replace both the optical drive and the HDD with the right tools and this very detailed guide to follow. I have had no problems with the internal cooling fans running fast with the new HDD either. It all came apart easily and seems to have gone back together without any problems as well. A huge help! You saved me several hundred dollars in repair bills. Thank you!

jlgustrowsky - Reply

Great guide, it worked perfect for me. Thanks!

Usue - Reply

I have seen another instructional video I have replaced a HD in an Imac 27 I have all your tools thing is this can be done in my opinion with the computer in its standing position and I will do that for the optical drive soon

orca62 - Reply

Left a comment in the other area too, I used this guide and another linked to it to replace both an HDD and the Superdrive. Perfect Instructions - I was daunted by this task the moment I opened the iMac, but these instructions made it doable. I also replaced the HDD and the Superdrive while in standing position. All I needed were a bunch of Pill Bottles for the screws, my cheap precision ratchet screwdriver set which had the proper size Torx Screw Bit, and an old iPhone Toolkit which had the rest of the things I needed. I used a Palette Knife to remove the sensor. The hardest part is getting the Screen screws back in, because the magnets make it difficult. I can probably do this now with other Model iMacs- This was the second iMac I used your guides to replace the HDD, this was my first Superdrive. Thanks a LOT.

Jonny V - Reply

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