putting new ssd in mac mini

Home made / Tuf z390 plus gaming wifi
April 1, 2020 at 06:05:40
Specs: Windows 10, i9-9900kf/2xddr4 Corsair 2666
Hi! If i understand correctly, from what i've read, i do a full backup with time machine, remove the old hard drive, install the new one, then boot from the backup and reinstall everything.

I have an old mac mini late 2012 with no cd drive. I did this a couple years ago on an older macbook but it had a cd crive and all the os disc, pretty straighforward.


Don't you hate it when your pc....ummm, nevermind.

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April 1, 2020 at 07:37:47
Yeah - that's basically it. If you are really paranoid, use SuperDuper! to clone the hard disk to an external one and then clone it back to the SSD. That also is a bit quicker than Time Machine.

As long as you're happy dismantling the Mac, it's not that difficult. The iFixit instructions for this are pretty good. Be very careful with the ribbon cables and you shouldn't need any special tools, apart from the Torx screwdrivers.

I did this with a 2011 Mac Mini server (one of the hard disks had actually failed) and it was very straightforward; and a huge performance boost.

Disclaimer - I have spent a lifetime dismantling PCs, so I'm used to the procedures.

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April 1, 2020 at 08:12:59
Cloning the old drive to the new would certainly be my approach; and also ensure I do have full/current Time Machine backup too - just in-case.

Once the new SSD as the clone image on it.. connect it to the Mac Mini via USB and check it boots OK?

I use Carbon Cloner; and très happy with it.

This is an excellent video and although it refers to Mac Mini 2011 version it's more or less the same for the 2012 version.


These are specific to the late 2012 model:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnr... (covers 2011 and late 2012)

This is Crucial's video:


This is the OWC site for everything to do with Mac systems.changes etc...


and this via the category or menu link thereon


Read any and all comments below the assorted youtube videos carefully. Often useful tips there. Likewise the OWC notes. They make some of the best (maybe the best?) video tutorials for Mac systems hardware etc?

Ensure you use the correct size and type of screwdrivers... And if you remove any screws from the case... scotchtape/sellotape them onto the case close the where they come from; that way you know which one goes where - as Apple sometime mix types etc. ad they al look to same at first. Likewise do the job with Mac in a tea tray or similar - with a soft cloth to protect the case from scratches; and then you're less likely to lose anything small?

Also you can install a second drive in a Mac Mini (the unibody model that has no CD/DVD drive). There are kits are around on Amazon; and they usually come with everything you need apart from the second drive. I think OWC make such a second drive kit and it comes with the tools required as well.

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April 1, 2020 at 09:04:24
Thanks guys...only need the screwdrivers to gut it open, I’ll get that soon, brb when it’s done. Thanks again

Don't you hate it when your pc....ummm, nevermind.

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April 1, 2020 at 11:26:28
If you hunt on Amazon... there is kit of tools specifically for the Mac Mini; and OWC include one when you buy their bracket kit to install a second drive.

Hunt for the second drive kit for a Ma Mini and likely you'll find it...?

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April 10, 2020 at 14:15:27
Well...i can't remove the old hard drive...every tutorial i saw had top hard drive mine is at the bottom and something in there is hanging tight on it, maybe the sata connectors are parts of the logic board, like back in the days when hard drives were soldered to the motherboard.

I tried sliding out the logic board to give me some space without any luck, the left side is not sliding out as far as the right side.

Long story short i put everything back, not too bad, considering i'm writing this post on the very mac mini i tried to upgrade, so no harm no foul.

Maybe some other time....Cya!

Don't you hate it when your pc....ummm, nevermind.

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April 10, 2020 at 15:21:05
This the OWC youtube to install a second drive- thus having two drives installed. It clearly shows how to remove the logic board - using the correct tool.


It may help determine how to remove the logic board more successfully?

And in the right hand column there are several more youtubes - any one of which "might" show how to remove the drive if in the lower bay; if only by studying how that lower bay drive "may" have been installed initially?

This fixit version (to which ijack may have referred) may be useful too?


Also... read the information here:


Note their reference to some Mac Minis being shipped with the drive in the upper and some in the lower bay...

They have specific addendum videos too - one for pre OS 10.11 and one for later.

Whilst you may not be intending to add a second drive (retaining the current one) the information in the link, immediately above, "may" help resolve the current difficulties?

Similarly if you're still "stuck"as it were then it seems OWC are very happy to advise via a phone call?

I wouldn't give up on the project just yet; have a browse of the above videos and the last link; and maybe a phone call to OWC too?

Are you "certain" your drive is in the upper bay?

The actual physical location of the drive is found/confirmed via disk utility. Right click on the icon for the drive and read the info.

You may have to scroll down the list of info a little to find "location".

Mine is in the lower bay; but appears to be in the top when viewed during disassembly - because of course the unit is viewed whilst upside down...

message edited by trvlr

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April 10, 2020 at 19:23:24
Wow, watching the video, Apple couldn't have made it more difficult to access the drive. Kinda discouraging people from even open up this complicated box.
it takes 15 mins to add/change a drive in an Intel NUC and a whole lot less screws and cable plugs!

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April 10, 2020 at 22:39:09
It's not something to be undertaken if you are not very happy dismantling hardware. The PSU and logic board have to be completely removed, disconnecting the ribbon cables as shown in the videos. Once the PSU is out (,you have to rotate it through 90 degrees to do so, the logic board should come out easily.

It's not easy, but it's a darn site easier than trying to get into a PPC mini.

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April 11, 2020 at 00:46:41
Nothing is more difficult to get into, access the contents, than a typical flat sardine tin which requires a specific key. These days they usually have a pull ring.

With the key system if you could find the key to start with was just step one. Fitting it and then being strong and able enuff to open the can was sumat else.

Similarly the pull ring system often requires superhuman strength and dexterity.

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April 11, 2020 at 02:06:46
Nothing that you couldn't fix with a hammer and cold chisel.

The same is not recommended for a Mac Mini as it might invalidate your warranty.

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April 11, 2020 at 14:06:11
ijack...i thought about the hammer and chisel...lol,,

Thanks guys for all your help...

Guess who's writing this post on his brand old ssd 2.5 Corsair GT 120 gig drive.....drum roll...Me

Found the right video...Thanks to trvlr...open the mini once again and Voilà....

I won't say piece of cake but almost...once you open up this little baby one time, it gets easier.

I'll get into details later...diner time....Thanks again...everyone

Don't you hate it when your pc....ummm, nevermind.

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April 11, 2020 at 23:41:48
Glad you managed it.

Once you've done it once it is much easier in future - if only because you know you can do it.

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