Storage in new Macs is soldered to the logic board. Except when it isn't.

iMac on the desktop
iMac on the desktop (Image credit: Mike Matthews/iMore)

What you need to know

  • The new 2020 iMac comes with storage that's soldered to the logic board.
  • But the higher capacity options have an extra expansion board.
  • Either way, none of it is user-replaceable.

Following previous reports that the new 27-inch iMac comes with its SSD soldered to the logic board, we now have confirmation via an internal Apple document. But in typical Apple fashion, it isn't quite that simple.

After German site first reported the soldered SSD situation, MacRumors was able to get hold of internal Apple documentation that is meant for its technicians. According to that document, storage is indeed soldered to the logic board as we thought. But things get complicated if the iMac has the larger capacity SSDs. That's the 4TB and 8TB options, for those wondering.

In the document, Apple says that the flash storage is indeed affixed to the logic board and cannot be removed. However, for the 4TB and 8TB configurations, Apple says that a flash storage expansion board is attached to a connector on the logic board. In the 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB configurations, the expansion board and connector are not present.

Regardless of your configuration, you won't be replacing the SSD on your own. And even if you could, you'd lose all your data at best. Even worse, Apple also confirmed in the document that the T2 security chip means a new logic board will also mean any and all data will be lost.

Back everything up, folks!

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.