Mac Mini Hard Drive Upgrade Process

How to add a second HD to your 2010/2011/2012 Mac Mini

Since the new Aluminium Mac Mini was released, i have been asked many times for the necessary tools to compete a self upgrade. Because of the extortionate prices apple charge for a second drive when buying the machine new, which is hardly ever worth it aside from it being a hassle free setup, the process is fairly simple for the average user. This is not a step by step guide, as there are many out there, but is a list of required parts and links to where to buy them. (as well as clearing up a common mistake, which will save you from buying the wrong cable to complete an upgrade)

Here is a brief rundown of the basics.

Tools Required

  • iFixit Photo Guide (for those unfamiliar with the guts of the Mac Mini range)
  • T6 Torx screw driver
  • T8 Torx screw driver
  • Plastic Spudger Tool
  • Anti-Static Strap
  • Second HD Flex Cable (If you are adding a second drive. necessary part numbers are listed below for each year)
  • Screws and Grommets (If you are adding a second drive)

Common misconception

With these Mac Mini ranges, the thing that causes the most confusion for consumers, is the orientation of the hard drives themselves. On forums all over the internet, people have referred to the top and bottom drives as the wrong ones, so when customers come to TheBookYard to buy a hard drive flex cable, they order the wrong one. So to clear this up, the upper and lower HD bays are identified when the machine is in its operational position. (not the other way around as is commonly stated online)

To fit a second hard drive into your machine, you will need the Upper HD flex cable, as a single drive setup has the drive fitted to the Lower HD bay.

Drive orientation in the 10/11/12 Mac Mini Ranges

Drive orientation in the 10/11/12 Mac Mini Ranges

Internal HD Port locations

Required part numbers

The part numbers below are Apple reference numbers. You can use these to search on, or just click on the links below.

The Screw and Grommet set is compatible with all 3 ranges, and can be found here.

2010 Mac Mini

    Please note. there are 2 versions of this model. one has an optical drive, which can be replaced with a second HD (with the replacement drive carrier 922-9571), the other is the Server model, which has this frame already fitted, so just needs the cables, screws and grommets.

2011 Mac Mini

2012 Mac Mini

I hope this clears up some of the confusion and serves as a guide to upgrade your Mac Mini. Let us know if you have any further questions about the process.


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