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Here's a quick and inexpensive way to update your iMac's RAM



  imac-ram-cage-1

Apple has made upgrading memory to 27-inch iMacs ridiculously easy.


Patrick Holland / CNET

When you buy a new iMac from Apple, updating the memory can be costly. For example, upgrading a new iMac from 8 GB RAM to 32 GB costs an additional $ 600 via the Apple website. However, you have a much more wallet-friendly way to add RAM to an iMac: do it yourself. Third-party websites like Other World Computing, also known as OWC, and Crucial sell the same amount of RAM for around $ 1

50. That's a saving of $ 450. All you have to do is install what Apple made relatively easy.

Even if you don't buy a new iMac, updating memory on your old computer is a quick and inexpensive way to give your computer more multitasking juice to handle all of these open tabs in your Chrome browser.

Watch a step-by-step video of the entire process below to find out which iMac model you need to install the actual RAM modules.

27-inch iMac vs. 21.5-inch iMac RAM Access

iMacs There are two sizes – 27-inch and 21.5-inch models. Since the end of 2012, 27-inch models have had a door behind the stand that makes it easy to access and add more RAM. If you have a 27-inch or 21.5-inch iMac before 2011, there is an access door in the lower grille on the computer.

Unfortunately, if you have a post-2011 21.5-inch model or an iMac Pro ($ 4,999 on Amazon) there is no way to easily access RAM. Instead, you'll have to disassemble most of the iMac to add more.

Identify your iMac model and the maximum RAM size.

Before you can install new RAM, you need to determine what type of iMac you have. Look for either the year your computer came out or the model number. In addition:

1. Go to the Apple menu .

. 2 Select About This Mac .

. 3 Find the year your iMac was released. For example, mine is: iMac (27 inches, late 2013).

. 4 Also look at the line of memory to see how much RAM your computer already has.

. 5 Depending on the version of MacOS running on your computer, there may be a Memory tab that you can click to view how much RAM you have and how many slots are occupied.

To find the model number, return to the main tab About This Mac and click the System Report button. A hardware overview screen is displayed. Go to the line with the model identifier. In this case my iMac is 14.2.

For information on the maximum RAM capacity of your iMac, see this Apple support page. Most iMacs of the past eight years can process 32 GB of RAM, some even up to 128 GB. A new iMac Pro can reach 512 GB.

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The Apple iMac 2019 reaches new highs



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Where and How Much iMac RAM You Can Buy

Now that you have more knowledge of your computer, you need to find a place to buy RAM. There are many providers, but I can only recommend OWC and Crucial. RAM prices are competitive between the two locations, but can fluctuate. Crucial has also given us the RAM for this article.

Both sites can help you find the right type of RAM for your computer. Probably the biggest choice you need to make is how much to add. For example, my 2013 iMac came with 8 GB of RAM (two 4 GB sticks). The computer has four slots, two of which are occupied. I could just buy two 8 GB modules (16 GB in total) and add them to the two empty slots. That would take my iMac from 8 GB RAM to a total of 24 GB.

Instead, I decided to remove the two 4 GB RAM sticks that came with my iMac and use four 8 GB RAM sticks for a total of 32 GB, the maximum that my iMac supports. But the choice really depends on how old your computer is and how you are using it. One advantage of upgrading RAM on an older iMac is that it is relatively inexpensive. Adding 16 GB of RAM costs about $ 80.

I recommend installing RAM in pairs. For example, add two modules with 8 GB RAM instead of a single module with 16 GB RAM. It's not so much about cost savings, but about performance considerations. Intel supports a dual-channel architecture that is optimized for memory in pairs. However, it is not entirely clear how much power your computer would need if you only installed a single RAM stick.

  imac-ram-install-2-1 "data-original =" https://cnet1.cbsistatic.com/img/YUN9HfXKlFqLQvhnOSt3h-1Blms=/2020/02/21/b49b6dc4-1a1b-4791-aa86-7b5765f8f5e9 /imac-ram-install-2-1.jpg[19659030lightboxesimac-ram-install-2-1[19659031lightboxesThe installation process is uncomplicated[19659003[Patrick Holland / CNET
</span></figcaption></figure>
<h2> 	  Installing RAM in a 27-inch iMac </h2>
<p>  If you have RAM and are ready to install, shut down the iMac and let it cool down. </p>
<p> . 1 Disconnect the power cord and all other cables connected to your iMac. </p>
<p> . 2 Place a soft, clean towel on a flat surface to avoid scratching the screen. </p>
<p> . 3 Hold the pages and slowly place the computer face down on the towel. </p>
<p> . 4 Find the small gray button in the power connector and press it to open the storage compartment door. I used a spudger tool to buy a little more. </p>
<figure class=  imac-ram-door-button-1 "data-original =" https://cnet3.cbsistatic.com/img/VjBNYjsgqpD8aXNTNsty-IgScFU=/2020/02/21/c3592997-4221-4b05-80f5-f3c508c1ca9 /imac-ram-door-button-1.jpg[19659040lightboxesimac-ram-door-button-1[19659031lightboxesThe button to open the RAM door is in a circular recess, which leads the power cable into a 196659003 manufacturer Patrick Holland / CNET
</span></figcaption></figure>
<p> . 5 The button lifts the edge of the door. So keep it pressed until you can remove the compartment door completely. After switching off, set the door aside. There is a diagram on the inside of the door showing how the RAM pop-up mechanism works and how the RAM modules fit. </p><div><script async src=

. 6 Find the two levers on the right and left sides and push them outward to release the memory cage.

. 7 Pull the storage cage levers toward you to raise the cage for easier access.

. 8 If you remove the existing RAM from your iMac, pull the module straight up and out. Note the position of the notch at the bottom of the RAM so that you can properly align the new RAM. Depending on which iMac you have, the RAM notch may need to be left or right. I'm installing RAM on a 27-inch iMac in late 2013, so the notch for me needs to be on the right.

  imac-ram-notch-1 "data-original =" https://cnet1.cbsistatic.com/img/CcPIzav3tbllP1UndWqZgAZooxE=/2020/02/21/9c2fb29c-df7b-48c1-96d2-57d8df475c -notch .jpg

RAM modules have a notch at the bottom. Depending on your iMac model, the notch is inserted either on the right or left.


Patrick Holland / CNET

. 9 Install the new RAM by properly aligning the notch, inserting it into the slot, and pressing it firmly until you feel and hear it click into the slot. If you only install two new RAM sticks, place them at a distance from each other. For example, use the first and third slots or the second and fourth slots.

10th Once all of your memory is installed, put the door back on, stand your iMac upright, and then plug it back in.

. 11 Turn on your Mac and go to the Apple menu .

12th Select About This Mac .

. 13 Check the memory line or memory tab to make sure your new RAM is showing.

Troubleshoot tones and RAM not showing up

Depending on how old your iMac is, you may hear a tone after restarting. After installing memory, iMacs may sound a warning tone before starting for 2017. If you hear a beep every 5 seconds, it means that no RAM is installed. In this case, check the installed RAM and make sure that it is properly seated in its slot.

If you hear three consecutive tones that repeat with a 5-second pause in between, it means that the RAM you installed did not pass a data integrity check. In this case, check whether the memory you have installed is actually compatible with your iMac model and reinsert the memory. If your Mac continues to set the tone, it's time to make an appointment at the Genius Bar.

For more information about Macs, see our review of MacOS Catalina and all the games you play Apple Arcade can play.


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