21.5" iMac 2014 - replacing HDD with SSD

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Matt T, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. Matt T macrumors regular

    Matt T

    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.

  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    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.
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    You can replace the existing hard drive with a standard SSD, since the form factor is identical. I recommend visiting ifixit.com 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
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    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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