Although they’re super-simple from the outside, they’re the opposite of user-friendly when it comes to DIY repairs; i Fixit’s guides correctly describe many upgrades to unibody (metal-topped) Mac minis as being “difficult.” This is the mid-2010 Mac mini guide, for which you’ll need a 2mm hex screwdriver, T6 and T8 Torx screwdrivers, a spudger, and a Mac mini Logic Board Removal Tool, plus hours of disassembly and reassembly time.Earlier Mac minis are easier to open, requiring a putty knife, Phillips #00 Screwdriver, and spudger.But you also lose CD/DVD reading and writing abilities — things fewer people care about these days — and you’ll need to set up your Mac to properly take advantage of the SSD. There are millions of Macs with optical drives, including i Macs sold prior to late 2012, Mac minis sold prior to mid 2011, and 15″ Mac Book Pros sold prior to late 2013.
As each guide notes, the process of replacing an i Mac’s Super Drive with an SSD should take a confident and reasonably computer-savvy person less than an hour; if you don’t feel comfortable opening your own Mac, ask a friend.
I’ve gone through the i Mac upgrading process before, and while there are a bunch of steps to follow, none is particularly difficult.
i Fixit’s guides walk you through all of the steps except one: placing the tiny SSD you buy within an adapter/caddy as large as the optical drive you’re replacing.
You’ll need two large suction cups to remove the i Mac’s glass front, a T10 Torx screwdriver, and a spudger.
If you’re opening a 27″ i Mac, you’ll also need a thin and small but solid piece of metal to lift up the screen — i Fixit recommends a common paperclip.
Later mid-20 unibody Mac minis lack optical drives, but can instead get upgraded with a dual-hard drive kit that includes all the tools and parts you’ll need.