Mac Mini 2018 Ram installation attempt- very hard!

I have been upgrading RAM in Apple computers since my first Mam, an LCIII, back in the 1990’s. I’ve pulled apart iPods to replace the battery, I’ve pulled apart iMacs with their glass screen and I’ve changed the hard drive and screens in macbook pro’s. But the hardest gig yet was changing the memory in my 2018 Mac Mini.

After my first attempt I rebooted my Mac to discover that one of the RAM modules was not working. This is the first time this has ever happened to me. I needed to pull the whole thing apart again give the RAM modules a jiggle and then reassemble the Mac mini. Read on to find out more about my experience!

One of the DIMMs did not work after my first attempt. Thankfully after I disassembled and reassembled the Mac Mini it worked second time round.

Now to be fair, Apple does say this is not for the average user.

Apple have said this many times in the past but usually ‘No user installable RAM’ just means they’ve put a security screw on the case or you need special Apple compatible RAM. This time they actually mean it!

Apple could have made the RAM easier to replace by putting it in a different location or designing the case differently, but obviously allowing people to upgrade the RAM after purchase was not a priority for Apple in this case.

Despite the difficulty level, after comparing the price of 32GB RAM to Apple’s price you may still want to give it a go. I purchased 32GB of Crucial RAM from RAM City for A$246. That’s a significant saving.

iFixit have a pretty good video about how to do it here. It’s a great instructional video but they make it look a lot easier than it is. The lady in the video skips over some small technical details and she has obviously practised some of these manoeuvres a few times to get them looking so smooth. There are a lot of little places that might trip you up along the way. It requires you to be thinking at each step of the way. Don’t just mindlessly follow the video.

It’s not technical in that you need to understand electronics or how to solder to replace the RAM. What’s needed is a physical dexterity and precision combined with some mechanical intuition that might be possessed by a watchmaker or jeweller. If that’s not you then I’d suggest you ask a friend to help you.

Here are some of the points that I found difficult.

When you get to the memory module it is covered by a steel cage. Underneath this cage are two rubber/steel clip assemblies that hold the memory in place. My two rubber handles were not assembled properly and so one of them pulled off with the case.
Here is a close-up picture of the black rubber memory clip assembly. The black rubber piece has 2 fingers that sit inside the metal clips. On my Mac Mini these 2 fingers were not inside the metal clips and so the rubber clips just fell to the side when I pulled the cage off. I tried to insert the RAM and then put the rubber clips back in but it wasn’t working. I needed to reverse engineer how it was meant to work and realise that mine was not put together properly in the first case. These rubber grommets are meant to stay in place while you remove and reinsert the RAM. If they do come off, make sure you feed the two rubber fingers down inside the metal clips before you install the RAM..
This is the power connector to the logic board. It requires a reasonable amount of force to remove it and because it is physically underneath the lip it is very hard to get your fingers or a tool in there. I found it even harder to reinsert the power connector while keeping it straight. Also the power connector is just the right width to get wedged between that ‘R10’ component and the power socket on the board, so watch out for that. It can also get wedged between the socket and the back of the case when you are sliding the login board back into place.
Here is a screenshot from the iFixit video of the Wi-Fi antenna cable being connected back to the motherboard. This step is also lot harder than it looks. Usually when you begin to seat a connector you can some feedback to indicate that it is in the right location before you press it into place. With this connector there was no small click that I could feel as I aligned the connector so it was a matter of lining it up and then pressing it hard for it to seat into place.
Because I was afraid of pressing too hard and bending something, I chose to reattach the TORX screw first and use that to help guide the Wi-Fi connector into the right location before I pressed it down.

The Mac Mini also uses TR6 (or T6H) Security Torx screws with a hole in the middle. I already have 2 security driver sets but none of them went small enough. To buy these in Dubbo I needed to buy another full $30 security driver set from Jaycar.


2 responses to “Mac Mini 2018 Ram installation attempt- very hard!”

  1. Dave Paisley

    Yes! That antenna connector was easily the worst part of the whole process, closely followed by trying to get the RAM seated properly and getting the rubber pieces seated right. The power supply connector isn’t a piece of cake, either.

  2. Ace

    I still haven’t gotten my antenna hooked back up! I thought that I’d just use it wired with ethernet and usb keys/mouse….. but when I would turn it on using HDMI for video, it would start to act like it was going to start and halfway through the process it just goes black?? So I don’t know what to do, if I should put the 4 GBs of RAM back in or try to figure out how to get the antenna fixed?? I would think that if I was going to use all wired accessories and ethernet, because my plan was to use it for converting my LPs to DSD256 format and I was planning on using the Mac mini and now I probably voided the Apple Care?? But I don’t want to throw it out, I haven’t even used the friggin thing and that was a piss poor corporate idea that Apple pulled on their loyal customers….. Jobs probably turned in his grave over this BS!!

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