Can I Upgrade the Hard Drive on My iMac?

By Mark L. Chambers

Asking whether you can upgrade the hard drive on your iMac is a trick question. Yes, you certainly can upgrade your hard drive. But before you start cruisin’ the Internet for a 4TB monster, here are two suggestions:

Be sure you really need a hard drive upgrade. Apple is pretty generous when configuring hard drive storage for its base systems. (Current models run with anywhere from a 1TB to a whopping 3TB drive — yep, that’s 3 terabytes, or 3,000GB! Don’t worry, your prized walnut brownie recipe will have plenty of elbow room on a 3TB drive, as will as a huge amount of digital video.) Naturally, if you’re purchasing a new iMac and you want to avoid a bad case of “storage pinch” in the future, you should opt for more than a 1TB hard drive.

Let’s be honest here: Most folks simply don’t need more than 1TB of hard drive space. You’re likely to find that you still have plenty of wide-open spaces for a typical family’s needs on your hard drive unless you’re heavily into

  • Digital video (DV)
  • Cutting-edge video games
  • Tons of high-quality digital audio
  • Four generations of high-resolution digital photos of your family (hey, it’s possible!)

If you decide that you do need to upgrade, don’t install your internal hard drive yourself.

If you’re short on hard drive space, first clean up your existing hard drive by deleting all the crud you don’t need, such as game and application demos, duplicate or “work” copies of images and documents, archived files you downloaded from the Internet, and the contents of your Trash.