Introduction

Replacing the hard drive requires separating the display and removing the left speaker.

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.

Video Overview

Image 1/3: 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. You risk severing antenna cables and causing serious damage. Image 2/3: 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. You risk severing antenna cables and causing serious damage. Image 3/3: 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. 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 case.

  • 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. You risk severing antenna cables and causing serious damage.

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Image 1/3: Be sure to always push with the handle behind the cutting wheel. If you pull, the wheel might get pulled out of the handle. Image 2/3: Run the tool up along the left side of the display. Image 3/3: 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.

I found the 'pizza cutter' surprisingly smooth at cutting through four-year-old adhesive.

Gerry - Reply

Image 1/3: Image 2/3: Image 3/3:
  • Continue wheeling the tool up around the top left corner.

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Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Cut the adhesive along the top left of the display.

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Image 1/2: 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. Image 2/2: 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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Image 1/3: Image 2/3: Image 3/3:
  • Push the tool around the top right corner of the display.

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Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Wheel the tool down along the right side of the display.

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Image 1/2: At this point, you'll want to run the tool back around the entire display, to ensure you cut as much adhesive as possible. Image 2/2: 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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Image 1/3: Set the iMac face-up on a table. Image 2/3: Starting from the top right corner of the iMac, insert a plastic card between the display and frame. Image 3/3: Be careful not to insert it more than 3/8", or you may damage internal components.
  • While the opening tool did the lion's share of the work, 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, insert a plastic card between the display and frame.

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

I actually DESTROYED my display (black vertical strips) by pushing the card in a bit TOO DEEP. So it is REALLY important to insert the card only a bit (1-2mm) more than the cutter wheel, in particular at the top side, where many flat cables connect the panel with the PCB. These can be damaged very easily!

Peter Fischer - Reply

Image 1/2: Move slowly and be careful not to stress the display glass too much—you only need to make a gap of about 1/4". Image 2/2: 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 to open the space 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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Image 1/3: Slide the card toward the center of the display, to cut any remaining adhesive. Image 2/3: Slide the card toward the center of the display, to cut any remaining adhesive. Image 3/3: Slide the card toward the center of the display, to cut any remaining adhesive.
  • Be sure to stop cutting before the iSight camera in this step, or you may damage it.

  • Slide the card toward the center of the display, to cut any remaining adhesive.

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Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Put the card into the corner again and let it stay there to keep the adhesive from resettling.

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Image 1/3: Image 2/3: Image 3/3:
  • Insert a second card into the gap between the display and frame in the top left corner.

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Image 1/2: As with the other side, move slowly to allow the adhesive to break, and be careful not to over-stress the display glass. Image 2/2: As with the other side, move slowly to allow the adhesive to break, and be careful not to over-stress the display glass.
  • Gently twist the card, slightly increasing the space between the display and frame.

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

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Image 1/3: Image 2/3: Image 3/3:
  • Slide the plastic card toward the center, again stopping just before the iSight camera.

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Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Insert the card back into the top left corner.

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Image 1/3: With the cards inserted as shown near the corners, gently twist the cards to increase the gap between display and case. Image 2/3: If there are any sections that seem to stick and won't separate, stop twisting and use one of the cards to cut the adhesive in the problem area. Image 3/3: Begin to lift the top of the display up from the frame.
  • Only lift the display a few inches—it is still attached to the iMac by data and power cables.

  • With the cards inserted as shown near the corners, gently twist the cards 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 adhesive in the problem area.

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

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Image 1/2: Lift the display up enough to have easy access to the connections, but not so much that you stretch the cables and stress their connections (about 8"). Image 2/2: Lift the display up enough to have easy access to the connections, 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 to unplug the display power cable.

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

Mark all cable connectors with a spot of white correction fluid before removal. This will remove the risk, when reinserting them later, of getting them the wrong way round. Yes - I know they will only plug in one way round, but it does make life easier if you are not in perfect lighting!

Alastair Lack - Reply

Image 1/3: Disconnect the display data cable. Image 2/3: This is a delicate connection that can easily be broken. Be sure to pull the display data cable connector straight out of its socket, toward the top of the iMac. Image 3/3: This is a delicate connection that can easily be broken. Be sure to pull the display data cable connector straight out of its socket, toward the top of the iMac.
  • Flip up the metal retaining bracket on the display data cable.

  • Disconnect the display data cable.

    • This is a delicate connection that can easily be broken. Be sure to pull the display data cable connector straight out of its socket, toward the top of the iMac.

where can i purchase the power and data cable from?

wei - Reply

I replaced HDD to SSD and assembled parts again. When I boot up the iMac, I found black lines on display (looks partly not broken).

I searched Internet, and some says graphic card problem, but I didn't touch anything but cable to lift up.

Could the damaged display data cable cause this situation? I hope I could fix this by just replacing the cables..

chansung park - Reply

Same trouble here, is it cable trouble or connector trouble?

redfoxydarrest - Reply

I think whenever words like "...is a delicate connection that can be broken. Be sure to pull the [cable in a certain direction] ANYTIME.... It is worth either a closeup or 2, maybe one with annotations or insertion directions and maybe a motion direction arrow with the something like and 'X' char or a circle division slash over the wrong one.

john - Reply

I agree! +1

Jim Reitz -

Image 1/2: 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. Image 2/2: 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.

There are two strips left and right along the bottom, and where they reach the outer edges the last 20mm has no adhesive, effectively making right-angled lift-tabs, so you can remove these strips completely by carefully pulling them off from the outer ends.

Stef - Reply

Thank you Stef, that's what i will do next time, i cracked the lower part of the screen went opening very slowly, that's probably why those "tabs are for !!

dforgues - Reply

Thanks Stef, this has saved me! Simple yet very effective.

David Zemsky - Reply

Image 1/3: Be very careful not to touch the capacitor leads or any exposed solder joints on the back of the power supply (boxed in red). Image 2/3: Be very careful not to touch the capacitor leads or any exposed solder joints on the back of the power supply (boxed in red). Image 3/3: Be very careful not to touch the capacitor leads or any exposed solder joints on the back of the power supply (boxed in red).
  • If necessary, a plastic card can be used to cut any remaining sections of the bottom adhesive strip.

  • Be very careful not to touch the capacitor leads or any exposed solder joints on the back of the power supply (boxed in red).

Would have been helpful to box the same red area when using the plastic card to separate the glue. Since the red blocked picture is inverted, if someone doesn't pay close attention it may not be obvious that the area of concern is at the right top of the graphic pictures in which the plastic card use is being demonstrated..

Wizbang FL - Reply

Image 1/3: Lift the display up from the frame and remove it from the iMac. Image 2/3: It may be necessary to slowly lift from one side, to peel against the remaining adhesive. Image 3/3: 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.

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

ONLY FOR EXPERIENCED MASTERS WITH NON-HUGE (big fat) FINGERS.

On a 27" Retina, I skipped to step 34 and did not remove the speaker nor the Hard Drive. When the instructions instruct removing the left HD Rail, you know it's wasting your time. Go to the power supply and unscrew the 4 T10 screws. *Not in the guide, un-attach the small connector in top left corner, then gently lift and twist the board out. **Next unplug the small plug behind it, in the bottom right corner by pressing the release on it. Lastly dis-connect the large plug which does NOT slip right out until you depress the snap-clamp holding it on the back side.

To reassemble, do the same in reverse but keep power supply board more upright than slanted down when re-inserting it in to the lower right corner. The lower right screw post has an protrusion under/behind it and the Power Supply's small 2 wire plug must fit between the front of your Mac and the obstruction. Then it just slides right in and then screw it down.

Dan H - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Remove two 10.0 mm T10 screws.

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Image 1/3: De-route the cable from the gap between the hard drive and logic board. Image 2/3: If the gap between the hard drive and logic board is too narrow for the speaker cable, disconnect it and leave the cable in place. Image 3/3: If the gap between the hard drive and logic board is too narrow for the speaker cable, disconnect it and leave the cable in place.
  • Unplug the left speaker cable from its socket on the logic board. Be sure to pull straight up out of the socket.

  • De-route the cable from the gap between the hard drive and logic board.

  • If the gap between the hard drive and logic board is too narrow for the speaker cable, disconnect it and leave the cable in place.

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Image 1/3: Use a spudger to disconnect the power button connector from its socket on the logic board. Image 2/3: Use a spudger to disconnect the power button connector from its socket on the logic board. Image 3/3: Use a spudger to disconnect the power button connector from its socket on the logic board.
  • Be careful not to touch any solder joints on the back of the power supply. Capacitors may be charged enough to give you a dangerous shock.

  • Use a spudger to disconnect the power button connector from its socket on the logic board.

Can someone explain what are the solder joint? Or tell me what it looks it?

brianyu - Reply

The silver spots on the circuit boards. You may not want to tackle this alone. If you touch these areas, you can possible get a shock -- harming you and your computer.

Robert -

Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Lift the left speaker straight up, until the power button cable is exposed (about 0.5").

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Image 1/3: Image 2/3: Image 3/3:
  • Gently de-route the power button cable from its groove in the left speaker.

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Image 1/3: If the gap between the hard drive and logic board was too narrow to free the speaker cable earlier, gently pull it free as you remove the speaker. Image 2/3: Push from the connector end as you pull from the speaker end to thread the cable under the hard drive's right bracket. Image 3/3: Push from the connector end as you pull from the speaker end to thread the cable under the hard drive's right bracket.
  • Lift the left speaker straight up and remove it from the iMac.

  • If the gap between the hard drive and logic board was too narrow to free the speaker cable earlier, gently pull it free as you remove the speaker.

    • Push from the connector end as you pull from the speaker end to thread the cable under the hard drive's right bracket.

I found it wasn't necessary to remove the speaker from the left side to remove the hard drive. You can remove the screws, and then slide it over to the left — giving more than enough room to access the hard drive.

Robert - Reply

me too. don't need to remove it if you only want to change the hd

Alber Einsten -

Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Pull straight up on the SATA data/power cable to disconnect it from the drive.

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Image 1/1:
  • Remove two 7.3 mm T10 screws securing the left hard drive bracket to the rear case.

If you have the iMac sitting upright, there is a potential risk of dropping the screws into the iMac casing. Be cautious or lay it down flat.

Robert - Reply

Been there done that. Had to flip it and shake the heck out of it to get that srew to fall out!

webmail54 - Reply

Image 1/3: Tilt the left side up away from the rear case, and slide the assembly to the left. Image 2/3: Remove the hard drive and left hard drive bracket from the iMac. Image 3/3: Remove the hard drive and left hard drive bracket from the iMac.
  • Grab the hard drive and left hard drive bracket together.

  • Tilt the left side up away from the rear case, and slide the assembly to the left.

  • Remove the hard drive and left hard drive bracket from the iMac.

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Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Remove the left hard drive bracket.

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Image 1/1:
  • Remove the four 8.1 mm T9 screw posts from the hard drive, and transfer them to the replacement drive.

Rather than replacing with another standard hard drive. Replace it with an SSD drive. Make sure it is compatible with Mac OS. To do so, you will need a 3.5-to-2.5 reduction bracket, the Thermal Sensor harness (sold at OWC macsales.com or Amazon get the right one on Amazon), and of course the SSD. Also, you will need a SATA duplicator cable. You want to duplicate your current hard or set it up first before switching out the current hard. The Mac Disk Drive Utility is all you really need.

Robert - Reply

Is it possible to simply install the new SSD (HD replacement) without formatting it, and format it and install OS X later via a bootable USB OS X install thumb/flash drive? I understand this would result in not having any of the data on the original drive, but if that was not a concern, is this installation option possible? I would rather go that route, and then use the original HD in an external USB enclosure and pull the files I needed, as I needed.

robk64 -

I was told today by a Certified Repair Center that you do not need the thermal sensor for 2012 iMac. I am hoping to place an SSD in my HDD location rather than attaching it to the logic board.

colby -

So when you say follow the steps backwards to rebuild how does the glue work? Is it still sticky enough at this point. Will the screen fall off when I put it back together and the glue is dry?

saif - Reply

The screen finally fell down and broke. Please add a note to the end of fhis tutorial to follow instructions (add glue or special tape)

damiengole -

Hey damiengole, we have a conclusion right below the final step!

CONCLUSION

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

Sam Lionheart -

Conclusion

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

95 other people completed this guide.

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25 Comments

My experience in upgrading this unit to a Seagate 4TB hybrid ST4000DX001 went fine except for the fans running at a constant higher RPM. Using Macs Fan Control is solving my issue for now. As a tip, you do not need to remove the left speaker, you can loosen the two screws and angle it leaning to the left.

MFR2VCB - Reply

What setting do you change in Macs Fan Control? Im looking at getting a SSD fitted to my Late 2013 iMac by a certified repair centre who have said they will do it for me if I provide the SSD but they did mention that the fans would most likely speed up as there won't be a temp sensor in the SSD. Thanks.

Lewis -

Lewis: simply running the Macs Fan Control app will do it. Otherwise the fans run at full speed because they have no temperature measurement.

Max Fenton - Reply

I'm wondering what drive apple uses for the 1TB SSD version? Is it an OEM type PCIE Sandisk as well or a larger 2.5" drive?

I'm very tempted to upgrade my Fusion drive.

Brent Petersen - Reply

Fan Control / temp sensor issue aside, are there any limitations/considerations with replacing the 3.5" 1TB HDD with a 2.5" SSD in an appropriate bracket?

Is anyone having luck with any particular SSD models?

Tim - Reply

To solve the fan issue I believe you need to add a temperature sensor like this: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIYIM... OWC told me if you don't, your fans will go crazy because the new drive probably does not this sensor like the original mac. Just heard it today and then read this. Hope this helps!

weddings - Reply

Thank you this fixed the fan issue for me!!

Felix Waller -

Hi, is a temperature sensor (like the one linked above) necessary if I am replacing the hard drive with an SSD? Also, what is recommended for the SSD "cradle" since this model iMac comes with a 3.5" disk and SSDs are 2.5"?

wesleyhargrove - Reply

If I replace a Fusion Drive with an ordinary drive, will there be issues? Or is the fusion SSD a separate part and will be integrated when the new drive is formatted?

Alan Browne - Reply

Fusion SSD is seperate.

Evert van Harten -

I haven't had any fan noise issues at all after installing an Samsung 840 ssd instead of the seagate hdd.

peter - Reply

Hi - I replaced the Hard Drive using this guide. But it looks like my imac no longer boots up through the fusion drive. How can I confirm this or fix it to boot back through the fusion drive?

donnorth - Reply

You will have to fuse them back together through Terminal.

asnperswazin -

How do I fuse them back together through terminal?

donnorth -

I have put 1st a 500gb and after a 1tb ssd both Samsung evo 850. I didn't needed to use the OWC in line thermal sensor, I even have bought it but first upgrade it hadn't arrived yet and I wanted to know if I would really need it since I have read somewhere that the latest versions do not need it anymore. my imac is a late 2015 and I am not sure if really is the fact of it be a newer version or if the Samsung evo 850 have some thermal sensor inside. by pass, the ifixit adhesive and the included apener are both great. it was very easy to replace the hard drive, however replace the processor as a little bit hard but I had success in doing it

Alber Einsten - Reply

Is it possible to change the power button on the late 2012 iMac 27"? The cable got cut from the speaker but I was able to MacGuyver it with another power button. It looks like you'd have to take the metal bezel off which would have to be cut... Anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

Ryan Arakaki - Reply

Can I have one SSD for system and another HDD for media in IMac Late 2013 (thin body) , like IMac 2011(fattest body)??

marceloQuiroga - Reply

Good guide. Would be even better if you added tips regarding replacing the adhesives on the display once the repair is complete. Thanks!

Charles - Reply

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

Sam Lionheart -

That guide exists and is the first option in the EMC 2546 guides list: iMac Intel 27" EMC 2546 Adhesive Strips Replacement

Christophe Patys -

I did the installation of a new hard drive following the ifixit guide, afterwards I had the fan issue, I did not have the fans spinning at full speed like some people have been describing but the CPU and other components would just get hot very fast, this seemed very strange, installing Mac fan control didn't help much, as the CPU and stuff would heat up, and if I did not want to damage my computer I had to crank up the fans. I was desperate for a solution, so I purchased the kit from OWC (after reading "weddings" comment) being a bit sceptical, because I wasn't sure if installing a sensor would stop the CPU from heating up. But after the Installation everything is back to normal. The CPU stays at around 40 degrees, and the fan stays quite. I don't understand how this works, but I definitely recommend installing this sensor if you have similar issues after upgrading your hard drive, even if it means opening your iMac again ;). For the record: I have an iMac 27-inch Late 2012.

Felix Waller - Reply

The guide made it extremely easy to perform an SSD swap. The wheel was the perfect tool, and the strips were perfect for the job.

Christophe Patys - Reply

I made the change of the hard disk and when closing the imac one part of the screen was left in black that could be this?

john sayegh - Reply

I got this Screen problem when replaced the HDD with OWC SSD in my iMac late 2012 model.

Can anyone help me to solve this problem ? PLEASE ! I REALLY WORRY ABOUT THIS.

Please take out the photo down here.

goo.gl/vFUiGI

My Email is mrnguyenken@gmail.com

Thank you so much !

Nguyen Ken - Reply

I have the same problem as you, change the hard drive and now I have a part of the screen in black

john sayegh -

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