First aid on my iMac

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 12:32 PM UTC

What happened?

Some weeks ago I encountered the 1TB HDD in my iMac died a slow death. First I couldn't access the data anymore and then the disk was mounted and unounted once in a while. This resulted in a very annoying click sound every few minutes and it drove me crazy. Now, as I got the right tools for the job, I replaced the broken HDD with a spare 500GB SSD. This is how it worked out.

Tools used

There aren't a lot tools you need. I strongly recommend watching some videos on how to open the iMac's case. It very depends on the model you have if there a just two or more cables attached to the display. In my case there were four. I managed to disconnect only one cable (from which I don't even know what it is for) to access the HDD which was placed in the middle.

  • Torx 10x80 (8) - to unscrew all of the 8 screws for the display mount
  • Tweezers (angled) - to hold the screws in place and to avoid that they will be catched by the magnets for the front glass plate
  • Tweezers (straight) - to disconnect and re-connect flat cables
  • Inbus or any other angled metal tool to pull the display out of the case
  • Other screw drivers depending on the mount for the hard disk - usually small Phillips screwdrivers
  • 2 Suction cups - to pull the glass plate off the case (held by magnets)

Some pictures of the process

Unmounting the glass plate

I practices that a few days before I did the real job today.

Lifting the display

I recommend a spare screwdriver to keep the display in place

Detaching necessary flat cables

This is the tricky part - be careful!

Removing the old HDD

Placing the new SSD

As I wasn't able to re-use the mounts of the old HDD I just glued the SSD with thick double sided tape - should do the job.

Et voilà - here we go again

Software changes

I needed to install Macs Fan Control as the SSD doesn't provide a temp sensor like the old HDD did. Just install it and set the HDD fan sensor to manual RPM to keep the machine quiet.


Latest comments to this post

Lars Berntrop-Bos wrote on 01.11.2017, 16:13

It's more that I found in ifixit comments that messing with the fan/cooling system can be detrimental to system life.

For instance (click weitere kommentare anzeigen for all comments):


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Oliver Busse wrote on 01.11.2017, 11:31

Thanks for the hint, Lars!

40 bucks is a lot though so I'll keep using the MacFan Control - it's an SSD so it won't get that hot anyway.

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Lars Berntrop-Bos wrote on 01.11.2017, 10:52

If you want to restore the temerature sensor, OWC sells a sensor on a cable to replace the internal one that was in the original HDD.

This is a SATA cable with a sensor you can stick to the replacement drive so the iMac can sense it temeprature and regulate the fans. 

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