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iMac: How to remove or install memory

Learn how to remove or install memory in your iMac computer.

Choose your model 

To identify your iMac model, use the information in How to identify iMac models.

17-inch iMac (17-inch, Late 2006 CD)
iMac (17-inch, Late 2006)
iMac (17-inch, Mid 2006)
iMac (17-inch, Early 2006)
20-inch iMac (20-inch, Early 2009)
iMac (20-inch, Early 2008)
iMac (20-inch, Mid 2007)
iMac (20-inch, Late 2006)
iMac (20-inch, Early 2006)
21.5-inch

iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2013)*
iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2012)*
iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2011)
iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2010)
iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2009)

24-inch iMac (24-inch, Early 2009)
iMac (24-inch, Early 2008)
iMac (24-inch Mid 2007)
27-inch

iMac (27-inch, Mid 2013)
iMac (27-inch, Mid 2012)
iMac (27-inch, Mid 2011)
iMac (27-inch, Mid 2010)
iMac (27-inch, Late 2009)

*Note: Memory replacement on the iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2012) and iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2013) is not user-removable and must be done by an Apple Retail Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.


Applicable models

iMac (27-inch, Mid 2012)
iMac (27-inch, Mid 2013)

Memory specifications

These iMac models have these memory specifications:

Number of memory slots 4
Base memory 8 GB
Maximum memory 32 GB 
Note: Memory replacement on the iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2012) and iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2013) is not user-removable and must be done by an Apple Retail Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.

 Use Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Modules (SO-DIMM) that meet all of these criteria:

PC3-12800
Unbuffered
Nonparity
204-pin
1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM

 

Removing or installing memory

Warning: The internal components of your iMac computer can be warm. If you have been using your iMac computer, wait ten minutes after shutting down the computer to let the internal components cool before continuing.

Installation

  1. Turn off your computer by choosing Shut Down from the Apple () menu.
  2. Disconnect the power cord and all other cables from your computer.
  3. Place a soft and clean towel or cloth on the desk or other flat surface to prevent scratching the display.
  4. Hold the sides of the computer and slowly lay the computer face-down on the towel or cloth.
  5. Open the memory compartment door by pressing the small grey button located just above the AC power port.
  6. The memory compartment door will open as the button is pushed in. Remove the compartment door and set it aside.

  7. Note: There is a diagram on the underside of the compartment door showing the memory cage levers and the orientation of the DIMM.
  8. Locate two levers on the right and left sides of the memory cage. Push the two memory cage levers outward to release the memory cage.
  9. Once the memory cage is released:, pull the memory cage levers toward you, allowing you to access each individual DIMM slot.
  10. Remove a DIMM by pulling the module straight up and out. 
  11. Replace or install a DIMM by setting it down into the slot and pressing firmly until you feel the DIMM click into the slot.
    Note: The DIMM slot shown below is for the the iMac (27-inch, Mid 2013) which requires you insert the DIMM with the notch on the bottom oriented towards the right.
  12.  

  13. Once you have all of your DIMMs installed, push the memory cage levers back into the housing until they subtly click back into place.
  14. Replace the memory compartment door. There is no need to depress the compartment door release button when replacing the compartment door.
  15. Place the computer in its upright position. Reconnect the power cord and all other cables to the computer, then start up the computer.

Additional Information

See Mac computers: About startup tones if you hear tones after installing or replacing memory.

Applicable models

iMac (27-inch, Mid 2011)
iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2011)
iMac (27-inch, Mid 2010)
iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2010)
iMac (27-inch, Late 2009)
iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2009)

Memory specifications

These iMac models have these memory specifications:

Number of memory slots 4
Base memory 4 GB (but is configured to order)
Maximum memory 16 GB
Note: For the iMac (Late 2009) models, you can use 2 GB or 4 GB RAM SO-DIMMs of 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM in each slot. For the iMac (Mid 2010) and iMac (Mid 2011) models, use 2 GB or 4 GB RAM SO-DIMMs of 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM in each slot.

 Use Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Modules (SO-DIMM) that meet all of these criteria:

PC3-10600 PC3-10600 PC3-8500
Unbuffered Unbuffered Unbuffered
Nonparity Nonparity Nonparity
204-pin 204-pin 204-pin
1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM

Additional notes i5 and i7 Quad Core iMac computers come with both top memory slots populated. These computers will not start up if only a single DIMM is installed in any bottom slot; these computers should operate normally with a single DIMM installed in any top slot. Core Duo iMac computers should operate normally with a single DIMM installed in any slot, top or bottom. ("Top" and "bottom" slots refer to the orientation of the slots in the pictures below. "Top" refers to the slots closest to the display; "bottom" refers to the slots closest to the stand).

Removing or installing memory

Warning: The internal components of your iMac computer can be warm. If you have been using your iMac computer, wait ten minutes after shutting down the computer to let the internal components cool before continuing.

To install memory into the bottom slot, follow these instructions:

  1. Turn off your computer by choosing the Apple () menu, then Shut Down.
  2. Disconnect all cables and the power cord from your computer.
  3. Place a soft, clean towel or cloth on the desk or other flat surface to prevent scratching the LCD display.
  4. Hold the sides of the computer and slowly lay the computer face down.
  5. Using a Philips screwdriver, remove the RAM access door in the bottom of your computer.

    Remove the RAM access door
  6. Remove the access door and set it aside.
  7. Untuck the tab in the memory compartment. If you are replacing a memory module, gently pull the tab to eject any installed memory module.

    Eject an installed memory module
  8. Insert your new or replacement SO-DIMM into the empty slot, noting the orientation of the keyway of the SO-DIMM as shown below.
  9. After you insert it, press the DIMM up into the slot. There should be a slight click when you seat the memory correctly.

    Seat the memory
  10. Tuck the tabs above the memory DIMMs, and reinstall the memory access door.
    Reinstall the memory access door
  11. Stand the computer in its upright position, reconnect the power cord and all other cables to the computer, then start up the computer.

Back to top


Applicable models

iMac (24-inch, Early 2009)
iMac (20-inch, Early 2009)
iMac (24-inch, Early 2008)
iMac (20-inch, Early 2008)
iMac (24-inch Mid 2007)
iMac (20-inch, Mid 2007)

Memory specifications

These iMac computers have two side-by-side Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory (SDRAM) slots in the bottom of the computer.

The maximum amount of random-access memory (RAM) you can install in the computer is:

iMac (Mid 2007) DDR2 4GB (2x2GB)
iMac (Early 2008) DDR2 4GB (2x2GB)
iMac (Early 2009) DDR3 8GB (2x4GB)


You can use a 1GB or 2 GB RAM module in each slot for iMac (Mid 2007) and iMac (Early 2008). Use 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB modules in each slot for the iMac (Early 2009).

Use Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Modules (SO-DIMM) that meet all of these criteria:

PC2-5300 PC2-6400 PC3-8500
Unbuffered Unbuffered Unbuffered
Nonparity Nonparity Nonparity
200-pin 200-pin 204-pin
667MHz DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM


DIMMs with any of the following features are not supported:

  • Registers or buffers
  • PLLs
  • Error-correcting code (ECC)
  • Parity
  • Extended data out (EDO) RAM

Removing or installing memory

Warning: The internal components of your iMac computer can be warm. If you have been using your iMac computer, wait ten minutes after shutting down the computer to let the internal components cool before continuing.

To install memory into the bottom slot, follow these instructions:

  1. Turn off your computer by choosing the Apple () menu, then Shut Down.
  2. Disconnect all cables and the power cord from your computer.
  3. Place a soft, clean towel or cloth on the desk or surface to prevent scratching the LCD display.
  4. Hold the sides of the computer and slowly lay the computer face-down.
  5. Using a Philips screwdriver, remove the RAM access door in the bottom of the computer.
    Remove the RAM access door
  6. Remove the access door and set it aside.
  7. Untuck the tab in the memory compartment. If you are replacing a memory module, untuck the tab and pull it to eject any installed memory module.
    Eject any installed memory module
  8. Insert your new or replacement RAM SO-DIMM into the empty slot, noting the orientation of the keyway of the SO-DIMM as shown above.
  9. After you insert it, press the DIMM up into the slot. There should be a slight click when you seat the memory correctly.
  10. Tuck the tabs above the memory DIMMs, and reinstall the memory access door.

    Reinstall the memory access door
  11. Stand the computer in its upright position, reconnect the power cord and all other cables to the computer, then start the computer.

Back to top


Applicable models

iMac (20-inch Late 2006)
iMac (17-inch, Late 2006 CD)
iMac (17-inch, Late 2006)
iMac (17-inch, Mid 2006)
iMac (20-inch, Early 2006)
iMac (17-inch, Early 2006)

Memory specifications

These iMac models have these memory specifications:

Number of memory slots 2
Base memory 1 GB Two 512 MB DIMMs; one in each of the memory slots iMac (Late 2006)
512 MB One DDR2 SDRAM installed into the top slot iMac (17-inch Late 2006 CD)
512 MB Two 256 MB DIMMs; one in each of the memory slots iMac (Mid 2006)
512 MB One DDR2 SDRAM installed into the top slot iMac (Early 2006)
Maximum memory 4GB 2 GB SO-DIMM in each of the two slots* iMac (Late 2006)
2 GB 1 GB SO-DIMM in each of the two slots iMac (17-inch Late 2006 CD)
iMac (Early 2006)
Memory card specifications Compatible:
- Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Module (DDR SO-DIMM) format
- PC2-5300
- Nonparity
- 200-pin
- 667 MHz
- DDR3 SDRAM
Not compatible:
- Registers or buffers
- PLLs
- ECC
- Parity
- EDO RAM
Additional notes For best performance, fill both memory slots, installing an equal memory module in each slot.

* The computer will only use a maximum of 3 GB of RAM. For more information, refer to iMac (Late 2006): Memory Specifications.

 

Removing or installing memory

Warning: The internal components of your iMac computer can be warm. If you have been using your iMac computer, wait ten minutes after shutting down the computer to let the internal components cool before continuing.

Installing memory in the bottom slot

Important: When installing SDRAM DIMMs into the computer, press the DIMM up into the slot with your thumbs; do not use the DIMM ejector clips. Trying to push the DIMM into the slot using the ejector clips may damage the SDRAM DIMM.

To install memory into the bottom RAM slot, follow these instructions:

  1. Turn off your computer by choosing the Apple () menu, then Shut Down.
  2. Disconnect all cables and the power cord from your iMac.
  3. Place a soft, clean towel or cloth on the desk or surface to prevent scratching the LCD display. Hold the sides of the computer and gently lay the computer face down.
  4. Using a Phillips screwdriver, remove the RAM access door on the bottom of the iMac, as shown below.
    Remove the RAM access door
  5. Remove the access door and set it aside.
  6. Move the DIMM ejector clips to their fully open position.

    Open the ejector clips
  7. Insert your RAM SO-DIMM into the bottom slot, keeping in mind the orientation of the keyed SO-DIMM as shown.

    Insert the memory card
  8. After you insert it, press the DIMM up into the slot with your thumbs. Do not use the DIMM ejector clips to push in the DIMM. Trying to push the DIMM into the slot using the ejector clips may damage the SDRAM DIMM. There should be a slight click when you seat the memory fully.
  9. Close the ejector clips.

    Close the ejector clips
  10. Reinstall the memory access door.
    Reinstall the memory access door
  11. Lift the iMac back to its normal upright position and reconnect the power cord and all other cables. Your computer is ready to start up now.

Replacing memory in the top slot

Important: When installing SDRAM DIMMs into the computer, press the DIMM up into the slot with your thumbs; do not use the DIMM ejector clips. Trying to push the DIMM into the slot using the ejector clips may damage the SDRAM DIMM.

To replace memory into the top RAM slot:

  1. Turn off your computer by choosing the Apple () menu, then Shut Down.
  2. Disconnect all cables and the power cord from your iMac.
  3. Place a soft, clean towel or cloth on the desk or surface to prevent scratching the LCD display. Hold the sides of the computer and gently lay the computer face down.
  4. Using a Phillips screwdriver, remove the RAM access door on the bottom of the iMac, as shown below.
    Remove the RAM access door
  5. Remove the access door and set it aside.
  6. Pull the two levers on each side of the memory compartment to eject the memory module that's already installed.

    Eject the memory module
  7. Remove the memory module from your iMac as shown below.
    Fully remove the memory module
  8. Insert your RAM SO-DIMM into the top slot, noting the orientation of the keyed SO-DIMM as shown below.

    Insert memory
  9. After you insert it, press the DIMM up into the slot with your thumbs. Do not use the DIMM ejector clips to push in the DIMM. Trying to push the DIMM into the slot using the ejector clips may damage the SDRAM DIMM. There should be a slight click when you seat the memory fully.
  10. Cose the ejector clips as shown below.

    Close the ejector clips
  11. Reinstall the memory access door.
    Reinstall the memory access door
  12. Lift the iMac back to its normal upright position and reconnect the power cord and all other cables. Your computer is ready to start up now.

Back to top

Additional Information

Checking that your computer recognizes the new memory

After installing additional memory, you should confirm that the computer recognizes the new memory. To check the computer’s memory:

  1. Start up your computer.
  2. When you see the Mac OS X desktop, choose Apple () from the upper-left menu bar, then choose About This Mac.

The total memory includes the amount of memory that originally came with the computer plus the new memory you added, or if all the memory has been replaced, the new total for that memory. For detailed information about the amount of memory installed in your computer, open System Profiler by choosing Apple (), then About This Mac; click More Info and then Memory from the Hardware section that appears in System Profiler.

If your computer doesn’t recognize the memory or doesn’t start up correctly, confirm that the memory you installed is compatible with your iMac and that it is installed correctly by reseating the memory.

Last Modified: Feb 10, 2014
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