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Holy Shit, the New iMacs Have Upgradable RAM and CPUs

The shift back to user-upgradable parts suggests that Apple is finally beginning to listen to consumers who don’t want to buy disposable electronics.

Caroline Haskins

Caroline Haskins

Image: iFixit

If you've been frustrated with being unable to upgrade your Apple computers, we've got good news for you.

iFixit tore down the new 21.5-inch iMac with 4K display and found it has user-replaceable RAM sticks and a replaceable CPU, the first 21.5-inch iMac with upgradable RAM since 2013. It's the first iMac with an upgradable CPU since 2012. This is of course great news for consumers, because a few years down the line you'll be able to improve your computer's performance and extend its usable life. Great news for the environment.

Though the 27" iMac has had user-replaceable RAM, Apple used soldered-in RAM sticks on recent models of its smaller iMacs. It currently sells no upgradable MacBooks or MacBook Pros.

The shift back to user-upgradable parts suggests that Apple is finally beginning to listen to consumers who don't want to buy disposable electronics (especially when they cost upwards of $1,000).

This was an unexpected move: iFixit said in a statement that "hell hath—indeed—frozen over." But there is evidence that Apple is making a slow shift back toward modularity. Early reports suggest that next year's Mac Pro will be highly modular.

Overall, this is great news for consumers and computer repair professionals specializing in Apple computers, who have been worried at a general shift away from upgradability and repairability over the past couple of years.