Breathing new life into an aging iMac

“I just came into possession of a 21.5-inch Late 2013 iMac. It’s got 8 GB of RAM and an Intel Core i7 CPU,” Stephen Hackett writes for 512 Pixels. “It’s just new enough to support Auto Unlock with the Apple Watch, AirDrop and other modern features of macOS. It even meets macOS Mojave’s revised system requirements.”

“The problem is that it came with a pitifully slow 5400 RPM hard drive,” Hackett writes, “so it was time for a little surgery.”

“I picked up a 1 TB Samsung 860 EVO SSD. I’ve put these in several machines, and really like them,” Hackett writes. “And it was $80 off on Amazon Prime when I ordered.”

Hackett writes, “Now, getting into this generation of iMacs is a little tricky…”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Good luck, Stpehen. That iMac should be a nice performer when you’re done! Moving from a 5400 RPM drive to any SSD will be a very noticebale improvement!

Interns: You know what to do.

Prost, everyone!


  1. I did the same thing – replaced the dreadfully slow hard drive with an SSD in an iMac and used the iFixit kit. Make sure you have lots of time and do things very thoughtfully. For some operations you only have one shot. But the result is a way faster machine.

    1. Did this for a family member two years ago…worked out quite well.

      But then because of OSX updates, he was afraid that he *might* get left behind, so he sold that upgraded iMac and bought a new one …with a 5400rpm drive again. – and then asked me why his new iMac was running slower than his old iMac!

      Unfortunately, the new iMac is much harder to get open to do the same upgrade … but he’ll probably ask me to do this next year. Thanks for nothing Apple.

      1. Jeez dude. Just clone the internal drive with free super duper cloning software. Make sure external USB drive is formatted as AFPS first

        Then plug drive into Mac. Clone it. Boot from external drive. In system prefs tell Mac to permanently boot from system drive

        Problem solved, Mac fast again. Please do this for your friend ASAP and stop complaining that Apple made it too hard for you when they didn’t.

  2. I’m glad it worked for the author.

    My upgrade was even simpler. I hooked up an external SSD drive to a Thunderbolt 2 port on the back of my 2011 iMac. Boot up time and start time for PhotoShop and Firefox are about 1/4 the old time with the spinning HD. Actually less, because even after booting up, the old HD still was working for at least 5more minutes doing something, and slowing down the computer’s response time. In reality I usually started the thing and walked about for about 10 minutes – that was how long it took to really be usable. Now, it’s usable in about a minute.

  3. I’m using a 2008 MacBook Pro daily with 8GB of RAM, a 500GB Samsung SSD, and High Sierra via “Dosdude1”. It runs absolutely great, including Windows and Linux via Parallels Desktop.

  4. Maybe all of you are missing the point here:

    These guys took older machines and upgraded them with user upgradable parts to make their machines last longer and be environmentally friendly so they wouldn’t have to purchase another computer…

    The Apple makes this virtually impossible now since they solder so much of the stuff in place to the mother board.

    This is why I laugh every time Apple tries to talk about how environmentally conscious they are when their product lines say the opposite.

  5. Just plug the SSD via USB 3 port, and boot from that. I’ve done it several times for people and it works fine – and fast.

    No need for surgery and you have an internal backup drive if you could be bothered using it


  6. That’s EXACTLY what was painfully obvious to me, too – Apple don’t let us do that any more! Environmentally friendly my arse, to borrow from Phil Shill.

  7. Any Mac with an i7, including the early 2011 MacBook Pro I’m writing this on (and using Photoshop/Photo Mechanic & Final Cut Pro X) will benefit greatly. I thought that was old news by now.

  8. What’s the best that can be done with the last Cheese Grater Mac Pro?
    Anyone out there got one with multiple upgrades?

    I know drives and video card can be done easily.
    What about the CPU?

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