How to Fix an iMac Hard Drive


Despite the apparent lack of screws on the iMac, replacing the hard drive is easier than it seems. Each iMac version will require slightly different steps, so users should check their EMC number, printed on the machine’s base, before proceeding. This example focuses replacing a 250GB hard drive with a 2TB HD on an Aluminum Intel iMac with the EMC 2210.

On an important side note before starting, 2009 machines or later models will require the same brand of hard drive, since the connecting cable relies on the hard drive’s internal temperature sensors. Replacing a hard drive for iMac machines requires the following materials:

  • Plastic spudger
  • Heavy-duty suction cups
  • Phillips #1 screwdriver
  • A T6 Torx screwdriver
  • A T8 Torx screwdriver
  • Replacement hard drive
  • Screen cleaner
  • Soft cloth

Step-By-Step Breakdown

A few short steps will get a new hard drive up and running.

Remove the RAM Access Door

Put the iMac on its back, making sure that nothing on the table will scratch its surface. Loosen the screw at the bottom of the screen and take out the door.

Remove the Glass

Press the heavy-duty suction cups on opposite corners of the glass. Lock them in and pull. It shouldn’t take too much effort, since the glass is held in place by magnets.

Remove the Front Bezel

Using the T8 screwdrivers, remove the revealed screws. Then pull the bezel off from the top to the bottom. Disconnect the microphone cable at the top of the screen.

Remove the LCD

First, remove all screws and cables that keep the LCD locked in place. Next, take the LCD off on the left side, lifting it toward the right-hand side. Hold the LCD up while disconnecting the inverter cables from the logic board.

Hard Drive Removal

Grab the connector of the thermal connector, not the cable itself, and manually disconnect it. Push the hard drive briefly and then pull, using the foot of the machine for leverage. Disconnect the SATA data cable manually. For the power cable, though, the spudger will work best. Wedge it between the hard drive and the connector. Twist it and gently pull the connector out.

Replacement and Reassembly

Users should remove the EMI phone tape, the bracket and the thermal sensor from the hard drive and transfer them to the new hard drive. Now the machine can be reassembled.

TIPS: Clean LCD and glass before reassembly. Also, reconnect the microphone cable before putting the bezel back on.