Enthusiasts Detail RAM Upgrade Process for the 2018 Mac mini

RAM replacement guides for the new 2018 Mac mini have appeared online, detailing what's involved if users choose to go against Apple's advice and upgrade the removable memory modules themselves.

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Apple's official line is that it doesn't consider the new Space Gray Mac mini to be user-configurable, therefore the company recommends that later memory upgrades be performed by a certified Apple service provider.

However, going down that route increases costs significantly, because users need to factor in the relatively high price of Apple-supplied RAM as well as the additional labor charge for installing said modules.

On the other hand, while upgrading the memory yourself can save money, it also carries inherent risks.


For one, any damage done to the Mac mini during installation isn't covered under warranty, and even if the internals remain unscathed, Apple service staff will likely refuse to repair a 2018 Mac mini under warranty if they see third-party RAM modules have been inserted.

Having said that, experienced upgrade enthusiasts will be happy to learn that the process of opening up the 2018 Mac mini isn't too dissimilar to the 2014 Mac Mini (although that model had the much-maligned soldered-on RAM).

YouTuber Brandon Geekabit has uploaded a video detailing the process. And with help from MacRumors forum readers, Rod Bland has posted steps of the procedure on the iFixit website, along with the recommended opening tools, which include a TR6 Torx Security screwdriver, a T9 Torx screwdriver, and a Pentalobe screwdriver (also used to open the Retina MacBook Air and Pro). The entire process is said to take between 10 and 20 minutes.

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Briefly, users must pop off the bottom cover using a plastic opening tool, then unscrew and remove the antenna plate below along with its attaching cable. Next, the fan assembly is unscrewed and removed. Then the mainboard is unscrewed so it can be slid out, after which the screws holding the RAM cage are undone to reveal the RAM modules.

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Removing the rubber stabilizers and pressing the spring clips enables careful replacement of the existing RAM modules with the new ones, after which users must work their way back through the previous steps in reverse to re-assemble the mini.

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The process allows users to install up to 64GB of RAM, using any combination of 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB DDR4-2666 SODIMM RAM modules, which are available from third-party brands like Crucial, Kingston, and Corsair at prices that significantly undercut Apple-supplied RAM.

Ultimately, customers wanting more RAM must decide which route suits them best: upgrade the Mac mini themselves and accept the risks; avoid the hassle by paying Apple a premium to upgrade the base configuration at checkout; or upgrade at a later time through an Apple authorized service provider, at additional cost.

Related Roundup: Mac mini
Tag: iFixit
Buyer's Guide: Mac Mini (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

ChrisCW11 Avatar
29 months ago
if I were entertaining this, I would want to know how to upgrade the SSD because the 2tb SSD, Apple is charging $700 (CAD) more then Dell for the 2TB SSD option (1900 vs 1200). Not that I am going to spend $1200 on any SSD, I would just be as happy to plug in a Thunderbolt external raid for SO much cheaper, but its the same story across the entire range of option upgrades for the Mac Mini, just excessive stupid prices vs the same components options competitors are offering. And don't tell me that Apple has some special quality manufactured versions of these parts, they are raiding the same over-seas factories as ever other computer OEM these days.

I don't care if Apple is going to charge a premium for the boxes with their logos on it, that is to be expected these days, but when Apple tries to excessively profit monger off of the same off-the-shelf parts that competitors are putting into their systems, and make it user hostile to upgrade or repair them even years later, I am sorry, Apple doesn't have a right to $700 of free profit off of someone else's component by forcing people to configure a system once only in the shopping cart.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Winni Avatar
29 months ago

I would do it myself but I don't want a voided warranty when the t2 chip starts having issues....

I don't know about the US, but unlike everything Apple wants you to believe, in Germany opening the case of your computer and upgrading RAM modules would not void your warranty - that's the European law.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sam_S Avatar
29 months ago
Its great that you are able to do it yourself! I would do it through Apple if they didn't charge a ridiculous premium for their RAM upgrades...
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
czoli Avatar
29 months ago
We love (to screw) our customers, they could have designed it differently to make it easy to upgrade.

While I understand a CEO needs to please the investors by increasing revenues and margins the Tim Cook age seems to only be about taking advantage of the customers.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JackLeBoul Avatar
29 months ago
Ahhh...still unnecessary complicated/difficult to change ram on a "desktop" computer.
Compare this to the "Cube" - beautiful design and easy access to all parts.

https://apple-history.com/g4cube

Even though this is better than the last version, its not good enough.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
michael666 Avatar
29 months ago
Next: How to replace the SSD.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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