Which Mac Mini models allow RAM and hard drive upgrades?

Which Mac Mini models allow RAM and hard drive upgrades?

The Mac mini is somewhat of an outsider in the Apple community. It doesn’t grab the attention of an iPhone or MacBook. In fact, many people who aren’t die-hard Apple fans may not initially recognize it when they see a Mini sitting on a desk. But for those who know and regularly use the Mini, it is often a great passion for them.

Mini-users love them for the versatility they offer in terms of easy addition of components. Minis are also popular for the speed and ease with which many versions can be easily upgraded in their RAM and hard drive capacity. Let’s take a look at which Mac Mini models are easy to upgrade, along with the general process for how to do it in the 2010-2012 lineup.

Is an upgrade really worth it?

Initially, it’s helpful to give a quick rundown of why the Mini is so fantastic from a DIY upgrade standpoint. The reality is that all computers will get old. What makes the Mini special is its ability to effectively utilize upgrades introduced far beyond its base model. For example, it’s common to see 2010 Minis that come with 4GB of RAM or 2012 Minis with 8GB of RAM – yet a 2010 can upgrade to 8GB and the 2012 to 16GB.

As a result, in recent years, many people have found that they can buy a used Mac Mini from as far back as 2010 and that it will hold up with a Mac from 2020 on in many tasks. Admittedly, there is no indication that such steps would provide someone with a computer on the cutting edge of current technology, but Apple fans would say that the eight-year PC record is as easy to upgrade and also durable is much more limited. .

The upgrade list for every Mac Mini of the past decade

YearRAMHARD DISK
2010YesYes
2011YesYes
2012YesYes
2014 NoYes
2018No*No
2020NoNo
* The 2018 Mini’s RAM is upgradeable, but it’s a much more complex process than the 2010-2012 Minis. Apple recommends that you allow an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider to perform the upgrade.

How to Upgrade RAM for Mac Mini

Many Apple users will be happy to get an upgrade at an Apple Store or do it through a tech pro. After all, it’s a reality that any upgrade comes with risk, and no one wants to see damage on their Mac. But for those who are confident they can do it on their own, the following steps can be seen as a general guide to the process when it comes to RAM upgrades in 2010-2012 minis.

1. Make sure your Mini is powered off and disconnected from power, then remove its bottom cover by twisting it with two thumbs.

Macmini Upgrade Cover

2. Once the cover is unlocked, press down on the cover to open it.

3. Once the cover is removed, you should see the RAM module (s), which you can unlock by gently prying open the retaining clips on the edges of the modules.

Macmini Ramin UpgradeMacmini Ramin Upgrade

4. Once the clips are open, drag the modules.

5. Install the new RAM by reversing the process performed in steps 3 and 4 and sliding the new RAM into the same position as the previous RAM.

Macmini Raminhand UpgradeMacmini Raminhand Upgrade

6. Repeat steps 2 and 1 in reverse order by replacing the cover on the Mini, then screwing it back on with your two thumbs.

7. Turn on the Mini and verify that your new RAM is recognized by logging in, clicking on the Apple menu and then “About this Mac”. This window will display information about your RAM.

Upgrade Hard Drive on Mac Mini

Due to the variations that can exist with hard drives and Mac Minis, it is ideal to do extensive research and make specific requests before attempting a hard drive upgrade. It is also possible to acquire an external hard drive that you can use which will complement the existing one if you do not want to change the hard drive. Just be sure to check the compatibility between your Mini and an external hard drive before purchasing.

Check out this article for more details on changing your hard drive.

Mini Yes, but huge potential

The compact design and portability of the Mac Mini makes it a great option for anyone looking for an older computer that can be easily upgraded, or who is starting their own DIY journey.

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Ed kennedy

Ed Kennedy is a journalist and ghost writer from Melbourne, Australia. A technologist passionate about everything digital, Ed also has a background in public policy and law. When not at his desk, Ed spends time with his family, running and reading.

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