When you buy a new iMac from AppleIncreasing RAM can be expensive. For example, upgrading a new iMac from 8GB of RAM to 32GB will cost you an additional $ 600 through the Apple. However, there is a way to add RAM to an iMac that is much friendlier to your wallet: do it yourself. Third party provider sites like Other World Computing (also known as OWC) and Crucial They sell the same amount of RAM for around $ 150. That means a savings of $ 450. All you need to do is install it, a task that Apple has made it relatively simple.
And even if you’re not about to buy a new iMac, boosting the RAM on your current computer is a quick and affordable way to give you more multitasking performance to handle all those open tabs in your Chrome browser.
See below a video (in English) with the step-by-step of the entire process, from finding out what model of iMac you have to how to install the RAM modules.
How to access RAM: 27-inch iMac vs. 21.5 inch
IMacs come in two sizes: 27 inches and 21.5 inches. Since late 2012, 27-inch models have a door located behind the mount that allows easy access to add more RAM. If you have a pre-2011 27 or 21.5-inch iMac model, there is an access panel on the bottom grille of the computer.
Unfortunately, if you have a 21.5-inch model made after 2011 or an iMac Pro, there is no way to easily access RAM. To add more RAM, you will have to unmount much of the computer.
Identify your iMac model and its maximum RAM capacity
Before you can install the new RAM, you must determine what type of iMac you have. Find the year your computer launched or the model number. To do this:
1. Go to menu Apple (the apple icon located in the upper left corner of your desktop).
2. Select About This Mac (About this Mac).
3. Find the year your iMac launched. For example, in my case it is: iMac (27 inches, end of 2013).
4. Also, look at the memory line to see how much RAM your computer already has.
5. Depending on which version of MacOS your computer is running, there may be a tab called Memory (Memory). If so, click on it to see how much RAM you have and how many slots are in use.
To find the model number, go back to the main tab About This Mac (About this Mac) and click the button System Report (System report). A screen will appear with a summary of the hardware. Go to the line that has the model identifier. In this case, mine is iMac14,2.
To find out what is the maximum amount of RAM that your iMac can handle, see this Support page Apple. Most iMacs made in the past eight years can accept up to 32GB of RAM, and some can go up to 128GB. A new iMac Pro can reach 512GB.
Where to buy RAM for your iMac and how much does it cost
Now that you know the relevant information about your computer, it’s time to find a place to buy RAM. There are many online sellers, but I recommend OWC and Crucial. RAM prices for both sites are competitive but can fluctuate. We should also mention that Crucial provided us the RAM that we use to make this article.
Both sites can help you find the correct type of RAM for your iMac. Probably the main decision you have to make is how much RAM do you want to add. For example, my 2013 iMac came with 8GB of RAM (two 4GB modules). The computer has four slots, and two of them are already full. You could buy two 8GB modules (16GB total) and add them to the two empty slots. That would increase my iMac’s RAM from 8GB to a total of 24GB.
In my case, I opted to remove those two 4GB RAM modules that came with my iMac and insert four new 8GB RAM modules to reach a total of 32GB, the maximum my computer allows. But your decision really depends on how old your computer is and how you use it. An advantage of adding RAM to an older iMac is that it is relatively inexpensive. Adding 16GB of RAM will cost you around $ 80.
I recommend you install the RAM modules in pairs. For example, add two 8GB modules instead of a single 16GB module. It is not a question of cost savings, but of performance. Intel has a dual-channel architecture, which is optimized for memory work in pairs. That said, it is not entirely clear how much it would affect the performance of your computer if you only install a single RAM module.
Installing RAM on a 27-inch iMac
Once you have your RAM modules and are ready to install them, turn off your iMac and wait for the computer to cool down.
1. Disconnect the power cable and any other cables that are connected to your iMac.
2. Spread a clean, soft towel on a flat surface to avoid scratching the screen.
3. Holding the sides of the computer, slowly place the computer face down on the towel.
4. Find the small gray button on the power port and press it to open the memory compartment door. In my case, I used a spudger (a tool for electronic devices) to facilitate this task.
5. Pressing the button lifts the edge of the door. Hold it down until you can completely remove the compartment door. Once this is done, set it aside. The inside of the door has a diagram showing how the pop-up mechanism that releases the RAM modules works, as well as how to insert them.
6. Locate the two levers located on the left and right sides and push them out to release the memory compartment.
7. Pull the levers on the memory compartment toward you to lift the compartment for easier access.
8. If you are going to remove existing RAM modules, pull them up and remove them. Note the location of the notch on the bottom of the RAM module so that you can orient the new module correctly. Depending on the iMac model you have, the notch may have to face either left or right. In my case, I am installing RAM on a 27-inch iMac from the end of 2013, so the notch should be on the right side.
9. Install the new RAM module by orienting the notch in the correct way, placing it in the slot and pressing firmly until you feel and hear a click indicating that it is a good fit in the slot. If you are just installing two new RAM modules, place them separately. For example, use the first and third slot or the second and fourth slot.
10. Once you’ve installed all the RAM, put the door back in, put the iMac upright and plug it in.
11. Turn on your Mac and go to menu Apple.
12. Select About This Mac (About this Mac).
13. Look at the memory line or memory tab to make sure your new RAM appears.
Troubleshooting beeps and RAM not showing up
Depending on how old your iMac is, you may hear a beep after restarting it. Pre-2017 iMacs may emit a warning sound when you restart them the first time after installing RAM. If you hear the beep repeat every 5 seconds, it means there is no RAM installed. In that case, double-check the RAM you installed and make sure it’s properly inserted into its slot.
If you hear three successive beeps, repeated with a 5-second pause between them, it means the RAM you installed failed a data integrity check. If that happens, verify that the memory you installed is really compatible with your iMac model and try to reinstall it. If your Mac keeps beeping, it’s time to make an appointment at the Genius Bar.
For more information on Mac computers, see our review of MacOS Catalina and all the games you can play at Apple Arcadian.
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