How To Upgrade the Memory (RAM) In a Mac Mini

This guide shows you step by step how to replace or upgrade the memory (RAM) in your Mac Mini with with new memory sticks.

Before You Upgrade

First things first, you’ll want to make sure you can upgrade the memory on your Mac Mini. When this guide was initially published back in 2011, all Mac Mini’s could be upgraded. Now in 2021, that’s no longer true. If your Mac Mini model is from 2010, 2011 or 2014 – you’re in luck – your device is memory upgradable. If you have a 2014, 2018* or 2020 model, sadly you’re out of luck.

* = technically the RAM can be upgraded but it’s significantly more difficult than the steps outlined in this guide. If you’re looking to upgrade the RAM in your 2018 Mac Mini, it’s best to go to an Apple Store or Apple authorized shop.

Note: Make sure you’re grounded and not standing on carpet which can produce static when replacing the memory. If you really want to be sure, get an anti-static wrist strap..

an anti-static wrist strap

Steps to Upgrade RAM in a Mac Mini

For this tutorial we’ll be removing the two 1 GB sticks that came with our Mac Mini 2.4 GHz model, and replacing them with two 4 GB sticks for a total of 8 GB of RAM.

  1. Make sure you have everything unplugged from your Mac. The keyboard, mouse, and whatever else is plugged into it – most importantly the power cord!
  2. a Mac Mini

  3. Flip the Mac Mini around so you see the cover on the bottom. If you don’t want to scuff up the case, place it on a soft towel.
  4. the bottom of a mac mini

  5. Now remove the cover by turning it counter clockwise to the unlock position. Use the circles on each side of the cover to turn it and you’ll feel it come loose.
  6. removing the cover of a mac mini

  7. Then just remove the cover so you can get at the memory sticks inside.
  8. a mac mini with the cover removed exposing the memory modules

  9. Just set the cover aside, and here you can see the memory sticks that came with it.
  10. the memory inside of a mac mini

  11. There are two metal clips that hold it in place. Gently move them outward toward the case so the first memory stick is loose and flips up. Then remove the sick by pulling it straight out toward the right side of the case.
  12. RAM memory

  13. Then place the first memory module you removed to the side out of the way. So at this point you have the first stick out, and will see the second one still inside the Mac.
  14. sliding a RAM chip out of place

  15. Now take out the second memory stick the same way you took out the first, and set it aside.
  16. removing a memory stick

  17. At this point there should be no memory in the Mac Mini, and the two sticks that came with it are set aside.
  18. a mac mini with no memory

  19. Now bring over the new RAM sticks you purchased and take them out of their packaging.
  20. unpacking new RAM

  21. Replace the new stick of RAM in the bottom slot first. Make sure the notch on the memory stick is lined up correctly. Slide it in and snap it down. Don’t try to force it in, it’s an easy process and the RAM should just slide into the slot easily.
  22. inserting a new memory stick into a Mac Mini

  23. So, now you should have the stick on the bottom replaced, and only have one more to go.
  24. updated

  25. Slide in the second stick of RAM into the top slot.
  26. second memory module

  27. Then gently push it down into place. Again, don’t try to force them in if it’s not lined up correctly. Take your time and make sure the upgrade goes successfully.
  28. a mac mini with newly installed RAM

  29. There you go! Now you have the two new sticks of RAM in your Mac Mini. Just a few more steps and you’ll be ready to experience a faster macOS.
  30. an upgraded computer

  31. Grab the bottom cover you set aside, line it up, and snap it back into place.
  32. putting the bottom lid back on a mac mini

  33. You’re done! Flip your Mac Mini back over and hook it back up with the power cord, monitor, Keyboard and Mouse, and whatever else you had plugged into it.
  34. a mac mini

  35. Time to see if the new RAM works and is identified by macOS. Turn on the machine and after it boots up, click on the Apple icon on the Upper left corner of the screen and click About This Mac.
  36. the apple menu with an arrow pointing at About This Mac

  37. Now you should see the new amount of memory on your system where in this case we swapped out 2 GB for 8 GB.
  38. the about macOS screen with a summary of memory

  39. If for any reason the old amount of RAM is showing, check this article on how to get your mac to recognize newly installed RAM. That is all there is to it! Rather than taking your Mac Mini to the Geek Squad or an Apple Store, and paying way too much for a simple process, this guide should help you save some money by doing it yourself.

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6 thoughts on “How To Upgrade the Memory (RAM) In a Mac Mini”

  1. The pictures in this blog is a lot of help. The kind of computer when putting a RAM is just like putting a battery to a clock. Its a piece of cake. Thanks.

  2. @Webomatica: Yeah, they are nice little boxes. Not very upgradeable other than the memory. Maybe the HD too, I haven’t looked into that yet. But if I do…be sure I’ll write an article up on it!

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