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Introduction

Is the new M1 iMac just a silly-sized M1 iPad, a detached-keyboard M1 MacBook, an M1 Mac Mini stretched out like pizza dough? We’ll only know by getting inside, however tough that might be. It’s time for a teardown.

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your iMac M1 24", use our service manual.

  1. You can have this teardown in any color you want, so long as it's purple. We opted for the mid-tier model with the following specs: Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU (four performance cores and four efficiency cores) and 16-core Neural Engine Apple M1 integrated 8-core GPU
    • You can have this teardown in any color you want, so long as it's purple. We opted for the mid-tier model with the following specs:

    • Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU (four performance cores and four efficiency cores) and 16-core Neural Engine

    • Apple M1 integrated 8-core GPU

    • 8 GB of unified memory

    • 23.5-inch (diagonal) True Tone display with 4480 × 2520 resolution and support for one billion colors (P3 color gamut)

    • 256 GB of SSD storage

    • Specs aside, at first glance this iMac looks alarmingly like an iPad on a stand. If you've ever attempted to take apart an iPad, you know why we're a little hesitant to dig into this narrow slab.

  2. We've been doing iMac teardowns a long time, so we're fairly quick by now—but if you're impatient, nothing beats an X-ray. Check out this beauty from our friends at Creative Electron. Compared to an X-ray of the 27" Intel iMac, we noticed: The new iMac's interior is dominated by two huge metal plates. What are those for?
    • We've been doing iMac teardowns a long time, so we're fairly quick by now—but if you're impatient, nothing beats an X-ray. Check out this beauty from our friends at Creative Electron.

    • Compared to an X-ray of the 27" Intel iMac, we noticed:

    • The new iMac's interior is dominated by two huge metal plates. What are those for?

    • The Apple logo provides a convenient RF pass-thru for some antenna hardware—but unlike in the past, the antenna itself is not Apple-shaped.

    • Almost all of the silicon is concentrated into narrow horizontal strips at the top (the display board) and bottom (main logic board). If you've seen our other M1 Mac teardowns, you might've expected this.

    • PS: Are those two circles in the middle coin cell batteries?

    PS: Are those two circles in the middle coin cell batteries? - Yep! for the NVRAM

    Dan - Reply

    My theory on the two metal plates: chambers for the speakers.

    Jeremiah - Reply

    Is that X-ray of the 2-port model? It looks like it has only 1 fan and lacks the circuit board located in the metal plate’s cutout that’s seen in the photo in Step 5. (Which I’m also curious about - a whole extra board? What’s it for?)

    Throwaway - Reply

    Good eye! Yes, Creative Electron X-rayed the base model, so there are some differences from the mid-range unit in our teardown—mainly cooling hardware and ports.

    Jeff Suovanen -

    @jeffsu - Can make note of that above as that’s an important detail

    Dan -

    I really can’t understand why they didn’t put the Apple logo centered, now that the hinge is lower and the center is free, at the very center of the iMac we have two button batteries…also what happened when they run out?

    Adriano - Reply

    Those button batteries tend to last around 10 years in this kind of application, usually powering the internal real-time clock and saving some system settings when the computer is turned off and unplugged. On older Apple hardware a dead battery only causes the computer to forget the time and wifi connection when it has been unplugged. I wonder if this new hardware will behave in a similar way.

    Drew Owen -

    Button cells have been used in computers like this forever.

    The Logo seems to be centered vertically in the space above the hinge, it would look weird dead center.

    I also think those large areas of metal are resonant chambers for the speakers.

    Adam Tolley - Reply

    Has anyone sussed what the two huge metal plates are for? My guess goes back to a mate who made an electronic gizmo and showed the prototype to his boss who just weighed it in his hand and said “Add a pound”. Nobody pays for lightweight kit unless it’s a necessity!!

    JoeStoner - Reply

    Some full-size (6-ft high) home speakers consist of two large (1-ft wide) but very thin (5 mm) pair of plates in each speaker. They can be loud (100-200 W). Did you tell us what technology the M1 iMac speakers use? Are they also just large piezzo speakers, or are the two chambers magnifiers for traditional speakers on either end?

    Calaf C - Reply

  3. The bundled Magic Keyboard gets its first update since 2017, now featuring round-er corners, iMac-matching color choices, and reorganized function keys. Not to mention, shiny new identifying numbers: model A2449 and EMC 3579.
    • The bundled Magic Keyboard gets its first update since 2017, now featuring round-er corners, iMac-matching color choices, and reorganized function keys.

    • Not to mention, shiny new identifying numbers: model A2449 and EMC 3579.

    • The new Touch ID sensor at the top right looks nothing like MacBook Touch ID—in fact, it's a dead ringer for an iPhone home button. This is Touch ID's first-ever appearance in a peripheral, which has some interesting security/repair implications.

    • Apple has always locked each device's original Touch ID button to its logic board in the name of security, making replacements problematic at best. So what about peripherals that connect wirelessly?

    • We'll circle back to keyboard disassembly and Touch ID testing shortly!

  4. Our midrange unit comes with two Thunderbolt 4 ports and two regular USB-C ports. That's double the base model, but not much for a desktop. Maybe there's room internally for expansion? But hey, if it's color options you're after, you're in luck—there are more of those than there are ports. The circular power port looks like something out of the Matrix. Better take this iMac apart quick, before it learns kung fu.
    • Our midrange unit comes with two Thunderbolt 4 ports and two regular USB-C ports. That's double the base model, but not much for a desktop. Maybe there's room internally for expansion?

    • But hey, if it's color options you're after, you're in luck—there are more of those than there are ports.

    • The circular power port looks like something out of the Matrix. Better take this iMac apart quick, before it learns kung fu.

    • The foot features a new model number: A2438 plus the unique EMC 3663, and touts "Made in Thailand."

    • Historically iMacs were assembled in China, while a few were built in the States. China may be on the outs due to recent tensions (and tariffs).

    • The M1 iMac is two iPads thin—not deep enough for a headphone jack, so iMac turned its jack sideways to fit.

    Some (like mine) were also built in Cork, Ireland ??

    Scott Brady - Reply

    Can you please not partake in the ridiculous personification of Apple products? Neuroblabla hardware notwithstanding these don’t have consciousness so deserve an article: “*the* iMac turned its jack sideways”.

    rjvbertin - Reply

    • Huzzah! The M1 iMac still uses the classic iMac adhesive—it's not quite the goopy iPad nightmare that we feared.

    • We don't love glued-together desktops—but if you insist, then this sort of split-friendly foam adhesive has been our go-to recommendation since we first encountered it in the 2012 iMac. It carves open easily with our handy-dandy cutting wheel.

    • It's not all familiar though. The surprisingly shallow cutting action is disconcertingly bumpy—fortunately, our pizza cutter is just rolling over a series of protective plastic screw posts, nothing delicate.

    • Unlike on past iMacs, it has a single piece of glass—no metal chin to block access to internals. Good slack in the cables and no booby traps!

    • We can't wait to take a look at those radiator-looking bits—could they be speaker chambers?

    Can we see the back of the chin please?

    malhal - Reply

    Perhaps those chambers are Apple’s adaptation of a transmission line design to extend output in the lowest octaves.

    Gene - Reply

    Can we get some close-ups of the white/gray (whatever) bezels. Would it be difficult to change them to black?

    Richard Murray - Reply

    You finally didn’t tell us about the two “radiators”. I can’t wait to find out!!

    carlosmf - Reply

    "Radiators" could be bass acoustic amplifiers using Helmholtz resonance, related to the two-speaker active cancellation used in recent Apple product speakers?

    muonteabr - Reply

    The glass breaks a the slightest bump. I have experienced my first crack in 2 days after the purchase :(

    Seth van der Meer - Reply

    Are there any cables connecting the display to the motherboard?

    Richard Murray - Reply

    Yes! Multiple cables connect between the display and the motherboard. They are pretty long, so you can see and disconnect them if you open the iMac slowly.

    Arthur Shi -

    Hey! How did you disconnect the screen from the logic board, power supply, etc? Were the cables difficult to get to?

    Matt Kaiser - Reply

    This teardown is an educational first look into a device, where we note interesting features and give it a repairability score. It is not meant to be used as a repair guide—stay tuned for our repair manuals!

    Arthur Shi -

    • Our 2.5 mm nut driver makes a rare appearance (you may remember its role in the iPhone 6s Teardown)—removing logic board standoff screws. Thanks to our iPhone Marlin kit, we're covered!

    • Good to see incredibly-thin computers opting for screws over glues. Hey, iPad team, take note?

    • The fanless M1 MacBook Air-sized logic board is housed in the artificial "chin" of the iMac.

    • Unlike the one in the MacBook Air, this M1 is actively cooled by a pair of fans. Each fan blows inward across the logic board, where the heatsink draws heat away from the M1 with a copper heat pipe and two short heatsinks.

    • We'll circle back later for a closer look at those fans, but we can't resist a bare logic board!

  5. Thanks to the M1 architecture, this is the smallest iMac logic board yet. Let's take a closer look: Apple APL1102/339S00817 64-bit M1 8-core SoC (system on a chip).
    • Thanks to the M1 architecture, this is the smallest iMac logic board yet. Let's take a closer look:

    • Apple APL1102/339S00817 64-bit M1 8-core SoC (system on a chip).

    • SK Hynix H9HCNNNCRMMVGR-NEH 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) LPDDR4 memory

    • Kioxia KICM225VE4779 128 GB NAND flash storage

    • Murata 339S00763 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module

    • Apple APL1096/343S00474 power management IC

    • Apple APL1097/343S00475 power management IC

    • Richtek RT4541GQV power management IC

    Might this actually be LPDDR4X as in the M1 MacBooks? SK Hynix does sell both, but SK Hynix’s Model Decoder would indicate this may actually be LPDDR4X. H9HCNNNCRMMVGR-NEH and the 10th digit: U is LPDDR4, M is LPDDR4X.

    Zipity Zi - Reply

    What is the circle on the right side of the m1 chip?

    mw j - Reply

    The circular thing looks like the weird power socket shown in photo #1 in step 4.

    AndrewNJohnson - Reply

    The circle would be the power connector. On models that have Ethernet, the Ethernet cable would plug into the power adapter and then enter the computer through the power cable/round connector.

    Frank - Reply

  6. Let's put this thing down, flip it, and reverse it: Kioxia KICM225VE4779 128 GB NAND flash storage Macronix MX25U6472F 64 MB serial NOR flash memory
    • Let's put this thing down, flip it, and reverse it:

    • Kioxia KICM225VE4779 128 GB NAND flash storage

    • Macronix MX25U6472F 64 MB serial NOR flash memory

    • Broadcom BCM57762 ethernet controller

    • Infineon (formerly Cypress Semiconductor) CYPDC1185B2-32LQXQ USB-C cable controller

    • Texas Instruments TPS259827ON 15-amp eFuse with load current monitoring and transient fault management

    • Cirrus Logic CS42L83A audio codec

    • A mysterious button with three LEDs beneath it—what could it be for? Diagnostics? Secret direct-Morse-code line to Tim Cook? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

    The “mysterious button” you mention here is actually a diagnostic LED (common in all of Apple’s desktops). In the picture provided here, the right-most LED is LED 1, the middle is LED 2, and the left LED is LED 3. Apple describes their indications as follows:

    ​​LED 1 = Communication to power adapter is OK.

    LED 2 = Computer may be asleep or shutdown.

    LED 3 = Computer is awake.

    David Honeycutt - Reply

    To view the diagnostic LEDs as described below, use a black stick to press the diagnostic LED button.

    - LED 1 Indicates that the power adapter is plugged into an electrical outlet and trickle voltage from the power adapter has been detected by the main logic board. This LED will turn on when you connect the iMac and power adapter to an AC power source.

    David Honeycutt -

    - LED 2 Indicates that the computer may be in sleep or shutdown.When the computer has been shut down correctly, LED 2 behavior may differ: If a startup event is scheduled in System Preferences/Energy Saver, then LED 2 will stay on after a correct shutdown.If no startup event is scheduled in System Preferences/Energy Saver, then LED 2 will turn off and will stay off as long as the iMac and power adapter are kept connected and an AC power source is present. Unplugging the power adapter or the AC power source from the power adapter, then plugging it back in will turn this LED back on, even if the computer is still off.After disconnecting and reconnecting the AC power source, this LED could remain off: If the AC power source is missing or the power adapter is disconnected.If the logic board is disconnected from the power adapter.If the power adapter is faulty.

    David Honeycutt -

    - LED 3 Indicates that the computer is awake. This LED will be on when the computer is turned on and a video signal is being generated. If LED 3 is on and there is no image on the display, then the display or the cables between the display and logic board might be installed incorrectly or need replacement.

    David Honeycutt -

    Neat! Thanks for confirming and sharing this info!

    Arthur Shi -

    M1… what could it B? Wait… M1B… MIB! Don’t ever push the button, or at least until your training agent tells you to. That connects to an AI that has petabyte transfer rates. The Matrix, indeed. Was Agent Smith also a former MIB agent…?

    jhgifford - Reply

    Yes! Indicators led and the button, to desmagnetize the MLB. These button is used until MacBook Air 2018 to today.

    Eduardo - Reply

    Missy Elliott fan perhaps !?

    aceman72 - Reply

  7. Let’s talk ports! The USB-C boards flip up like the covers of cigarette lighter sockets in your car. From there, they easily disconnect from the (crazy thin) interconnect board. Even the "Pro" iMac had all its ports soldered to the logic board. While a desktop is less likely to experience port wear than a mobile device, it's always nice to have the option to replace.
    • Let’s talk ports! The USB-C boards flip up like the covers of cigarette lighter sockets in your car. From there, they easily disconnect from the (crazy thin) interconnect board.

    • Even the "Pro" iMac had all its ports soldered to the logic board. While a desktop is less likely to experience port wear than a mobile device, it's always nice to have the option to replace.

    • Even these little guys are color-coordinated. We don't always agree with Apple's choices, but there's no denying their efforts making them.

  8. With this wafer-thin interconnect board out, let's dive in for our second helping of chip ID: ASMedia ASM3142 PCIe-to-USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller
    • With this wafer-thin interconnect board out, let's dive in for our second helping of chip ID:

    • ASMedia ASM3142 PCIe-to-USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller

    • Texas Instruments CD3218B12 USB-C port/power delivery controller

    • Intel JHL8040R Thunderbolt 4 retimer

    • ASMedia ASM1543 10 Gbps 4:2 mux switch with USB-C 3.1 compatibility

    • Analog Devices (formerly Linear Technology) LTC3890-2 two-phase synchronous step-down converter

    • Texas Instruments TMP464 five-channel temperature sensor

    • Analog Devices SSM3515B 31-watt class-D audio amplifier

    The Analog Devices SSM3515B is what the HomePod uses for its tweeters. SEVEN SSM3515B ICs

    Nicholas Ouimet - Reply

    • But wait; there’s more! For the low, low price of zero dollars, we have a whole reference guide full of identified iMac M1 silicon. We didn’t have room for all of it here, so our loss is your gain!

  9. If you—like us, and some keen-eyed tweeters—guessed those shiny metal chambers  were part of the new speaker system, you were right! They're impossibly thin (about 1.5 mm at the opening), but their sprawling surface area equates to quite a lot of internal volume, and therefore more air, and fuller sound. Pretty nifty use of what might otherwise be empty space! Apple's obsession with audio quality shows throughout their product lineup, as recent teardowns from headphones to AirTags have proven.
    • If you—like us, and some keen-eyed tweeters—guessed those shiny metal chambers were part of the new speaker system, you were right!

    • They're impossibly thin (about 1.5 mm at the opening), but their sprawling surface area equates to quite a lot of internal volume, and therefore more air, and fuller sound. Pretty nifty use of what might otherwise be empty space!

    • Apple's obsession with audio quality shows throughout their product lineup, as recent teardowns from headphones to AirTags have proven.

    • Speaking of air, our mid-tier iMac comes with two small fans (vs. just one in the base model). This marks the first dual-fan setup in an M1 machine—which ought to be more than enough, considering how well the completely fanless M1 MacBook Air seems to perform with the exact same chip.

    Apple’s “obsession with audio quality” died when they quietly removed digital audio outputs from all of their devices in 2015.

    Gene - Reply

    What are you referring to? Digital audio output is available from the various types of USB ports that most of their devices have. If I understand correctly, the iPhone and iPad Lightning port only has digital audio output, and requires an adapter to expose an analogue audio output suitable for earphones or headphones (assuming that the device doesn’t have a headphone jack).

    irvbromberg -

    There must be a reason for including one or two fans, even though not required in other M1 devices. I wonder if Apple increased the M1 CPU clock rate for higher performance with one fan, and increased it further with two fans? I guess that this will become evident in M1 CPU benchmark testing.

    irvbromberg - Reply

    Do your left and right side speakers sound the same? Mine has more bass on the right one and more treble on the left one. Do you think it could be an hardware problem, like maybe the left one wasn't “attached” to the metal chamber during assembly? Or maybe I just have some other problem on the speakers of one side. They don’t sound “broken”, just like totally different. Dark on the right, bright on the left.

    Johnny Doensy - Reply

  10. Next, let's zoom in on that battery board. The two pins on the output connector show 3V, which suggests these are probably CMOS batteries wired in parallel. But why two of them? And why the strange placement in the middle of the enclosure? Ordinarily, we'd expect to find a single CR2032 battery protecting the NVRAM, like on previous iMacs. Best guess: The new iMac design was too thin for a CR2032 on the main board. That's right—they couldn't squeeze in the battery from an AirTag. So Apple instead used two half-height CR2016s, and squirreled them away over here for clearance.
    • Next, let's zoom in on that battery board. The two pins on the output connector show 3V, which suggests these are probably CMOS batteries wired in parallel. But why two of them? And why the strange placement in the middle of the enclosure?

    • Ordinarily, we'd expect to find a single CR2032 battery protecting the NVRAM, like on previous iMacs.

    • Best guess: The new iMac design was too thin for a CR2032 on the main board. That's right—they couldn't squeeze in the battery from an AirTag. So Apple instead used two half-height CR2016s, and squirreled them away over here for clearance.

    • Closer inspection reveals a camouflaged stretch-release adhesive pull tab under the battery board—the same sort of stuff that secures iPhone batteries.

    • We're fans of this stretchy adhesive when the alternative is poking and prying at a glued-down smartphone battery, but its use here seems ... odd.

    • Once again, thinness suggests an answer: This is a wafer-thin board, set in place with a vanishingly thin strip of adhesive.

    • You can't fully remove or replace either battery while the board is glued in place. Fortunately replacements shouldn't be frequent, but they'll certainly be inconvenient.

    Probably not for redundancy, but for capacity.

    CR2032 is too thick for this model, so they used 2 CR2016s instead, more or less the same thing.

    Tom Chai - Reply

    I think is the same Idea. The capacity of CR2032 is 220mAh and the CR2016 is 90mAh.

    Is more thinner CR2016 than CR2032 but lower capacity reduce the time of retain CMOS memory like less than 5 Years (the estimated life time of this products)

    And yes, for any think this, the CMOS battery is one of the “planned obsolescence” parameters.

    Víctor López -

    @tomchai We took some measurements and I think you’re right. Good catch! The CR2032 battery from an AirTag is literally too thick for this iMac. Wow. Step has been updated accordingly.

    Jeff Suovanen -

    I understand the need for some sort of battery for the CMOS but the placement seems to insure that the machine will eventually be bricked (or at the very least severely handicapped) by those getting depleted and almost impossible to replace. Why no making those user serviceable ?

    Alexandre Takacs - Reply

    To be honest I don’t this is “almost impossible to replace. It is literally right in the center once your take off the screen.

    Also it doesn’t seem to cause the device to brick either. Most of the time you get inaccurate clock whenever you unplug the computer from power and that’s it.

    Tom Chai -

    It’s doubtful a dead CMOS battery will brick the machine. Modern systems usually only have these to keep the realtime clock going when the unit is powered down AND unplugged. In fact, if your Mac is plugged in, the drain on the batteries is probably 0, so the clock (pun intended) only starts running down substantially when the machine is taken out of service. These lithium cells have a crazy long shelf life; I have a copy of Legend of Zelda from the late 80s which still has the save games intact, backed up by a CR2032. RTCs draw a bit more current, but it’s still low.

    I don’t expect these batteries to become an issue for multiple decades.

    Zorin the Lynx -

    is it for find-my imac (bluetooth le advertise)?

    why would they need RTC when they have internet??

    Albert Einstein - Reply

  11. What else can we shake out of this iMacPad? We find: A modular headphone jack. Good news, considering this could be the port that sees the most action. The chassis' thinness does have a silver lining: the headphone jack isn't on the back. A power button, mounted on a sturdy metal bracket, which is glued directly to the enclosure. It actuates on a little hinge.
    • What else can we shake out of this iMacPad? We find:

    • A modular headphone jack. Good news, considering this could be the port that sees the most action. The chassis' thinness does have a silver lining: the headphone jack isn't on the back.

    • A power button, mounted on a sturdy metal bracket, which is glued directly to the enclosure. It actuates on a little hinge.

    • The "studio-quality" triple-microphone array: two up top and one facing forward near the camera.

  12. The Apple logo on the back may not glow like on those classic MacBooks, but it's definitely still radiating. Like past iMacs, it has a cutout that acts as a convenient window for a patch antenna. The display shield features two horizontal slots that hang on corresponding tabs in the case—keeping the display securely mounted. History, but no markings, point to LG Display as a likely maker of this panel. The stand’s hinge hardware is no longer accessible from the outside, so choose VESA from the outset or forever hold your peace—or an iMac opening wheel.
    • The Apple logo on the back may not glow like on those classic MacBooks, but it's definitely still radiating. Like past iMacs, it has a cutout that acts as a convenient window for a patch antenna.

    • The display shield features two horizontal slots that hang on corresponding tabs in the case—keeping the display securely mounted. History, but no markings, point to LG Display as a likely maker of this panel.

    • The stand’s hinge hardware is no longer accessible from the outside, so choose VESA from the outset or forever hold your peace—or an iMac opening wheel.

    Do Apple sell a separate stand to fix to the VESA, in case you change your mind down the road !?

    aceman72 - Reply

  13. As promised, let’s dive back into that shiny new keyboard! Despite the update, it remains a tough nut to crack, but the trifecta of heavy-duty suction, isopropyl alcohol, and patience pays off. The Touch ID key may look like an ordinary keycap on top, but the undercarriage looks very similar to an iPhone 7 Touch ID sensor. What happens when you swap keyboard Touch ID sensors? They connect just fine and register Touch ID key clicks—but alas, don’t want anything to do with our fingerprints. Each Touch ID sensor seems to be paired to its original keyboard.
    • As promised, let’s dive back into that shiny new keyboard! Despite the update, it remains a tough nut to crack, but the trifecta of heavy-duty suction, isopropyl alcohol, and patience pays off.

    • The Touch ID key may look like an ordinary keycap on top, but the undercarriage looks very similar to an iPhone 7 Touch ID sensor.

    • What happens when you swap keyboard Touch ID sensors? They connect just fine and register Touch ID key clicks—but alas, don’t want anything to do with our fingerprints. Each Touch ID sensor seems to be paired to its original keyboard.

    • That's not a total surprise: Touch ID sensors have been cryptographically paired to their original hardware for years. But these Touch ID peripherals are new, so we kept testing:

    • Two iMacs, one keyboard: once a keyboard is paired to an iMac, it must be unpaired in order to be paired to another iMac. Unpairing a keyboard invalidates the Touch ID profile stored on the iMac, even if it's re-paired to the same keyboard later on.

    What else is in there?! What chips does it use?

    babakrezai - Reply

  14. The new power supply (plus integrated ethernet jack) may live on the outside now, but it won’t escape our tools! We had to bust out the heavy duty stuff but it’s worth it. Repairability benefits: If the iMac's power supply dies, you can easily replace it. Plus, the lack of large exposed capacitors inside the iMac itself (like we've seen in previous generations) means you'll have a safer time poking around in there. On the other hand, no more capacitor swaps—you’re not getting inside this thing without destroying it.
    • The new power supply (plus integrated ethernet jack) may live on the outside now, but it won’t escape our tools! We had to bust out the heavy duty stuff but it’s worth it.

    • Repairability benefits: If the iMac's power supply dies, you can easily replace it. Plus, the lack of large exposed capacitors inside the iMac itself (like we've seen in previous generations) means you'll have a safer time poking around in there.

    • On the other hand, no more capacitor swaps—you’re not getting inside this thing without destroying it.

    • The innards look similar to a standard Apple MacBook power supply, albeit with a network cable passing through.

    • The tiny ethernet board is likely strengthening and piping the internets through the black wire bunch.

    • Red wires feed power into the not-Magsafe magnetic umbilical cord.

    • The power supply can pump out a healthy 143 watts, but in our testing, the iMac only draws about 60 watts at most. That's a lot of extra headroom for power-hungry USB-C peripherals.

    How does the coaxial magnetic connector on the (unpictured) other end of the cable connect (presumably) eight wires (four twisted pairs) for gigabit Ethernet? Are there tiny little fingers in the inner tube of the female connector on the iMac’s processor board? Can you take a look?

    Dominic Dunlop - Reply

    If you look closely at an X-ray transmission photo or a close-up photo of the motherboard, you can see 12 metal contacts on the circumference. Normally, the Ethernet signal line is 2x4, but I guess they made it 3x4 so that it is equivalent even if the connector is turned 180 degrees. On the other hand, I think the 15.9V9A DC current is supplied by the center electrode (positive) and the surrounding cylindrical electrodes (negative).

    muonteabr -

    Thanks for that. It could alternatively be that the extra four contacts are for stuff like orientation sensing, communication with the power brick, standby power, voltage sensing …

    Dominic Dunlop - Reply

    Hi there, would it be possible to see what’s underneath the black sealing glue on the top-side of the pcb? Close metal heatsinks, where the primary side inductors are located. Thanks!

    Robert - Reply

    I’m interested in what the connectors in the power cable are carrying:

    Is the central metal pin in the connector at the iMac end connected to a conductor in the cable?

    The four red wires carry DC from the power supply.

    Do the remaining eight wires carry ethernet, i.e. four twisted pairs? If this is true, then is the ethernet transceiver on the iMac’s logic board, and the ethernet board in the power supply is only a passive connector?

    An upcoming “M1X” Mac Mini is rumoured to use the same magnetic power connector. Will the power cord ethernet be capable of carrying 10 Gbit ethernet, an option they must be planning to provide, since it is an option on the existing M1 Mac Mini?

    James Gilbert - Reply

    Yes, since you show a Broadcom BCM57762 ethernet controller chip on the main logic board, then the ethernet components in the power brick must be entirely passive.

    James Gilbert -

    Hi James! That’s a great observation and deduction!

    Arthur Shi -

  15. This concludes our purplest teardown to date—sorry Pixel.
    • This concludes our purplest teardown to date—sorry Pixel.

    • Apple's newest iMac follows the other M1 machines down an interesting, but even-less-repairable path.

    • A lot of impressive engineering went into making this thing as thin as possible, but did anyone really need a thinner all-in-one desktop? Apple's priorities continue to baffle.

    • Stay tuned! Up next on the teardown table we've got the new Apple TV and Siri Remote, and maybe even an iPad Pro—so keep checking back.

    • As always, we'll let our repairability scale have the final word.

    From a marketing perspective, the thinness is brilliant. Do we need a thinner iMac? No! Does it look cool as heck? Yes!!!

    Calion - Reply

  16. Final Thoughts
    • The fans, USB ports, headphone jack, power button, speakers, and webcam are all reasonably modular and fixable in a pinch.
    • The external power supply is trivial to replace, but very difficult to service.
    • The display is tedious to remove and replace, but it's the most accessible component.
    • There’s no altering the internal storage—a severe blow to repairs, upgrades, data recovery, and even security.
    • Memory is soldered directly to the M1 package, making it impractical to ever replace or upgrade.
    • The only path of entry is through the display adhesive, making all repairs tedious.
    Repairability Score
    2
    Repairability 2 out of 10
    (10 is easiest to repair)

78 Comments

Awesome teardown so far, and I’m very relieved that they didn’t switch to a stronger screen adhesive!

Cero - Reply

Adhesive…humbug! Give me magnets.

barryjaylevine - Reply

Why? There is nothing upgradeable in the chassis. One can’t upgrade the SSD or RAM so what’s the point of going inside it other than that rare time to maybe clean the dust out of it?

Eduardo Gomez -

Yeh that's true ..like having a ton of space inside and can’t even have a upgradable m.2 slot thts way too bad. I mean they cold have give a spare slot somewhere.

Honey Pawar -

Is the glass chin color changeable?

John A - Reply

This is exactly what I want to know too! :)

Well actually I’m interested to know if it’s painted or an adhesive plastic, It would be nice for the chin to be transparent so you can see the speakers, fan and at least the metal shielding around the motherboard.

bob obba -

Well, if you want black, and are prepared to put up with a particularly snitty web page, take a look at dbrand.com.

Dominic Dunlop -

Only if you replace the entire display.

Brandon -

Interesting look at the stand mount. Swapping the foot for VESA mount is going to require removing the display.

vincentmaggio - Reply

The VESA Mount iMac is a special build to order option from Apple. It is not a user-installable option.

Peter Hillman -

iFixit on the ball as usual. Happy to see that with all that high integration the design is still sort-of modular!

Spikey2 - Reply

can’t wait to see the screen cables and connectors…

Jonathan PETIT - Reply

Aren’t those “circular things” inductors?

Lamp - Reply

Information is circulating that the M1 SSDs have a problem of premature wear? have you done wear tests on the M1 SSDs?

https://bartechtv.com/m1-mac-ssd-wear-pr...

Olivier Tableau - Reply

The SSD disk write issues have been fixed in 11.4 which came out today. The person who found the issue in first place says it was a result of a kernel bug. He also said 11.4 is said to have addressed the excessive write to SSD. Look at twitter link below for his statement.

People on MacRumours who are on 11.4 also said the SSD writes are much lower than before the update.

https://twitter.com/marcan42/status/1396...

Rohith Mekala -

@vincentmaggio: check out this photo from Apple’s website which shows the VESA mount: https://store.storeimages.cdn-apple.com/...

spearson - Reply

I love the colors but the lack of upgradeability isn’t exactly making me rush out and get one. I wish they had kept the thicker design with magnets in the screen. A desktop machine does not have to be ultra thin. Please Apple, get off the thin and light trend.

STEPHEN WALTERS - Reply

I agree with you. But even if it were thicker, which would be nice because you would not have an audio cable sticking out of the side for powered speakers, the Apple Silicon platform means no more upgrades ever. Soldered RAM and soldered storage from this point forward. Having to pay Apple prices for more RAM and more storage. Nothing is repairable in this Mac, except the display. Something goes wrong, whole new motherboard.

Peter Hillman -

”Nothing is repairable in this Mac, except the display.”

The power supply and the fans are the most likely things (still unlikely) to fail over time. The PSU is external and the fans can be replaced.

I would love to see upgradeable RAM though but it seems that the days for that are over. Also, RAM isn’t very likely to fail over time.

If Apple’s pricing was more reasonable I wouldn’t care about it at all, just buy enough when you buy the computer.

fishsauce -

As someone who has fixed countless iMacs over the past 6 years from 2007 models to 2020 models I can confidently say that adhesive is here to stay and that is a good thing. The repair time on 2007-2011 models is significantly higher and more annoying. The adhesive is honestly convenient and nice, with 3-4 cuts you have the entire display off. An SSD upgrade can be done in 25 minutes on a 2015 iMac, on a 2011 the same repair would take 45 minutes.

Brandon -

PSA: The SSD disk write issues have been fixed in 11.4 which came out today. The person who found the issue in first place says it was a result of a kernel bug and he also says 11.4 addresses the issue. Update to 11.4 if your on M1 macs. Users on 11.4 from MacRumours have also reported that SSD writes are much lower on 11.4.

https://twitter.com/marcan42/status/1396...

Rohith Mekala - Reply

is it me or the x-ray of the M1 is missing the other fan? it seams to only have one on the left side.

Darek Barquero - Reply

In the comments above, the X-Ray is the base model unit with two ports and one fan. It is not the one they tore down.

Peter Hillman -

The “metal plates” are obviously acoustic chambers, like in the 2015 iPad Pro. Look at the way they connect exclusively to the woofers.

Brad Fortin - Reply

Literally no reason for there to be a chin.

Super Jesus - Reply

Multiple reasons: 1) the user can actually see the color, 2) the iMac is instantly recognizable, instead of a totally generic screen, and 3) Apple likes it. There are no technical reasons for the chin, since all the components would pretty clearly fit under the screen, so there are obviously aesthetic ones.

Jared -

I was so excited for new iMacs - but imo it’s a bigg miss in many respects. Not really a feat to make it slim when the psu is external. Not making the board user replaceable from the bottom (like ram on the old iMacs is a missed opportunity that really limits the repairablity and lifespan of this machine…

hunakkah armadillo - Reply

There are separate versions of iMac for use with VESA mount, thus no foot included.

https://www.apple.com/sg/shop/buy-mac/im...

Sasmito Adibowo - Reply

See extra room for a future dedicated graphics card?

rbacigal - Reply

Hopefully the extra space is for a battery. Apple is going to be sued for false advertising showing these things turned on with no power cord, and is going to have to recall them and install a battery.

John Howard -

I am just happy you can get in easily. If you want more storage, than you can plug in an external hard drive. Unfortunately RAM is soldered. Other than that, I am happy with the insides of the new iMac.

Lucas Andreason - Reply

What is the model of the screen panel, and who is it made by?

Rob - Reply

Can you remove the stand, so that a VESA mount adapter might be fitted instead?

Insight - Reply

Are the ribbon cable connections to the logic board using the same connectors as the previous generation iMacs? Maybe there is hope for making a FrankenMac from a damaged 24” model…

Ron Parkinson - Reply

Hrm, I’m wondering, since the glass directly covers the chin, could the very ambitious remove the paint from the interior of the glass and leave it clear (seeing the motherboard), or custom paint it.

Eric Merrill - Reply

I would have added to the summary that putting consumable parts like the two coin cells behind all that glue is just making a mockery of repairablity. Talk about engineering in a life span.

jim stewart - Reply

Those batteries should only be needed when it loses power and that is probably enough juice for it to be unplugged for 10 years.

eric.summers -

Can you verify if those tabs that slot into the display bear any weight of the display? One of the issues repairing 2012+ iMacs is the possibility of the display falling away if the adhesive fails. Does it look like those tabs hold the display in anyway?

The Stem - Reply

Only Apple makes a computer that is beautiful on the inside but also impossible to open.

tylercwillis - Reply

Actually I am a little disappointed. I felt sure Apple could get it down way below 2/10 on the ifixit scoring system. What were they thinking?

jeeves - Reply

Right. I think all those color matched parts increased the modularity.

eric.summers -

I can think of someone that might welcome thinner and lighter iMacs. “Low-level PC” techs. If you ever had to slug 300 new computers into a school and replace desktops, you’ll welcome the weight savings. It adds up to the wear and tears on one’s back. Just because a YouTube reviewer can’t think of a reason for something, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. No shade directed at iFixit. Just a self-awareness check for people that criticize for a living. Thanks for the hard work iFixit in bringing repair guides to the every-person!

Danny Sarco - Reply

If I can’t take the internal storage out of the case before I send the hardware off for repair, my company will not buy them which means they are effectively disposable.

Tim Hogard - Reply

Clunky solution: Get the least storage they offer, use it only for System and apps, and use external storage for everything else.

Calion -

bullocks! on this one double bullocks

John Cone - Reply

It’s basically a glorified smartphone.

Sean Tudor - Reply

>in our testing, the iMac only draws about 60 watts at most.

Is that with the.Analog Devices SSM3515B 31-watt class-D audio amplifier on full blast? Does that mean it’d only draw 29 W without an amp? How about without a display? Does the Mini have the same amp in it?

And what do these chips do, with no battery to manage? Does the mini also have these?

>Apple APL1096/343S00474 power management IC

>Apple APL1097/343S00475 power management IC

>Richtek RT4541GQV power management IC

John Howard - Reply

Good question John! We mostly tested the iMac at the brightest display level and fully loaded processor cores. We didn’t think to crank the volume up to 11 while we did that! That would probably add a substantial bit of watts.

Arthur Shi -

That’s not a computer!

You need to be able to pop the lid, swap in a new SSD etc.

It probably will make a good office machine, look great on a receptionists desk etc., but of very limited appeal to those into computers.

It looks like the Mac mini is my only option - assuming an M1 Mac pro will cost way to much $$$$$

Paul Stubbs - Reply

You can't swap in a new SSD on the Mini either.

Calion -

The question for me is if this new M1 iMac is also prone to the gray-spots-in-the-corners issue that all other iMacs have been over the years. Looking at the internal side of the screen panel it doesn’t seem sealed well around the metal frame to keep dust particles coming through the fan intake port from penetrating the display behind the glass. I guess only time will tell…

Alex - Reply

Why? There is nothing upgradeable in the chassis. One can’t upgrade the SSD or RAM so what’s the point of going inside it other than that rare time to maybe clean the dust out of it?

Eduardo Gomez - 11 hours ago

What about when those fans eventually seize, or clog up? What about a damaged headphone jack? How about replacing the screen due to damage/cracking? Those batteries will run out eventually too! 101 reasons why you should be able to (easily) access YOUR own device.

Ben Stanton - Reply

So it’s an iPad with a big screen. Apple really wants 100% disposable devices, doesn’t it? This is ridiculous. This is even worse than buying a car where the tires are permanently attached and you can’t change the oil. Oh, but you can replace the mirrors! Yeah, like anyone ever has to do that unless they’re in an accident…2/10 is ridiculously generous. It should be 0/10.

sapphirescales - Reply

Everyone that says “So it’s an iPad with a big screen” is evidence that Apple is guilty of false advertising for showing them turned on displaying a screen saver, without being plugged in. How many people are going to be disappointed that it has no battery? I think Apple will have to recall them and put in the missing battery.

John Howard -

I noticed that the needle in the gauge on the Repairability Score jiggles a bit. Does that mean some of these iMacs are just slightly more repairable than others? So maybe 1.999999996 to 2.000000004?

Richard Murray - Reply

This is a big step for Apple. They improved security to fully protect their devices from tampering by rogue consumers who falsely believe that just because they purchase a device, they have some kind of right to upgrade or repair it. Apple knows full well that there is an ample supply of fools who will overlook this limitation because PURPLE.

Gene - Reply

Here's the thing about this: The only difference in repairability between this and previous iMacs is that you can't replace the memory or storage. That's due to the increased speed from having it as an SOC, not to make it disposable. Although repairability is nice, so is speed.

Too bad the whole thing’s not ZIF, though.

Calion -

It’s basically becoming a gigantic smartphone.

Rubens Martins - Reply

What in !&&* is the battery for? What is when they are empty?

Jürgen Meister - Reply

It's for the clock when you unplug it.

Calion -

Can the TouchID keyboard be purchased separately if the original seems to fail? I’m looking on Apple’s website and it doesn’t appear to be available, at least for the time being.

Jesse Hooton - Reply

This is freely replaceable, no special lockdown present.

Tom Chai -

As a longtime apple user this is a mockery of a computer, my current iMac has 20gb of Ram and still works without issues after 10 years, what is the lifespan of this machine, 2 years, max 3, it's obvious that every new iteration of macosx will transform this into a brick, just to assure that you buy another Mac… what a waste of resources and money

camirisk - Reply

If you buy the high-end version, it will last a lot more than 3 years—however long 16 GB will be sufficient. I'm guessing about eight years, no less than most Macs.

Calion -

Apple makes some of the most clumsy machines in the industry.

They could easily have made the glass fit with magnets and allowed for RAM and SSD upgrades. Hopeless.

Alex Santos - Reply

Well, no. Allowing RAM and SSD upgrades would slow down the computer and reduce the massive speed advantage of the M1.

Calion -

I’m curious to see if the lower end model uses the same logic board but with a different M1 SoC and one less usb-c board and whether it still has the second connector for the other 2 usb-c ports

Devnol - Reply

Turns out, the iMac has a chin. I know, I know, somehow we will find the strength to carry on.

montex66 - Reply

Lighter, thinner computers mean less packaging and less space, fuel and energy needed to store and transport them. A huge benefit to everyone globally, not just their owners.

Also, while people may not move desktops very frequently, when you do have to do it, it’s always appreciated when they’re lighter and easier to carry. Eg. If you work in IT and have to install them.

Jonny T - Reply

In other words, yes, there are people and there are good reasons for wanting this trend to not only continue at Apple, but also at other computer manufacturers.

Jonny T -

A lot of good that does if the computers have to be thrown away because they can’t be upgraded or repaired. It’s people like you who were responsible for “water saving” showerheads. They might use 20% less water, but you have to spend 2x longer in the shower to get the soap out of your hair. Great job. Same thing with super thin toilet paper. Do you really think people are going to walk around with sh*t on their a$$es just because it takes longer to pull off 2 miles of toilet paper to equal 5 squares of normal toilet paper? No. All it does is waste everyone’s time. If you make shopping bags thinner, people will just double-bag.

People aren’t going to just live with their slow/non-functional computer when it can’t be repaired or upgraded. They’re going to buy a new one. So much for your “energy saving” theory. The ONLY thing this does is increase the profits of Apple at the expense of everyone else.

sapphirescales -

Great job, but I think that complaining that really small components can’t be disassembled is kind of ridiculous. How do you “service” a (much bigger) Nvidia graphics card. Heck a single DIMM is bigger than the M1 SOC. A mechanical camera can be taken apart, cleaned, and modified. The (far more capable) camera in a good smartphone is a tiny package. As this stuff changes, I think you need to move the goalposts.

Tonio Loewald - Reply

Think back to the Macintosh’s beginning. It has always been about simplicity: Simple to setup out of the box. Simple to use by non-computer users. Done.

Moving forward, Apple’s take on Macintosh simplicity expanded much further to its construction: If there’s no chance to upgrade/expand, the device is yet even more simple.The way you buy it is the way it remains for life…usually.

Lastly, as technology advanced and made it possible to create a nearly ‘solid state’ computer (thank you SSD and no thank you the need for an internal cooling fan(s)), we are now just south of Apple’s vision of Computer Nirvana: No moving parts. No upgrade opportunity. No user-serviceability. And (hopefully) no need for it to be serviced.

I remember my first solid-state, transistor radio. One-tenth the size of my desktop radio. Had good sound for both AM and FM, could accept a mini-earphone, and ran for a month of periodic use on two AA batteries.

Apple’s vision and quest to this end will remain…as long as there’s an Apple to do it.

Steven Smith - Reply

Everything will need to be serviced: accident and bad batches happens, and if the only option is to change the entire machine, that’s the opposite of an environmental friendly company like they call themselves… And if we want to keep living on this universe, it’s better to go back on repairable stuff, or otherwise just nuke each other to speed up our end

Daniele Carminati -

Thanks this was really helpful now i can fix the one I have.

Kymani Bailey - Reply

Bad Bad for Consumer and Service Facilities……

Frank Cortez - Reply

What about the stand? You didn’t try to disassemble the stand from the hinge part. There are silver covers giving access to the screws holding the stand to the plate. I’m wondering if the stand can be easily removed via the hinge maybe then it’s posible to have some kind and after market vesa adapter.

Nesto - Reply

What are the specs (voltage and amperage) on the power adapter going to the iMac?

Simon Desrochers Laplante - Reply

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