Apple does not allow you to do this with your computer

iMac computers are great computers, in many ways and for many reasons. However, they are not perfect and have their Achilles heel. And it is that, to the vast majority of iMac models, Apple has given them the possibility of expanding the RAM memory. But you can’t do it yourself (unless you’re Bob the Builder). So let’s see how the situation is.

The new iMacs with Apple Silicon are not expandable

The new 24-inch iMacs already integrate the Apple Silicon chip, and although this has many advantages, it is not without its drawbacks. If you are someone who likes to “tinker”, we are sorry. The secret of Apple Silicon is the integration of all its components on the same chip. Therefore, what you buy is what you are going to keep. However, the same is not true of iMacs with Intel processors. And it is that, the panorama here becomes more complex.

If you have an iMac with Intel, it better be 27 inches

If your iMac has an Intel processor and is also 27 inches, you can modify your RAM memory. Yes, all 27-inch iMac models with Intel chips have a RAM expansion tray. This is located on the back, next to the ventilation slot. And if you buy compatible RAM memory units, you can open the tray, extract the RAM that already existed and replace it with the new memory. However, on the 21-inch iMac, that’s where the problems start. The 21-inch iMac, with Intel processor have a very diverse panorama. Some have the RAM soldered to the motherboard, so you can’t do anything to expand it. These models of iMac are two:

  • iMac 21.5-inch Late 2015
  • 21.5-inch iMac Retina 4K Late 2015.

Others, on the other hand, do not have the chips soldered and can be changed. And if you want to make this process “seemingly simple” it is necessary to disassemble the computer. Yes, literally, you have to disassemble many pieces to get to RAM. As Apple itself explains, “the memory is not removable by the user. If you want to upgrade the memory, an Apple Authorized Service Provider can help you.” The models that carry this drawback are the following:

  • iMac 21.5-inch Late 2012
  • iMac 21.5-inch Late 2013
  • iMac 21.5-inch Mid 2014
  • iMac 21.5-inch, 2017
  • 2017 iMac Retina 4K, 21.5-inch
  • 2019 iMac Retina 4K, 21.5-inch
expand ram imac 2017

Only older 21-inch iMac models are easily expandable

The procedure to expand the RAM memory in the 27-inch iMac is as simple as opening a hatch. However, before this mechanism, when iMacs were thicker, the RAM memory was located in a lid, in the lower frame of the screen. And this is where the 21-inch iMacs come in, where we can change the RAM, at the bottom of the screen. These models are:

  • iMac 21.5-inch Mid 2011
  • iMac 21.5-inch Mid 2010
  • iMac 21.5-inch, Late 2009

If we want to go back in time, like the year 2008, the 21-inch iMac did not exist. But they were a 20-inch model. In the same way, that for those same years, the 27-inch iMac did not exist, and the size line was 20 and 17 inches. (Or 20 and 24, after and before having the line of 21 and 27 inches).

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