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How To Upgrade Your iMac with a SSD


Replacing your hard drive with a SSD will not only speed up your iMac, it will perform and feel like new.
It is not a hard install just detailed. If you are not comfortable doing the job, contact us and ask about our inhouse or onsite installation service.

Option 1: Restore from Time Machine
Option 2: Clone to a new SSD
Option 3: Use SSD as a 2nd drive
Option 4: Fresh OSX install

iMac logo
 

Using Time Machine

The easiest way to get a new SSD is to restore from Time Machine. All you need are tools, a bracket and the SSD!

Time machine step 1

Step 1

The new SSD needs to be screwed into an Adaptadrive bracket. Why do you need this bracket? The SSD is 2.5 inch, the old iMac drive is 3.5 so the holes to fasten it to the iMac will not line up, you need an Adaptadrive bracket. Remove old hard drive, and install SSD. We provide detailed printed instructions when you order an SSD (tell us your iMac model in customer notes at checkout). This will involve removing the glass screen.

time machine step 3

Step 3

You need to initalise the SSD, as it is shipped unformatted. There is an option after you click into Time Machine called Disk Utility. You need to choose format type (use Mac OS Extended journaled) and a name, you can use Macintosh SSD or get creative and give it a person's name like Sally. Click apply and this will format the SSD.

time machine step 2

Step 2

Plug Time Machine into the USB port. If you have a wifi time capsule make sure it is turned on. Restart your Mac holding down the Option key. This tells the Mac to find all disks attached that it can boot from. It will recognise the Time Machine and display the icon on screen.

Step 4

Step 4

After formatting the drive your Time Machine back ups should be onscreen. Choose the latest, and the Mac will ask if you want to restore back up? Yes. Time Machine will now start restoring onto the new SSD. It will take a while, approximately 100gb per hour.

What you need

Software and tools you need

A Time Machine restore is preferred as you can check your back ups are working, and this is the reason Apple created Time Machine.

• Detailed installation videos can be found on your specific iMac model page
iMac toolkit (includes long-stem Torx T8 and T10 screwdrivers)
Heavy-Duty Suction Cups to remove the screen on 2009 to 2011 model iMacs.
Adhesive strips and opener for 21.5in iMac (2012/2013)
Adhesive strips and opener for 27in iMac (2012/2013)
NewerTech AdaptaDrive Drive Bracket converts 2.5" drive to 3.5" size
• On some iMacs installing an SSD removes the smart temperature sensor and causes the fan to run constantly. There are DIY hacks to disable the sensor with a paperclip and plugs to override the sensor (expensive) however we recommend controlling the fan with software such as SSD Fan Control
Choose an SSD drive here
• Don't have a Time Machine backup? Read our guide on Time Machine backups (coming soon).

If you want another method of using a SSD, keep scrolling, next is How to Clone...

 
performance and security

Clone to a new SSD

Cloning allows you to make an exact copy of current hard drive to the new the SSD. The process is largely automatic and the cloning takes 2-5 hours depending on the size of your drive.

Cloning Step 1

Step 1

Connect the SSD to a spare USB port using the USB to SATA cable we provide.

Cloning step 3

Step 3

The new SSD needs to be screwed into an Adaptadrive bracket. Why do you need this bracket? The SSD is 2.5 inch, the old iMac drive is 3.5 so the holes to fasten it to the iMac will not line up, you need an Adaptadrive bracket.

Cloning Step 2

Step 2

Install SuperDuper! software (free software link is below), initialise your new SSD via the Disk Utility (instructions provided) and then clone your hard drive.

Cloning step 4

Step 4

When cloning is complete, power off your iMac and replace the hard drive with the newly cloned SSD. This will involve removing the glass screen. We ship detailed printed instructions with your SSD order, we also have how to videos found on your iMac model product page.

What you need

Software and tools you need

There are many reasons you may want to clone your drive to a new SSD. Even if you do have a Time Machine back up, cloning is a simple way of putting all your data on a new drive.
USB to SATA cable (needed to connect the new SSD to your iMac's USB)
iMac toolkit (includes long-stem Torx T8 and T10 screwdrivers)
Heavy-Duty Suction Cups to remove the screen on 2009 to 2011 model iMacs.
NewerTech AdaptaDrive Drive Bracket converts 2.5" drive to 3.5" size
Adhesive strips and opener for 21.5in iMac (2012/2013)
Adhesive strips and opener for 27in iMac (2012/2013)
• On some iMacs installing an SSD removes the smart temperature sensor and causes the fan to run constantly. There are DIY hacks to disable the sensor with a paperclip and plugs to override the sensor (expensive) however we recommend controlling the fan with software such as SSD Fan Control
SuperDuper! software by Shirt Pocket (free download).
Choose an SSD drive here


 

Use SSD as a 2nd drive (2009-2011 iMacs)

If your iMac has a DVD drive (2009 to 2011), a second drive can be installed, allowing the current hard drive to remain as extra storage. This is done by removing the optical/DVD drive and replace it with a Datadoubler.

2nd drive step 1

Step 1 (physical installations)

The SSD can only be installed in the optical bay slot as the 3.5 inch current drive is too big for the datadoubler. Fit the new SSD onto the Datadoubler. Remove optical drive (DVD) and replace with the Datadoubler. (full printed instructions are included with order).

2nd drive Step 4

Step 4

Install SuperDuper! software and clone your hard drive to new SSD.
Alternatively use your Time Machine to restore the latest backup.

2nd drive step 2

Step 2

Power on your iMac holding down the option key (this starts the boot manager and shows all drive you can boot from). Your old hard drive should appear onscreen as a device to boot from. Select and start up OSX.
When the Mac starts up, do not allow the system to use the new SSD as a Time Machine.

2nd drive step 5

Step 5

You now have two bootable drives, you need to make sure OSX uses the right one! In StartUp Disk (in system preferences) choose the new SSD as the drive the system uses to restart the Mac.
Use the new SSD for a while. If everything is ok, you can format the old hard drive to use as internal storage.

2nd drive step 3

Step 3 (format the new SSD)

Open Disk Utilities (in applications), select the new SSD. Format type is Mac OS Extended (journaled), give the new drive a name such as "Macintosh SSD". The drive is now ready to be used.

What you need

Software and tools you need

This upgrade looks hard, but it is not, just a few more details, and we always provide printed illustrated guides and free phone tech support if you need help.
iMac toolkit (includes long-stem Torx T8 and T10 screwdrivers)
Heavy-Duty Suction Cups to remove the screen on 2009 to 2011 model iMacs.
• Optical bay adapter bracket NewerTech Datadoubler
Choose an SSD drive here


Fresh install

This is an easy upgrade but takes a long time because you are reinstalling everything! We recommend this method if you think you Mac is compromised by malware or if you think it is time for a fresh start. You will be installing a new version of OSX.

Fresh step 1

Step 1

Insert your Mac OSX DVD into the optical drive. If there is no DVD, you will need an OSX USB or download from Apple (internet access required)

Fresh step 3

Step 3

Replace the hard drive (HDD) with the new SSD in the adaptabracket. This will involve removing the glass screen. We provide detailed printed instructions when you order an SSD (tell us your iMac model in customer notes at checkout).

Fresh step 2

Step 2

Power off your iMac. The new SSD needs to be screwed into an Adaptadrive bracket. Why do you need this bracket? The SSD is 2.5 inch, the old iMac drive is 3.5 so the holes to fasten it to the iMac will not line up, you need an Adaptadrive bracket.

Fresh Step 4

Step 4

If installing from DVD, power on your Mac and follow on screen proceedure. If you are installing from USB, insert USB and restart holding down the Option key. If you are installing OSX via an internet download, restart holding down the keys "Command" and "R"

What you need

Software and tools you need

There are a few ways to speed up this install. You can put your old drive in an external case and drag over files and applications you need.

iMac toolkit (includes long-stem Torx T8 and T10 screwdrivers)
Heavy-Duty Suction Cups to remove the screen on 2009 to 2011 model iMacs.
NewerTech AdaptaDrive Drive Bracket converts 2.5" drive to 3.5" size
Adhesive strips and opener for 21.5in iMac (2012/2013)
Adhesive strips and opener for 27in iMac (2012/2013)
• On some iMacs installing an SSD removes the smart temperature sensor and causes the fan to run constantly. There are DIY hacks to disable the sensor with a paperclip and plugs to override the sensor (expensive) however we recommend controlling the fan with software such as SSD Fan Control
• Your original installation software or OSX USB
Choose an SSD drive here



Third Drive Option


There is a way of installing an SSD as a third drive, keep your HD and DVD but it is limited to a few 27-inch models.
This is a very technical installation but lets you add a SSD without sacrificing your original HD or DVD drives.
If your 27-inch iMac came with a 1TB, 2TB or 3TB drive, you may want to keep it for additional storage such as an internal Time Machine drive or a storage archive for your photos or music.

This upgrade method involves removing the logic board. Please watch the installation video (click on the kits below to see video) to determine if you are comfortable doing the upgrade. Or let us to the work! We offer an inhouse or onsite service if you would like us to do the upgrade for you. Contact us for more information

Choose your SSD size


When choosing an SSD size, it is best to match the size to your current hard drive capacity or to upgrade to a larger size. If your current drive is 320GB consider a 500GB. This will ensure you can clone your whole drive to the new SSD and there is room for extra data in the future.



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Accessories you need for a DIY installation


These are the kits or parts you need for a successful installation of your SSD. Add to your cart what you need with the SSD you have chosen. When checking out, don't forget to tell us in the customer notes which iMac you have, and we will include full printed installation instructions.



Screwdrivers + USB to SATA cable + NewerTech Suction kit + NewerTech AdaptaDrive bracket
10 in stock
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$116.00
Screwdrivers + NewerTech Suction kit + NewerTech Datadoubler
99 in stock
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$119.00
Screwdrivers + NewerTech Suction kit + NewerTech AdaptaDrive bracket
Ships in 2-3 days
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$99.00


Choose items individually


If you only need one or two items, you can buy them here.


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