Apple Mac Mini Change Hard Drive

Here is my opinion and steps I would perform.

Different Formats of Hard Drive for Mac: Mac Hard drives have wide support for formats but there are two major formats that are preferably used by the Mac users. It also depends on the macOS version you are using. The key point to consider is that the drives formatted with the newer versions won’t be recognized by the older devices. Upgrade beyond the factory 2.5-inch hard drive and install a hard drive up to 3.0TB, or for the ultimate performance upgrade, swap the main hard drive out wi.


  1. Back up your system first.
  2. Check the iFixit.com site for a guide of how to replace the drive. Review Steps 3 and 4 BEFORE you replace your drive.
  3. If you have a USB thumb drive with the ML 10.8.3 installer, skip to step 6.
  4. If you don't have a USB thumb drive with the ML 10.8.3 installer, download the OS X Recovery Disk Assistantand use a 1-4GB thumb drive to create a Recovery HD on the thumb drive you can boot from. Skip to step 6.
  5. If you have neither of the above, after replacing the drive, restart into Internet Recovery by pressing/holding the Command+Option+R keys. Since you have a mid-2011, Internet Recovery will ONLY allow you to download and install Lion since that's what probably came preinstalled on your system.
  6. After you replace your drive and you are booted into the OS X Utilities Menu from one of Steps 3-5, select Disk Utility and format your new drive as Mac OS Extended-Journaled with the GUID partition table.
  7. Go back to the OS X Utilities Menu and select Reinstall Mac OS X.
  8. After the download and install of OS X you can run through the setup creating your user account (same as you had on you old drive).
  9. If you were able to install OS X ML, skip to step 11.
  10. If you installed Lion, you will have to login to the App Store and download/install your purchase of ML.
  11. Run Software Updates to bring your OS X up to date.
  12. Now you can restore any data files and apps that will fit onto the new drive from Time Machine. Enter Time Machine and navigate to your last backup to view the /Applications folders and your user folders (e.g Documents, Downloads, Music, etc.).
  13. For your email, you can open Finder then press the Option key to see your user Library folder in the list. Select it to open it then enter Time Machine again and navigate to your last backup so that your user Library folder is opened in Time Machine. Copy your Mail folder to your Desktop so you can copy it back to your current user Library.


I think that's it.

May 8, 2013 7:47 AM

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

Mini users love them for the versatility they offer in terms of easily adding components. Minis are also popular for the speed and ease in which many of the versions can be easily upgraded in their RAM and hard drive capacity. Let’s see which Mac Mini models are easy to upgrade, as well as the general process for how to do it in the 2010-2012 range.

Apple mac mini change hard drive in ps4

Is an Upgrade Really Worthwhile?

At the outset, it’s useful to provide a quick overview surrounding why the Mini is so fantastic from a DIY-upgrade perspective. The reality is all computers will age. What makes the Mini special is its capacity to effectively utilize upgrades introduced into it well beyond its base model. For example, it’s common to see Minis from 2010 that shipped with 4GB of RAM or Minis from 2012 with 8GB of RAM – yet, a 2010 can upgrade to 8GB, and the 2012 to 16GB.

As a result, many people in recent years have found they could buy a used Mac Mini from as far back as 2010 and that it will hold its own with a Mac from 2020 in numerous tasks. True, there’s no suggestion such steps would deliver someone a computer that is on the cutting edge of today’s technology, but Apple fans would say the record of eight-year-old PCs being as easy to upgrade and as long-lasting is far more limited.

The Upgrade List for Every Mac Mini of the Past Decade

How to Upgrade RAM For Mac Mini

Many Apple users will be happy getting an upgrade at an Apple store or doing so via a tech professional. After all, it’s a reality that any upgrade comes with risks, and nobody wants to see damage to their Mac. But for those who are confident they can do it themselves, the following steps can be seen as a general guide to the process when it comes to RAM upgrades in the 2010-2012 minis.

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

Apple Mac Mini Hard Drive Upgrade

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

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

4. Once the clips are open, slide out the modules.

How To Change Hard Drive

5. Install the new RAM by reversing the process done in Step 3 & 4 and sliding in the new RAM in the same position that the previous RAM was.

6. Repeat Step 2 and 1 in reverse by returning the cover to the Mini, then screwing it back in with your two thumbs.

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

Apple Mac Mini Change Hard Drive Windows 10

Upgrade Hard Drive in Mac Mini

Can You Upgrade Mac Mini Hard Drive

Given the variations that can exist with hard drives and Mac Minis, it’s ideal to research extensively and make some specific inquiries before attempting a hard drive upgrade. It’s also possible to acquire an external hard drive you can use that will complement the existing one if you don’t wish to switch out the hard drive. Just be sure to check compatibility between your Mini and a external hard drive before you buy.

Mini Yes, but Massive Potential

Apple Mac Mini Change Hard Drive From Mbr To Gpt

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 starting their own journey down the DIY path.