iMac Pro’s RAM can be upgraded, but only by Apple or authorized service provider

“Standard 27-inch iMacs have a small hatch in the back that allows the RAM in the machine to be upgraded after purchase, but the iMac Pro does not have that feature,” Juli Clover reports for MacRumors.

“There is no rear hatch because the RAM in the iMac Pro is not user upgradeable following purchase, but there’s good news — an Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider is able to open up the iMac Pro and swap out the RAM,” Clover reports. “iMore‘s Rene Ritchie spoke to Apple and learned that any service center is able to upgrade the RAM on an iMac Pro following purchase.”

“At Apple Stores, iMac Pro users will likely only be able to upgrade to Apple-provided RAM, but third-party service providers will be able to offer non-Apple RAM and might even allow users to bring in their own RAM,” Clover reports. “Policy will undoubtedly vary by location, however.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If you want a professional Mac desktop that is user upgradeable, you’ll unfortunately have to wait for the mythical new Mac Pro or settle for the current ancient trashcan Mac Pro dead end. We commiserate.

The iMac Pro is obviously for professional users who do not need a modular, user-upgradeable machine.


  1. “There is no rear hatch because the RAM in the iMac Pro is not user upgradeable following purchase”. Tautology?

    Had they wanted upgradeability they would have created a rear hatch. It’s possible that design precluded it. It seems more likely to me they would rather not have it for aesthetic, support, and profit reasons.

    1. After the warranty expires you’re free to open the machine and replace anything you want.

      I’m guessing the thermal requirements of the machine prevented Apple from designing it in such a way that there could be a removable door that if not put back in place properly could screw up the flow of the air through the system.

      1. Just out of interest, how many users buy a brand new Mac and install more RAM long after purchase?

        The benefits of having lots of RAM on OS X have been common knowledge for ages and I’ve either bought Macs fully maxed, or else bought them with minimal RAM and installed the maximum amount of third party RAM immediately.

        I suspect that most users work in a similar manner and while there will obviously be people who install more RAM later, I wonder if it’s a sufficiently significant number to make it worth Apple accommodating their requirements?

        Many of use will have encountered issues in the past where what appeared to be reputable third party RAM froze up our Macs ( remember kernel panics? ). When a Mac is screamingly fast, the individual components need to be very tightly integrated and allowing the use of anything other than the optimum RAM modules might degrade the reliability.

        It’s a pro iMac with a very serious price tag and you need to be sure that the right parts are inside, even though they cost more money. You don’t see Ferrari drivers fitting crucial parts from the discount parts store, they only Apple has been using its money in exactly this way for many years and will continue to do so because it works very effectively, giving Apple an advantage while simultaneously locking out those who might want to copy those ideas.

        Readers may remember when MacBooks first were milled from ingots of solid aluminium. The process required the use of incredibly specialised CNC milling machines and no manufacturer anywhere in the world had anywhere near enough of them to supply Apple with sufficient numbers of finished components.

        Apple’s solution was to finance the purchase of lots of those machines and for them to be exclusively used for Apple’s production requirements. When other companies thought it would be cool if they too produced devices milled from solid aluminium, they discovered that there was no manufacturing capacity available anywhere as Apple had contracts with them all.

        It’s been viewed in different ways. Sometimes as pre-purchase of components and sometimes as investing in new technology in return for cutting edge components, but it boils down to the same thing. Apple pays a lot of money up front and in return benefits exclusivly from that technology. You don’t see Ferrari owners substituting cheap parts from discount suppliers, they exclusively use genuine Ferrari components and have them fitted by authorised mechanics.

        1. The fifth ( and what should have been the final ) paragraph got messed up with a load of text from a previous reply to a different thread. It should have been –

          You don’t see Ferrari drivers fitting crucial parts from the discount parts store, they exclusively use genuine Ferrari components and have them fitted by authorised mechanics.

          The MDN app is seriously playing up on my iPad. The keyboard keeps vanishing after a moment. Using the web version of the site on my iPad isn’t much better as the log-in procedure is hopelessly unreliable.

        2. I’ve always upgraded with components from Other World Computing and gotten quality parts at reasonable prices, and I know I’m not the only one. My new iMac, although sealed, can have the internal drive replaced quite easily, and OWC has videos on these things.

          1. I always max RAM or swap drives with top quality parts, but I’m by nature a tinkerer and I would imagine that many people on here are too. But this iMac pro is a tool with a specification and a price for serious professionals and I very much doubt that many of them are tinkerers or need to save a bit of cash by doing upgrades themselves. They buy a tool, they use it to earn their living and when a better tool becomes available, they buy the new one and trade in the older one.

            Professionals need rock solid computers which work without any issues. Buying a stock Mac and keeping it that way is a great strategy to minimise hassles. Having upgrades performed solely by authorised agents, using approved parts does a lot to maintain reliably. If users are leasing, changing the spec is unlikely to be be permitted and if they’re planning on selling their iMac pro in a couple of years, it would be vastly more saleable if it’s a standard spec ( ever tried selling a significantly modified Mac? ).

            1. I have an early 2011 13″ MacBook Pro that I’ve maxed the RAM, replaced both the hard drive and DVD drive with SSDs, and replaced the battery. I’ll keep it till it dies, if it ever does, lol.

        3. Apple RAM is priced like artisan gold bars shat out by Virginal Fairies on Mars.
          That is one good reason to add your own memory. Apple memory is no better in performance or reliability, but it sure is expensive.

          1. Moreover, some of the RAM Apple installs, is exactly the same as what you would buy at mac centric RAM upgrade outfits such as newegg, OWC, etc. Of course, Apple knows the exact specs of the RAM modules that will fit a particular machine, but so these third parties.

      2. Hmm, you have a point. Apple probably doesn’t have the technological talent and expertise to design a machine that allows the user to upgrade or repair the device.

    2. There is always a way to allow the user to have access for internal expansion without special tools.
      The bottom line is that Apple cares more about making profits from overpriced RAM than they do making user friendly products.

    1. Yesterday you all were bitching that it could not be upgraded whatsoever. Today we find out you can upgrade the RAM at a certified dealer. You are never happy, you just bitch every day non stop. DONT BY THE FUCKER THEN.

      1. Unlike you, fanboy, many Apple users live more than an hours drive from a certified Apple dealer. It is an insult to require users to embark on a expedition to add RAM. Not to mention the insult having to pay someone to perform the task that should be a simple task.

      2. This situation is analogous to requiring your auto dealer to change your wiper blades, replace your air and oil filters, and exchange your battery – all at a pretty penny and major inconveniences.

        1. It doesn’t sound as though you’ve ever bought a quality car from new. There’s a reason why you don’t see brand new Ferraris, Maseratis, or even BMWs and Mercedes getting serviced at Joe’s garage. Apple’s iMac pro is a high quality computer, not to be confused with a box of random generic parts.

  2. I see the iMac pro being a staple in university computer labs. These machines get deployed and then sold off after several years without any upgrading. However, other outfits who don’t maintain fleets of computers will want upgradability that iMac pro just can’t provide.

    At least the RAM isn’t soldered on. I await the teardown with interest.

    1. Note: I taught at a college where MacBook Pros were “locked down” by those very thin security cables, to the bottom of the desks. I thought and told those in charge that the Macs will “get up and walk away”.
      They did nothing.
      Next week I walk into the lab and the batteries are missing! Oops!
      The following week, at least one Mac laptop was stolen: the cable and lock was still attached – to the table — and to a broken piece of the case of the Mac itself, where the cable looped through.
      I told them. They did not listen.
      Too bad.

      1. Absurd, Apple doesn’t like upgradeable computers because they don’t get the profits from the upgrades.

        Many of my 3D artist colleagues have Mac Pros from 2010 and they’ve upgraded them with SSDs and nVidia GPUs and the biggest effing irony is that they score better on Barefeats tests than this lame iMac Pro.

        Professionals don’t mind spending big bucks but they want to update their machines over time to maximise return. No one of my colleagues is going to drop £6500-£7500 every couple of years. Not ever!

        In a world of Threadrippers, nVidia 1080TIs and Volta just around the corner the sad fact is this iMac Pro is virtually out of date on the day of its release and that’s even before you factor in the ridiculous pricing. Most of my colleagues have expressed an interest in a PC workstation now, Apple is losing the mindshare amongst 3D Artists.

        The sad fact is a teenager can build a better pro workstation in their bedroom than Apple for significantly less money. Before anyone says, yeah but it runs Windows, I’d say MacOS is simply not the pull it used to be.

  3. My understanding was that the new fan arrangement caused the change, the grill being where the hatch used to be. Would have thought a new location could have been found that was accessible too but can only presume they did not wish to re mod the enclosure which is a little cheapskate if only on that basis. That said most buyers who can afford these will max out the ram initially and most users actually don’t upgrade the ram in their Macs during its lifetime, I have but only to save money from the more costly factory installed options which again is unlikely to put off most buyers in this case. And my Apple dealer would do that job quickly and quite cheaply from my experience should the need arise because they failed to do that initial maxing out. A tad inconvenient yes but not half as much as the professional whingers like to endlessly moan about as if their life depended upon it. Bit like an Old Peoples Home at times.

    1. You have a point. Apple designed this machine to be inaccessible to the majority of users. Apple cannot design a machine that is both functional and user friendly.

  4. Any of you look at the press photo of the internals? A little RAM access door wouldn’t work on the iMac Pro. The RAM is in a completely different location inside the chassis. And yes, this has to do with the completely new thermal management system.

    1. Shaddup-a-you-face. Don’t nobody got no time for making sense. As much sense as it does make though, like, physically inside the case, it still sucks that one of the few remaining user-serviceable parts of the iMac was taken away.

  5. Well, that is good news for me.
    My iMac Pro was ordered with 64GB of RAM. I just couldn’t stomach spending $1600 for an additional 64GB of RAM.

    Now, when prices on RAM drop AND I decide I actually need more than 64GB (may never happen), I can give OWC a call.

    Most likely, though, this machine will last me 5 years just fine with 64GB.

    (FWIW, I still have a Mac II fx, an Apple IIgs, a PowerMac G5, a PowerBook (G4), and a 17″ MacBook Pro laying around. Hard to get rid of such great machine.)

  6. Come on folks…. if you are a Pro or a power user u know what your needs are and will be in the next couple years… .. order the appropriate configuration.. Or better yet go a step above… ( it will also give u a better resale value)

    In couple years when there is enough reason to upgrade….. sell and buy a more powerful imac pro or the modular MacPro.

    In the meanwhile if u realize u have truly misjudged your needs when ordering… and u feel desperate… take your iMacPro to a service center. Not such big deal. ….Imo.

    I realy dont see why there is such commotion..( is it saving a couple hundred bucks to put cheaper ram on the device that is 5 to 12k $ ? )

    These are fantastic beasts… where is the excitement for Apple having added them to their lineup ?

  7. The biggest Issue is the price of the upgrades. Adding 32GB adds $800 to the price but compatible RAM from say is from $416 to $490. This is criminal Apple does not design the RAM and there is no Value add to purchasing it from them. Yet they hold us hostage. Apple used to charge big time for RAM when they had open boxes, and a lot of us went elsewhere so they eventually lowered their prices. Then when they started making it nearly impossible to install your own RAM BAM price gouging came back.

  8. Why would anybody in their right mind do this? Taking the machine in and having Apple install RAM after the fact? That will cost a whole lot more than just buying it initially. Then again, there are so many stupid idiots that would probably end up doing this while Apple laughs all the way to the bank.

  9. Real Simple folks. You could keep a high end Mac for years on end and keep upgrading it. The throwaways have you on the treadmill to upgrade just like with the iPhone and iPad.

    It is called planned obsolescence. GM used it until imports ran them over.

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