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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Mar 12, 2007
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    Swapping iMac hard drive?
    Looking at getting an iMac and swapping the hard drive myself. I remember reading somewhere that the new machines you couldn't swap out the drive because of a fan related to the drive. Was I dreaming or is there issues with swapping the drive? What models can you swap?

  2. #2

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    Sep 30, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnowmanSimon View Post
    Looking at getting an iMac and swapping the hard drive myself. I remember reading somewhere that the new machines you couldn't swap out the drive because of a fan related to the drive. Was I dreaming or is there issues with swapping the drive? What models can you swap?
    The most recent models appear to have custom firmware in the drives that assists in heat management. There's been a lot of chest beating and wailing over this, but fact of the matter is that these iMacs are VERY TIGHT quarters and managing all that heat while minimizing fan noise isn't a simple task. There have been reports of people bypassing a couple wires and claiming that solves the "problem" of the fan running full-time, but more likely they have simply fooled the computer into thinking there is an SSD in place and are really making their situation worse. I haven't read anything new on this since the original uproar, nor can find anything, so at the moment, replacing the stock drive with an aftermarket one is still a risky proposition.

    Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
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    Lifeisabeach - Mac-Forums Member of the Month June 2009, Feb 2012, and March 2013.

  3. #3

    chscag's Avatar
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    Jan 23, 2008
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    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    I agree with member "lifeisabeach". I have read pro and con about doing the upgrade yourself and come to the conclusion that it's not worth the risk and possibly voiding the warranty.

    Perhaps later on there will be some definitive method published that will work. But for now, if you need a larger or faster HDD in a new iMac, it's best to order it direct from Apple. Unfortunately, the entry level iMac ($1199 model) comes standard with no offered upgrades. You must buy one of the more expensive machines.

  4. #4

    EvenStranger's Avatar
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    Dec 09, 2010
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    Currently 13" Late 2010 MBA, 4GB/128GB; Early 2011 13" MBP, dual core i7 2.7ghz, 4gb ram, 500gb hd
    My personal feeling is that Apple is not inclined to "fix" the hard drive because they want to encourage people to purchase Thunderbolt drives when available. That will provide fast, easy to configure storage, leaving the internal drive to only be replaced by technicians in the event of a failure. But, since there aren't any Thunderbolt peripherals available yet, folks are stuck for the moment.

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Mar 12, 2007
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    Can a drive with this 'firmware' be picked up from apple?

  6. #6

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
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    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    As far as I know, the special firmware drives can only be purchased from Apple along with them doing the installation. But who can say that in the future these drives won't be available from third party suppliers?

    All the new mid 2011 iMacs are still under warranty so the cost would be on Apple if the drive should fail. I just purchased a new iMac for our business and will eventually get Apple care (after our 90 days free telephone support expires). That will protect us for three years in the event of a hard drive failure.

  7. #7


    Member Since
    Dec 13, 2009
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    Specs:
    iMAc 1.8GHz PowerPC G5, 2GB, 10.5.8
    I would not swap a drive on a brand new machine. Just bite the bullet and pay the upgrade fee (or buy the next model up or whatever).

    In another year or two, I'm sure solutions will appear. I've changed my hard drive twice...but not when the machine was new.

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