Mac mini 2009

Supports up to 4.0GB memory
(PC3-8500 DDR3 1066MHz DIMM)

NiceMacMini

The Mac mini is a great computer but is under powered when it comes to RAM. You can buy more RAM from Apple and have them install it from you but that can cost almost as much as the mini itself! This is a Do-It-Yourself guide to upgrading the memory in your 2009 model Mac Mini for under$80 USD!

You Need RAM!

The RAM has to be “PC3-8500 DDR3 1066MHz DIMM”. The Mac mini has 2 ram slots and supports up to 4GB. I suggest you buy 2 x 2GB modules. I was able to buy 4GB of RAM from MacSales.com for $69.99 USD.

Tools Needed

  • Phillips head screw driver
  • Metal putty knife
  • A clean work surface
  • New RAM – up to 4 GB (2x 2GB) of PC3-8500 DDR3 1066MHz DIMM)

Tear Down

MacMiniRamUpgrade-01

You need a screw driver, a putty knife, and new ram

MacMiniRamUpgrade-02

Flip the mini over. Insert the blade of the putty knife between the plastic and metal housing on the computer. It’s going to be a tight fit.

Pull down on the putty knife to release the clips holding the case together. Work your way slowly around the entire computer.

Pull down on the putty knife to release the clips holding the case together. Work your way slowly around the entire computer.

This is what it will look like when you are ready to move on to the next steps.

This is what it will look like when you are ready to move on to the next steps.

At the back of the computer you should be able to see a gap between the housings that is similar to this.

At the back of the computer you should be able to see a gap between the housings that is similar to this.

Flip the mini back over. Remove the outer housing and set it aside.

Flip the mini back over. Remove the outer housing and set it aside.

Proof that we are working with a 2009 model Mac mini

Proof that we are working with a 2009 model Mac mini

Highlighted are 3 antennas that need to be disconnected before we can move on.

Highlighted are 3 antennas that need to be disconnected before we can move on.

The first antenna, in the upper left can be removed by pulling straight up with gentle pressure

The smaller antenna, on the left side can be removed by pulling straight up with gentle pressure

After removing the smaller antennas, remove the springs on the posts under them.

After removing the smaller antennas, remove the springs on the posts under them.

Detach the tape that holds down the wire to the second antenna.

Detach the tape that holds down the wire to the second antenna.

The larger antenna on the right side is attached by 2 clips, they are highlighted in this photo.

The larger antenna on the right side is attached by 2 clips, they are highlighted in this photo.

Release the antenna by gently squeezing the posts together. Remove the antenna and the spring.

Release the antenna by gently squeezing the posts together. Remove the antenna and the spring.

After the antennas have been disconnected, we need to remove the screws holding the drive assembly to the base. The screw locations are highlighted here.

After the antennas have been disconnected, we need to remove the screws holding the drive assembly to the base. The screw locations are highlighted here.

The screw on the lower left side is easy to find and remove.

The screw on the lower left side is easy to find and remove.

The screw on the upper left side is a bit harder to find and remove.

The screw on the upper left side is a bit harder to find and remove.

This is where the next screw is. Make sure not to lose them after they are removed.

This is where the next screw is. Make sure not to lose them after they are removed.

The last screw is the hardest to get to. It's a bit larger then the others. Remember where is went.

The last screw is the hardest to get to. It’s a bit larger then the others. Remember where is went.

Next we have to find and detach the ribbon cable.

Next we have to find and detach the ribbon cable. It’s highlighted in this photo.

I stuck the corner of the putty knife behind the connector and gently twisted until the connection popped off.

I stuck the corner of the putty knife behind the connector and gently twisted until the connection popped off.

The ribbon cable should disconnect with out much force.

The ribbon cable should disconnect with out much force.

You can now gently lift the drive assembly off of the base. Set the drive assembly to the side, the RAM is in the base.

You can now gently lift the drive assembly off of the base. Set the drive assembly to the side, the RAM is in the base.

Removing the RAM

The RAM is held in place by 2 retention clips. One of them is highlighted here.

The RAM is held in place by 2 retention clips. One of them is highlighted here.

Gently press outward on both clips at the same time to free the RAM.

Gently press outward on both clips at the same time to free the RAM.

The RAM will pop up at an angle. Remove the RAM by pulling it straight out of its slot.

The RAM will pop up at an angle. Remove the RAM by pulling it straight out of its slot.

The RAM has been removed. This is a factory 1GB RAM module.

The RAM has been removed. This is a factory 1GB RAM module.

Installing the new RAM

We are going to be installing 2 x 2GB RAM modules.

We are going to be installing 2 x 2GB RAM modules.

Put the new RAM in the slot we just took the old RAM out of.

Put the new RAM in the slot we just took the old RAM out of.

Press down on the RAM with 2 finger applying even pressure. The retention clips should catch the RAM.

Press down on the RAM with 2 finger applying even pressure. The retention clips should catch the RAM.

The retention clips will hold the RAM in place. Congratulations, you just installed some RAM!

The retention clips will hold the RAM in place. Congratulations, you just installed some RAM!

Install the second RAM module into the second slot.

Install the second RAM module into the second slot.

Press down on the RAM until the clips catch.

Press down on the RAM until the clips catch.

This is what the RAM will look like once installed.

This is what the RAM will look like once installed.

Re-Assembly

Place the drive assembly back onto the base. Make sure that the antenna wires aren't getting pinched.

Place the drive assembly back onto the base. Make sure that the antenna wires aren’t getting pinched.

Screw the drive assembly back onto the base. The screw locations are highlighted.

Screw the drive assembly back onto the base. The screw locations are highlighted.

Re-Attch the ribbon cable.

Re-Attach the ribbon cable.

Apply gently pressure on the connector until it snaps into place.

Apply gently pressure on the connector until it snaps into place.

Replace the antenna springs.

Replace the antenna springs.

Replace the antena and press down on it until snaps into place. Re-attach the tape on the wire to the drive assembly.

Replace the antena and press down on it until snaps into place. Re-attach the tape on the wire to the drive assembly.

Replace the next antenna. Press down on it until is locks into place.

Replace the next antenna. Press down on it until is locks into place.

Attach the last antenna by gently squeezing together the 2 posts under it, pressing down on the antenna and releasing the posts.

Attach the last antenna by gently squeezing together the 2 posts under it (highlighted here), pressing down on the antenna and releasing the posts.

Replace the top cover.

Replace the top cover.

Gently press down with even pressure until the clips grab the top cover and lock into place.

Gently press down with even pressure until the clips grab the top cover and lock into place.

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58 Responses to “Mac mini (2009) Ram Upgrade”

  1. skafia says:

    That’s insane, wouldn’t be able to do it without your detailed instructions!

  2. tomas says:

    Thank you SO much. Yours is the best step-by-step I found on the web. Really essential.

  3. Mikeyjj says:

    Thank you for the instructions. Please note that a #0 (small) Phillips head screwdriver is needed to get access to the recessed drive assembly screws. This item might not be in typical tool set (like mine…it is now).

  4. Gary says:

    These instructions worked for me.

    I tried it with a butter knife and a steak knife but had to go buy a putty knife to get the cover off.
    I used the steak knife to keep the cover detached as I moved the putty knife around the Mini.

    And the screws require a VERY small screw driver.

    Thanks.

  5. JD says:

    I have seen that altough you put 4GB RAM in mini, only 3GB can be addressed. What the? I am talking about my mini bought in early 2009, before the NEWEST ones came out…. Is there a benefit to putting in 2x2GB dimms? Or is it fine to put in a 1GB & a 2GB…. anyone? :-) Thanx, JD

  6. Glenn Dixon says:

    I’m upgraded! This site is amazing! Who knows how much you spared me in the way of scrapes, cracks and frustration…

  7. rick says:

    Soiunds great but would that work on a 2005 or a 2007 series??

  8. NN says:

    Worked perfectly for us. Thanks! It is like we bought a new mac-mini, so you saved us quite a bit of money :-) :-)

  9. Adam says:

    I have a question. The instructions say buy 4GB’s total, but it already has 2GB’s, so is he saying to take out all the old ram or put 4GB in with an existing 2GB for a total of 6GB? I haven’t taken mine apart, so I just wanted to confirm.

  10. JoshHighland says:

    The maximum is 4 gigs of ram on the model in the photos. The old ram was removed, discarded, and new ram was used in its place.

  11. Abhijeet says:

    I have old Mac Mini (Intel 1.3 GHz) that has 2* 256 MB, DDR2 667 MHz RAM. I want to make it 2 * 1 GB now. Do I have to buy DDR2 667 MHz only ? I can get RAM with say 800 MHz ? Will it work on this motherboard ?

  12. Pravin says:

    Thanks..!! buddy..

  13. Gandalf says:

    Very well done. Much more thorough than any other tutorial I found. The best part was showing how to put it back together. Most take apart guides say, “This is how you take it apart. Good luck putting it back together on your own!” I’ve always found taking things apart to be easy on my own: it’s the putting it back together and having it work properly with no parts left over that is the real challenge! Thanks again!

  14. Penus says:

    You rocked my mac minis world. Thanks

  15. chris says:

    this mac mini in the photo supports up to 8gb.

  16. iwank says:

    Hi, is it possible to replace Mac Mini Ram using an iMac G5 Ram? Just beacause I have a dead iMac G5 and is useless. Thanks

  17. Metal Brake says:

    Judging by the way you write, you seem like a professional writer.’…”

  18. chandra says:

    Thanks a bunch :)

    When I look the “About this Mac” info it says 2GB instead of 4 GB(i installed 4 GB).

    Any Idea?

  19. Mike says:

    I have a 2006 vintage Core Duo (not Core 2 Duo) Mac mini. This website was extremely helpful. I upgraded my memory without problems but there are a few differences between my model and the 2009 shown here.

    1) I believe the maximum memory for mine is 2 gigabytes (two 1-gig notebook RAM modules).

    2) There are only two antennas.

    3) The ribbon cable connector on mine is a ZIF connector requiring slightly different procedure to disconnect it. You will need to gently pry up on the ends of the brown segment of the connector so it lifts up about 1/4 inch. Once that is loose, the ribbon cable will almost pop out on its own. If the connector is loosened properly, it will take almost zero effort to pull this cable out.

    4) There is one more connector that needs to be removed from my model. This one is a little black two-pin connector on the opposite side of the computer from the ribbon cable. Use needle-nose pliers to pull it out. (Don’t forget to push this connector back in before putting on the cover back at the end.)

  20. Henry says:

    Is there anyway to find out what year my MacMini was manufactured and what the maximum RAM it can run would be, short of pulling it apart?

  21. Lindsay says:

    Will this work for a 2004 Mac Mini? I tried to upgrade to Snow Leopard the other day, but apparently my Mini is not intel-based, so I couldn’t.

  22. Dennis says:

    Thank you very much. Your description works a dream.

  23. Planet 13 says:

    Just used this website for instructions to install 2×4 megs in my mac mini. Awesome! Thank you for the guidelines! My Mac runs GREAT now!!!

  24. C.K. Tse says:

    here there – just wanna drop a quick note to say thanks for the detailed instructions. i just did it and it worked! Just got my 2009 mini upgraded to 8G + 120G SSD to serve as my primary computer audio server. Large 192/24 lossless music files used to skip as it ran out of free memory. it’s now working flawlessly since the upgrade. again thanks for taking the time to serve the larger mac mini community. keep this up :)

  25. Ivor says:

    Dude, you have no idea how grateful I am for this tutorial… 64-bit kernel extensions in Lion and this f**king awesome tutorial gave my late 2009 Mac Mini chance to run with 8 gig which saved me huge amount of money that I don’t have.

    Thanks again, keep up with good work

  26. Leila says:

    Thank you! This was great – easy to follow, and assuring amidst my freak out once I got into it. First time doing this and grateful to be successful, thanks to your generosity!

  27. Neil says:

    Perfect instructions, thanks. I’d been worried about dismantling my early 2009 Mini until I saw the terrific instructions here. Upgraded my Mini from 2GB to 8GB in only 15 minutes.

    (By the way, a kitchen palette knife works just as well as a putty knife!)

  28. SB says:

    Can’t believe how easy it actually was with this guide. :-) You just “made” me a media center of an old Mini who was going out if not upgraded. Thanks!

  29. Jeremy says:

    AWESOME! great detailed instructions. I was able to max mine out at 8gig of ram with snow leopard – what a speed difference!

  30. ramseeker says:

    This website is great bu is a little dated, and on the 2011 Mac Mini models it’s much easier to add ram to a mac Mini that what’s pictured above. Whatever you do, don’t buy apple ram as it’s priced at outrageous amounts. You can buy ram for Mac Mini from a selection of memory stores at much better prices.

    http://www.ramseeker.com/news/mac-mini-ddr3-memory-upgrade-prices/

  31. gordon says:

    Great information and well laid out.
    I have an original version Mac Mini 2.1- Intel core 2 Duo 2GHz with 1Gb (2 x 500Mb) RAM 667MHz
    Can I upgrade with 2Gb (2x1Gb) DDR3 SDRAMM 1066MHz ?

  32. Debunker13 says:

    @gordon

    Your hardware is going to be static. If you’ve got DDR2 you need to stick with DDR2, likewise with the other specs 667MHz. You can only upgrade the RAM to within those specifications. So no you can’t upgrade to DDR3, but you can probably add up to 4GB (2x2GB DDR2 667MHz) depending on your model. Take a look at Mactracker from the Mac App Store. Great little tool.

  33. The airman says:

    Just saw this website. Excellent! Saved time is figuring out how to upgrade the memory to 8GB. Total cost of new memory was about $35.00 including shipping from e-bay. Been buying these 4GB sodimm modules for the PC laptops I have and the memory is the same. Also upgraded the disk to a 750GB drive, I just cloned the drive with Linux DD and it works fine.

    I tried a couple of 8GB sodimms out of my laptop, and the machine worked ok too. Just make sure you have the latest BIOS loaded in the mini. Did not leave them in there year cause the 8GB sodimms are still around $150 each. Price is falling though. A 16GB mini would be ok too!

    I am going to get a Blu-ray drive and update this mini, but unfortunately the Mac-in-slosh uses that breakdown prone electric eject drive. Oh well.

    Have to get an electric eject drive then.

    But again, this was an excellent resource for the Mac.

    Thanks a million!

    Ed

  34. The airman says:

    Yet not year… Oops

  35. The airman says:

    BTW, forgot to mention, I have a Mac mini “A1283″

  36. MacWeasel says:

    I had a late 2009 Mini sitting around that I gutted and put in a G4 Cube enclosure along with a second optical drive (Blu Ray) and four 1 TB HDD’s. I modified the interior heat sink to accommodate the drives and put a fan in built in alcove at the cases base to keep it all cool. It makes very little noise at it’s busiest and does everything I could hope for. I was going to do the same with a 2011, but they made the motherboard larger in the newer models so it doesn’t fit in the squirrel cage of the Cube. I’m looking into having a custom enclosure built to house my Monster Mini that will feature hot swappable HDD trays and Mac Pro-like optical bays. It should end up looking like a half size Mac Pro. Hopefully, they will be making a Thunderbolt header splitter by then so I can put multiple Thunderbolt ports front and back on it.

  37. TomD says:

    Great instructions! Thanks. If, like me, you knock the wifi or the Bluetooth wires loose, they do just snap back on and don’t require any soldering. Check out the tear down pages like http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Mac-mini-Model-A1283-Teardown/659/2 to see where the wires should connect.

  38. DrCanuck says:

    Fantastic description. I’d make a suggestion to replace screws 2,3,4 into place prior to replacing the drive assembly to the base. This way, you don’t have to fight (and loose) the battle of placing the screws in a tight spot. (leave screw 1 to last as it is the easiest to access and will most likely pop back out.

    Also, noting how the antenna wires are threaded with respect to the base ‘prior’ to detaching them would be great.

    Thanks again!

  39. AlexD says:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/mac-mini/
    This site provides and idiot-proof way of determining what your Mac Mini will support by way of RAM. Look at about 1/2 page down to where it says “View: About this Mac examples” and you’ll see how easy it is. It’s basically all picture driven.

  40. Sajchwong says:

    Thanks for very good instruction. I could follow your instruction easily and now done. Now my Mini work @ 4GB OK.
    My Mac Mini is mark: MFD May 2009
    I could not find DDR3 1066 MHz as in the original Mac Mini so I tested with 2 pcs of 2G Byte DDR3 speed 1333 MHz which very easy to find and lower cost. I paid only $12 each. It seem to me work perfect.
    Thanks

  41. Phil says:

    I rarely post feedback on any website, but I need to for you. This is the BEST guide I’ve read online by anyone on anything!! I’m very handy with computers, electronics, machining, etc. so probably could have figured this all out on my own. But your posting saved me soooo much time!! Less than 20 minutes from shutdown with 2 GB of RAM to reboot with a detected 4 GB of RAM. THank you so much for your well detailed, well photographed, impressive work!!

  42. cattman says:

    Hi. Very useful.
    I managed to forget the black cable on re assembly and got the “fan” noise as above. The Mac shut itself down after a few minutes. Hope I didn’t harm anything?? Its working OK now..

    I MANAGED TO DETACH THE AIPORT CONNECTION, ITS A CONCENTRIC MINI PLUG THAT MOUNTS ON THE UNIT ADJACENT TO THE MEMORY UNIT, CHECK OUT THE PICS. i WAS LOOKING ON THE MOTHER BOARD WHERE IT WASN’T…

  43. mpeay says:

    Thanks for the clear and detailed instructions. Just upgraded my early 2009 Mac Mini from 4G (2x2G) to 8G (2x4G). Quite easy.

  44. Steve, England says:

    You beauty!

    I felt like I was disarming a bomb doing this. Didn’t want to cock it up, and your instructions were perfect.

    Many thanks!

    Steve.

  45. steve says:

    thank you. flawless.

  46. lucaberta says:

    Great description for a relatively simple process. Today I upgraded both my 2009 MacMinis to 8GB, and everything worked well.

    Just one note, since removing the tiny screws holding the drive assembly to the bottom is not easy, unless small tweezers are used, I found that leaving the 4 screws in place, after unscrewing them, when pulling out the drive assembly worked extremely well too.

  47. John says:

    Thank you. I had been thinking of upgrading the memory in my 2009 mac mini for over a year but Apple’s information on their support site had put me off: “Important: You should not manually upgrade or replace the memory in these Mac mini models. Instead, contact an Apple Authorized Service Provider to install memory for you.”

    Well, I stumbled across your website quite by chance and after buying the memory (and not from the apples store!!) I decided to take the plunge. 15 minutes later I was happily putting the case back on after successfully installing 4gb of memory. Thank you for making something which had seemed daunting so incredibly simple and painless!

  48. Phil says:

    Great instructions. Thank you very much!

  49. Epic Dave says:

    MAC MINI successful update from 2 gig to 8 gig – PIMP

    great instructions thank-you

  50. Roger says:

    At the top of your very helpful site you go with the Apple specified max 4Gb. But the Crucial scanner and web site claim max 8 Gb and several comments refer to success with 8Gb. So can I assume there is no problem addressing 8Gb? Any risk of overheating? Is it just that 2x4Gb was not available in late 2009?

  51. Uncle Mex says:

    Fantastic instructions! Enormously helpful and utterly necessary – boy, I seriously do NOT want to go through that horrible, finicky process ever again!

    ~ Roger
    I went through the same thing with the Crucial scanner and the 8Gb I bought from them worked like a charm. Their scanner apps have always done the job for me over the years, on both the PC and Mac.

  52. Roger says:

    Yes! All done and zipping along with 8Gb. Just be careful as the antenna wires can become detached from their sockets when removing the drive assembly.

    Thanks Mex for the encouragement.

    (Nonno) Roger

  53. Alexander says:

    Thank you very much! Wonderful having these 8 GB in my 2009 Mac mini.

  54. PLAT says:

    Wow! Great work on providing us the details! I wish others were thorough like you. The Mac Mini is actually able to have up to 16GB of RAM. Check out crucial.com and macsales.com (otherworldcomputing.com).

  55. Pieter says:

    Just upgraded with 2x4GB 1333 Mhz chips from PC world uk. 36 odd pound and my pc runs like a dream and almost perfectly synchronised between cpu, memory and harddrive. Thx for the instructions.

  56. Charles says:

    Excellent instructions. My son ordered new RAM and left town before he could install it.I have never worked on a computer or installed RAM before. Reading and following these instructions, I was able to install new 4GB RAM in my 2009 Mini-Mac. It took about an hour and 1/2. (next time maybe 30 mins.?) Thanks so much for the easy to follow, detailed instructions.

  57. Gadget Girl says:

    Interestingly last comment applies to me! Memory upgraded in late 2009 mini to 8gb and now runs Photoshop with no hitch, thank you :) I noticed in process… antenna’s (all 3) disconnected when I removed screws and separated drive from chassis and didn’t see where i could reattach them to, now have no wifi or bluetooth :( Can I reconnect them and if so where?

    Would greatly appreciate some help with this ;)

    Mucho Thanks in advance!

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