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.

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. 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.

Would a heat gun make this step easier? Or damage the iMac?

Clark Green - Reply

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.

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

Gerry - Reply

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

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".
  • 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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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. 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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Put the card into the corner again and let it stay there to keep the adhesive from resettling. Put the card into the corner again and let it stay there to keep the adhesive from resettling.
  • Put the card into the corner again and let it stay there to keep the adhesive from resettling.

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Insert a second card into the gap between the display and frame in the top left corner. Insert a second card into the gap between the display and frame in the top left corner. Insert a second card into the gap between the display and frame in the top left corner.
  • Insert a second card into the gap between the display and frame in the top left corner.

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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.
  • 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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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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Insert the card back into the top left corner. Insert the card back into the top left corner.
  • Insert the card back into the top left corner.

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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.
  • 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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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").
  • 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

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.
  • 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 -

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.

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

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). 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

you don't need to cut the bottom part as the bottom tape is stuck on each side and you can easily pull it out

Thomas Webb - Reply

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.

  • 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

Remove two 10.0 mm T10 screws.
  • Remove two 10.0 mm T10 screws.

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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.
  • 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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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. 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 -

there is no need to disconnect the speaker, just unscrew it and move aside slightly to reach the HDD screws (about 5mm) - if you want to replace just the main HDD

Thomas Webb - Reply

Take note of exactly what direction this tiny little wire was.

Joseph Ashe - Reply

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

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Gently de-route the power button cable from its groove in the left speaker. Gently de-route the power button cable from its groove in the left speaker. Gently de-route the power button cable from its groove in the left speaker.
  • Gently de-route the power button cable from its groove in the left speaker.

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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.
  • 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 -

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

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

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.
  • 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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Remove the left hard drive bracket. Remove the left hard drive bracket.
  • Remove the left hard drive bracket.

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

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27 Comments

Hi,

I'd like to buy this imac with ssd-pci, it's possible to add a new hard disk 3.5???

Do I need some cables???

thank you

Antonio - Reply

Dear Antonio have solved your question? I would put a 1TB SSD instead of HDD, but having bought the model with pre-installed SSD pci. Before opening the mac I wanted to know what was needed to do the upgrade ...

obi2Kenob -

How are the temperature sensing and fan speeds affected by a swap? In the future if I install an SSD I wouldn't want the fans going full speed.

shaolindave - Reply

The fans will go a little crazy because of the swap. At my work they swapped the HDD with an SSD and installed software to maintain that. You can download either, which I believe work just fine:

http://exirion.net/ssdfanctrl/

http://www.hddfancontrol.com/

Danny -

Any body have word on the fan temperature having issues with non-certified apple parts?

Josiah - Reply

Bought the kit and this works perfect. Installed my ssd tonight, so so happy!

Andrew Arevalo - Reply

What type of SSD did you install and what about the fans, do the run like crazy?

Peter -

I purchased one of these Samsung 850 Evo SSDs and on my Late 2013 iMac had no issues with fans or thermal sensors. http://www.msy.com.au/hard-drive/14930-s...

steve -

Do I need any special cable or adapter for replacement?

Joerg O Mir - Reply

No special cable or adapter required. However, you do still encounter the constant high speed fan issue after replacement. My understanding is that they built the fan sensor into the firmware of the Apple issued hard drives, so third party drives result in a null value being reported and thus the crazy fan noise. I'm curious how others are solving that problem.

rickhendricks -

Did some investigation into this. I found that OWC macsales.com has a complete wire harness kit that adds the plug-and-play cable with the In-line Digital Thermal Sensor to eliminate fan noise and maintains proper system fan control through the iMac's System Management Controller. No software hacks, or third party solutions needed.

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIYIM...

Robert - Reply

Hi. I have a Imac 27 late 2013. Next week an apple certified service station will replace my old HDD with an Samsung 850 Pro. I asked them for the thermal sensor but they said it is not necessary for the iMacs beginning late 2013. Can anybody confirm this?

joergobst80 - Reply

Ok for all with a late 2013 27". No thermal sensor is needed.

joergobst80 -

Thanks, can I also add an SSD to my HDD 1TB sata hard disk to make a fusion drive?

So without removing the HDD drive.

tristanclaus - Reply

As Antonio already asked, is it possible to add an HDD to an iMac (EMC 2639) which originally only has an pci-e SSD?

Are the data ports available?

I didin't find a full kit, so I suppose, I need to buy in addition of the HDD the brackets and the Apple connectors to the motherboard?

Thanks in advance!

Stefano - Reply

Hi

I would like to substitute my HDD (1tb) and install a 1tb SSD intead. What i have is a 27 inches late 2013 imac and i have some questiosn.

Do the SSD have to meet any special characteristics?

I´ve read something about the temperature control, is it applicable to the 2013 imac (I´ve read something about the 2009/2010 models but nothing about mine

Thanks!

jhonnie53 - Reply

I recently replaced my 1TB HDD with a 1TB SSD and had no problems with any of the sensors on my iMac Late 2013. I used this Samsung Evo SSD: http://www.msy.com.au/hard-drive/14930-s...

steve -

Hi guys !!!! Could you please help me? I bought this Imac 27 2013 EMC 2639 and i this there is a problem with the hdd inside the Fusion Drive. What kind of hdd should i take in order to replace Hdd? are there any specific requirementы to do that? Thanks in advance

Vitaliy Lys - Reply

do i need some adaptors for a smasung 850 ssd evo? this is 2.5 inch? can you recommend something ?

Avasilcai Daniel - Reply

Hello,

With some googling I have found that the EMC 2639 has a 3,5" hard drive. I have a Samsung 850 Evo SSD which is a 2,5" drive. In the comments I see people have installed this. Do I need a special enclosure for the 3,5 to 2,5 change?

Thanks

Danniel - Reply

On another note do I need the following thermal sensor? https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIDI...

If so, where would I stick it on the SSD?

Danniel -

Not sure about how hard the ifixit plastic cards are, I tried using just reglar plastic cards (old credit card and such) to little effect. The wheel worked perfectly and just pryed it open with nails :)

Danniel - Reply

Followed all the instructions. Had difficulty to connect the display data cable again. Very difficult! Clumsy connector, screen heavy and obstructing work, no good explanation nor detailed photo of connection. After finishing and restarting imac: nothing... after a while very loud fan noise. Had to bring it to repair store. Verdict: logic board damaged (burned) screen maybe damaged, and other minor things... cost: 1400€

bert van overmeir - Reply

Having just done this to my late 2013 27" iMac replacing my 3TB hard drive this is fairly easy especially using this guide, there is a bit of misleading information out there regarding the need for a thermal sensor cable. Well I can tell you my 27" iMac did need one, I had the sense to rebuild with out sticking the screen back on and try it without the lead so it was a quick job to fit the thermal sensor. I replaced the drive with a seagate Barracuda same as the original.

Peter Combes - Reply

I read on another site that starting w/o the screen attached can cause $$$ Damage

Jeff Yarbrough - Reply

This question about thermal sensors and Late 2013 27" iMac, need or not. There still seems to me at least uncertainty if it is needed. Especially when substituting a stock HDD for a new SSD. Would the authors and iFixit maybe add their position on this question?

Cy Birr - Reply

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