Model A1418 / Late 2012 / 2.7 & 2.9 GHz Core i5 or 3.1 GHz Core i7 Processor

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Replacing hard drive on my iMac

Good morning. I just purchased a new iMac 27 inch desktop computer and want to give my niece my 21.5 inch late model 2013

2.9 GHz desktop. I am computer friendly and have changed HDDs on all my iMacs before selling them or giving them away. I want to put in a new 2.5 inch Hitachi HD that the computer came with originally and i am not worried about backing up my data, it will be a new installation. I want to install Yosemite OS X onto the new drive. I heard i can do this by booting up and going to Command +R. Then i get a little lost since i am used to booting up from disks.

Thank you

John hagenberger

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John just so we are clear here the system you are working on is the older 21.5" iMac correct?

Can you give us the last four digits of your systems serial number so we can make sure we have the correct model here.

Yes!Dan. iMac 21.5 inch late model 2013. 2.9GHz,intel icore i5. Last digits of my serial number are F8J3.

Thank you for your response


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John, hold off doing anything or buying anything here.

Let's discuss this so you understand what your in for as this will likely push your skills.


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I am a retired electrician and have still have all my small tools for doing electronic repairs. No! I have not taking anything apart yet


OK John here's the deal:

These newer "thin series" systems are a bear to open. Even I have a hard time ;-{ The IFIXIT repairability rating for this system is 3 of of 10.

Review this IFIXIT guide: iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2805 Hard Drive Replacement. You'll need some special tools here so as not to chip or break the display. After which you'll need to apply a fresh adhesive strips (review the tools listing).

First make sure your system is not setup with a Fusion drive as you will need to take some extra steps to swap out the drive.

As to the HD I would recommend going with a different drive. If you've going this far you might as well improve the performance of your system. How about putting in a SSHD like this drive here: Seagate Laptop SSHD. If you are just trying to match the drive so its the same to sell the system then going with the Toshiba drive makes sense. The price difference between them is not much.

OK, How to backup and prep the new drive.

You'll need to get an external HD to create a Time Machine backup to then restore onto your new drive. Just make sure you have a drive thats big enough.

Before you open the system you'll want to get a SATA to USB adapter so you can connect the new drive to your system externally. If you plan to repurpose the old drive then you might want to get a 2.5" drive case and if you really want to go all out get a Thunderbolt version!

Now once you have the drive connected you can run the Yosemite installer to prep up the drive. Just be careful you don't mess up your internal drive if you want it still to be the older OS.

Once the OS is installed onto the new drive use the startup manager to switch which drive will be booting up your system. Once your sure the new drives is working you can then open the system and swap the drives.

The last step here is to restore from your Time Machine backup and you're done!


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Thank you Dan, i will follow your instructions carefully. I do have a Seagate 1TB external HD that i will use. I also have the ifixit info on my i Pad.

Thank you again



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