How to Take Apart an iMac
By Christopher Capelle
Updated September 28, 2017
Items you will need
Phillips screwdriver set (including mini Phillips)
Torx screwdriver set (including mini torx)
Towel or soft cloth
Small suction cup
Apple’s iMac line of computers is a marvel in both design and functionality. Consisting mainly of a flat panel display, the guts of the computer are actually housed in the area behind the screen. In most instances there is no reason to open up an iMac, but may be necessary if you plan on installing a larger capacity hard drive, replacing a malfunctioning Super Drive or for blowing out dust that has accumulated inside. Fortunately for end users, Apple has made it reasonably simple to open the iMac, although it certainly doesn’t sanction the process.
The White Plastic iMac G5
Shut down the iMac and unplug all cables. Spread a towel or soft cloth on a table and place the iMac on it, screen side down.
Loosen the three large screws on the underside of the display. Note that these screws do not come all the way out, so don’t force them out.
Pry the two halves of the iMac apart. Now you can easily remove and replace any of components. Note that some of the components require a mini Phillips screwdriver to remove, while others need a mini torx screwdriver.
Reassemble your iMac in the reverse order. Attach the back to the front of the computer, confirming that the two halves line up perfectly. You should connect the two halves at the top of the display, and use that as a hinge to close the two halves. Eyeball all of the sides to confirm the surfaces are flush and properly seated before tightening the screws on the underside of the display.
The Aluminum Intel iMac
Remove the small panel located in the middle part of the underside of the display. Attach the suction cup to the glass screen cover and gently pry it off. There is nothing to unscrew here, as the glass cover is actually secured by a number of small magnets. Check to make sure the suction cup is free from dirt before attaching it to the glass.
Gently pry apart the two halves of the computer. Notice that there is a built-in camera at the top of the screen, right in the center. Carefully work the two halves apart and gently disengage the wire that connects to the camera.
Remove the torx screws that attach the monitor to the frame. Gently lift the display off of the rest of the computer in order to access the components easily. Like the white iMac, both mini Phillips screws and mini torx screws are used to secure its components.
Gently replace the screen, aligning the screw holes on the display with those on the frame. Reinsert the torx screws and then attach the two halves. Start at the bottom and attach the camera cable at the top before properly seating the two halves. Then replace the glass screen cover and reattach the removable panel on the underside. Check all the sides to make sure all surfaces are flush and that everything is seated properly.
Static can damage computer components, so try to work in a static free area.
Some of the inner workings of the iMac are razor sharp, so avoid touching anything.
Christopher Capelle is a freelance copywriter with over two decades of experience. Subjects of his writing include the business and technology fields, consumer products and home repair/improvement. He graduated from The University of Connecticut and earned a master's degree in journalism from Iona College.