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Replacing Your AirPort Card: iMac User Tips

written by: •edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 12/13/2010

Problems with an AirPort card might result in you having to remove or replace the device. This guide explains how to remove such a device on Apple G4 and G5 iMacs

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    How Do You Remove an Airport Card?

    One of the advantages of using an Apple computer is the seemingly effortless means by which they can connect to wireless networks. This is thanks to the AirPort card, effectively a wireless network card that has a home within the body of the iMac or MacBook computer.

    However the deep integration of these cards with the other hardware on the computer means that removal of such a component can be tricky.

    In the event of the card developing problems, however, removal may become necessary – but how do you take apart an iMac and remove an AirPort card?

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    Before You Start

    As you probably know, there are different models of iMac. The modern version has a simple L-shaped stand supporting the integrated monitor and computer, whereas older iMacs had a hemisphere stand in which the computer itself and the AirPort card were housed.

    This means that there are two ways of getting into your computer, depending on which design of iMac you own.

    Explaining how to open the iMac is an important step, so before dealing with replacing the AirPort card, I’m going to cover opening your computer.

    First things first – shutdown your iMac and disconnect from the mains electricity. Once this is done, find a suitably sized piece of fabric such as a towel and place this on a large, flat surface, which may or may not be your desk. Next, place your iMac face down on the towel – this will protect the display and front facia from damage and scratches.

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    Opening Your G4 iMac

    Replacing Your Airport Card: iMac User Tips If you own a G4 iMac with the hemisphere base, you will need to loosen four screws. These are “captive screws" which means that they cannot be fully removed, so you don’t need to worry about keeping them safe.

    Once loosened, the base plate can be removed. Before proceeding and making contact with the base plate or the inside of your iMac, discharge yourself of any static electricity by holding the screwdriver against a radiator. With the base plate removed, you should see the AirPort card.

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    Opening a G5/Intel iMac

    Replacing Your Airport Card: iMac User Tips Things are a little different for G5 and Intel iMacs. With the computer face-down on a towel, you will need to identify the three screws, situated equidistant apart along the bottom of the computer – the portion of the iMac that usually faces your desk.

    These are “captive screws" so you will only need to turn them until they stop – they cannot be removed. Unscrew anticlockwise in order to release the catches inside the iMac at either side, and then grab the L-shaped foot and lift, allowing it to pivot at the top of the computer slightly before pulling it towards you to remove completely.

    You will see the AirPort card just left of centre.

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    Removing the AirPort Card

    This is the simple part – a small cable is connected to the card, and all you need to do is to gently pull this to remove it.

    Next, pull the tab on the AirPort card to unseat it from its housing. The card is now removed from your iMac and you can replace it with a new one by following the previous instructions in reverse.

    Similarly your iMac can be put back together by reversing the instructions given for your particular model.

    (Images via apple.com)