What year used iMac?

If you were going out to buy a used iMac 27in, and wanted to be able to get inside it without needing use heat guns etc. and don’t care about the lack of a dvd drive, but do want usb2/3 and Thunderbolt… Which year would you look for?


Thunderbolt 2 with USB3 from 2012 to 2015 I believe. Not sure on the heat gun thing.

I expect anything in 2012 and perhaps 2013 will be end of f***ing lifed by Apple.

Very risky I would say. Generally nobody sells a good working 27" iMac unless you hit on a design office that changes all Macs every few years as policy or a leasing company is selling them.

The seller I use is exactly that! They refurb and sell “corporate” Macs. Bought about ten machines off them to date, had an issue with one which they repaired.

I looked at the 2015 ones, still quite pricey and from what I can tell a nightmare to get inside of.

It actually looks like the last iMac without a bonded in screen is 2011! Pulling a bonded screen doesn’t seem that difficult, but it’s just a PITA.

Maybe time to look at a Mac Mini?

The non bonded screen covers come off with any simple suction cup. Just be careful to use 2 cups in each top corner, pull together with a sharp pull and only lift out by about 1" or you risk breaking off the location pins on the sides and bottom. Stop the top of the cover from re-attaching with one of your Lady Boy magazines, and then use the suction cups to pull up the 2 bottom corners.

Aye, had loads of older unbonded screens off before so we’ll versed in it, not yet attempted a bonded one though.

‘Aparently’ its quite easy though there are some caveats:

  • Get a kit that includes new sticky tape strips to reseal after
  • Be VERY careful of the monitor cable … its fragile

Guide: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+27-Inch+EMC+2639+Hard+Drive+Replacement/19643
Adhesive only kit: https://eustore.ifixit.com/en/Parts/iMac-Parts/iMac-Intel-27-2012-2017-Adhesive-Strips.html
Full Kit inc choice of drive, cables etc: https://eustore.ifixit.com/en/Parts/iMac-Parts/iMac-Intel-27-Late-2012-Mid-2017-SSD-Upgrade-Bundle.html

Full kit without drive: https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIYIMACHDD12/

Pizza cutter

And yes, 2012 model officially obsolete (except in Canada and Turkey).

I’m not overly bothered about obsolescence. At present all but one machine is stuck at HS, but given the only “advantage” to upgrading to Mojave is to change the colour scheme, I can live with that.

I spent quite a bit of time looking into this though yesterday, and generally speaking I’m pissed off. If I go newer than my machines are now, even just a year, I’m seriously hindering my ability to repair/upgrade the internals, without having to resort to tools to break a glue seal and kits to put it back together.

Years and years ago (maybe 10) I went the Hackintosh route, but it ended in failure, I’m wondering though if this sector is more mature now?

EDIT: Saying that though… My main machine is a 2010 iMac 27in. with a 3.2 i3 processor and a ATI graphics card with 512mb. I’ve done the ram to max (only 16gb), pulled the non-working dvd and put an ssd in it’s place.

I like this machine as it’s easy peasy to get in to. So, if I wanted to upgrade the processor and the graphics card, what are my options?

@paul.russam If this is a goer, know anyone locally who can do this sort of thing? I’m fine with drives and ram etc, but happy to pay someone else to do the processor, unless it’s super easy?

I don’t know anybody but I’ve thought about this myself but the idea of it scares the shit out’a me.
I noticed a place on the upper Newtownards Road called ‘The Repair Centre’ and I’ve just called them. They’ve done loads of them (he’s doing one right now) and they charge £135 to replace the hd with another hd, add £45 for a 500Mb SSD and around £200 for 1 1Tb SSD. I assume you could supply your own SSD.
Their site is down for maintenance right now www.trcni.com so you’ll have to call them 028 9067 1104

Google street view: https://www.google.com/maps/@54.5944218,-5.8501645,3a,15y,162.92h,88.17t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s9cOko5f0ncaHwpGDBycFnQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192


I’ve done the SSD myself, pulled the dvd ans stuck in the ssd, what I’m talking about now is the processor and graphics card.

Ahh sorry, I didn’t properly read what you were asking

My small army of cheesegrater mac pros is working well. It’s like Mac(not)Mini

The last model is still quite speedy if you get the faster processor models. And with a Radeon 850 card in, they’ll drive some nice retina displays. You PCI-e to m.2 cards for fast SSDs.

Still, they’ll probably be end of lifed any day now. Until then, they’re good deal.

I picked up a lower end one for $500 at a local PC junk shop. It even had a nice USB3 card inside. It’s my new build server now. So if you’re using Stacks – there’s a little bit of that junk-shop machine making your software go. :-)


It’s still running Mojave, correct?

I have an old G5 Mac Pro at my lockup, it’s worthless, but a piece of art IMO.


but yes, the new build server is running Mojave, which is required to run Xcode 10, which is required to build using the 10.14 sdk, which is required if you want to support dark mode.


so all the recent builds i’ve done for PlusKit, Stacks, and SiteMap+ have all been done on the “new” (to me) Mac Pro running Mojave and the 10.14 sdk.

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Na, other way round 🤣

This Mac Pro is “still” able to run Mojave.

Ah, you know what I mean 😆

barely. each year i think they’ll end-of-life these old machines. in a way i think it’s been great apple has failed to update the Mac Pro line so many times — it’s forced them to maintain compatibility long past when they normally would.

i do have my original, owned since brand new, 2008 mac pro that’s stuck at macOS 10.12. i just use it as a time machine backup server.

my newer 2010 boxes have one quirk now: they can’t boot Mojave with the original video card. it gets a little tricky when installing things or booting from a recovery partition.

Aside from that it’s still one of the fastest Macs available, easily outpacing most of these $3000 MBPs. And you can pick one up used for between $500 - $1500 depending on specs and dents. You can also buy the cheap ones and, without too much pain, swap to the fastest Xeon processor— which, if bloggers are to be believed, can also be bought used on Ali Express for a steal.

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You all are much more expert than I am, but I just moved from a 2010 iMac (27)" to a mid 2015 iMac (27") and love it. I wanted an SSD drive, but was worried about the size (smaller than my old iMac) but thought I could upgrade it later. After my purchase but before it arrived, I found out that the drive is soldered in and had a bit of a heart attack. Called a colleague up (design professor) and he talked me down. He advised me to only keep apps and the operating system on the computer and have external drives for my files. It’s worked out great. It’s very fast, I have a ton of room on the SSD - when I’m done working, the file gets stored off the computer (backed up nightly with Carbon Copy Cloner) and the world is good. My friend mentioned that if something happened to the original HD down the road, I could hook up an external SSD as my boot drive and I’ll be fine. With my savings I got another 27" monitor :) All I need is a bigger desk! So maybe, just maybe there’s no need to break into it at least HD wise. I think the minis have soldered ram; that’s definitely a dealbreaker.