How to Upgrade RAM on an Old iMac

If you have an older iMac that needs a bit of an upgrade, here’s an easy way to add some performance boost to your old iMac.

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to upgrade any computer is to install more RAM (aka memory) or replace existing RAM with more gigabytes and faster speeds. It usually only takes a few minutes and is as simple as removing it and reinstalling the new modules with a screw or two going in at first.

Replacing RAM on an older iMac is really easy and will give you the most noticeable speed boost alongside installing a solid state storage drive. If your old iMac is running a newer operating system like OS X Yosemite, a RAM increase is highly recommended as it requires 2GB of RAM to run properly. Since my old iMac only had 2GB, OS X Yosemite would run under the bare minimum requirements, so I’m going to replace that with 4GB of RAM.

Without further ado, let’s get started with swapping RAM on an old iMac for the effortless speed boost you’ve always wanted.

before you start

Before you buy RAM and go to replace the existing RAM in your iMac, it’s important to get the right type of RAM. Modules come not only in different sizes, but also in different speeds.

To find out what type of RAM your particular iMac needs, click the Apple icon in the upper-left corner of the screen and select . Next, click on the tab and it will be shown what type of RAM you want to buy.

As you can see, I will need DDR2 SDRAM modules at 800 MHz. So write this down when you’re online and shopping for RAM. I like to buy a lot of things from Amazon but new egg it is also a great place for computer components.

Replacing iMac RAM

Once you have your RAM ready for use, now is the time to replace the old modules with new ones.

The first thing you’ll want to do is turn off your iMac and unplug it. Then place it face down on a towel on a flat surface to avoid scratching the screen.

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At the bottom (side facing you) of the iMac will be a plate with a small screw in the middle. Take a large Phillips screwdriver and unscrew it. The screw will not come out all the way, so loosen the screw as much as possible and then just lift the plate.


When it comes out, you will see two slots that the RAM modules go into. Sometimes there may be only one module with the other slot empty, or both slots can be taken.


Next, you’ll see a strip of curled plastic in each slot, carefully pry them up with your fingers and they’ll turn into tabs, then pull the RAM modules out of their slots to pull them out. They won’t come out all the way, so you’ll have to hold them and gently pull them out.


Next, take your new RAM modules and slide them into each slot. They will only go one way, so be sure to line up the pins. If you’re not sure, grab a flashlight and look inside the slots. There will be a separator between the pins towards the left side of the slot. Align the RAM modules properly with this spacer.


Slide the RAM modules into place. You may need to push them extra to get them all the way into the slots – they shouldn’t come out.

From there, screw the aluminum plate in place, put your iMac back upright, plug it in and go! Go back to About This Mac and check if your new RAM upgrade looks correct.