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Matt T

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 1, 2005
Recently I purchased a second-hand 21.5" mid-2014 iMac for my parents and I'm hoping to replace its existing hard drive with an SSD. From what I understand the 2014 iMacs used Apple's blade SSDs but a) replacing a blade SSD is more complicated than replacing a hard drive, and b) unless the iMac was originally built to include an SSD (the one I have purchased was not) the required logic board connections are not present. So it seems my only option would be to replace the existing 2.5" SATA hard drive with a 2.5" SATA SSD. I've read the ifixit hard drive replacement guide and it seems straightforward enough, but I'm uncertain as to whether it's safe/advisable to replace the existing 2.5" HDD with a 2.5" SSD - some people have said it should be fine while others have said its not recommended (something to do with a thermal sensor).

Is there anybody here who has completed this type of upgrade before who can confirm whether it's possible and maybe give some general advice? I'm experienced with hardware upgrades/repairs for PCs but this would be my first time performing such work on an iMac.



Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
You should probably just get a USB 3.0 SSD and use that as a boot drive. Much easier and I bet that for your parents, the performance will be practically the same.


Moderator emeritus
May 3, 2009
You can replace the existing hard drive with a standard SSD, since the form factor is identical. I recommend visiting to review the teardown/guides on opening up the iMac. Its not a fete for the faint of heart. The computer is sealed and is not meant for consumers to open up.

Most people rely on an external drive, and that's what I also recommend


macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
Agree with Hellhammer above.

The fastest, cheapest, EASIEST way to get SSD speeds is to buy an external USB3 SSD drive and plug it in. Something like this would do fine:

Or, buy a "bare" SATA SSD and an enclosure, and "build it yourself".

Of course, you'll have to set the external drive to "be the booter" and show your parents that it exists as a "drive unto itself" -outside- the iMac, but will boot and run as if it were inside.

Put the OS, apps, and their accounts on the external booter.
You'll also have to explain to them that LARGE files (such as movies, or large libraries of music or pics) should be stored on the internal HDD.
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