Apple is releasing some cool new desktop Macs again, but people are still making lots of fun projects using older Apple machines. A fun example we spotted recently (h/t Contribution) was this mod by someone named Connor, who took the internals of an M1 Mac Mini and put them into one of Apple’s most iconic desktop computers, the iMac G4.
As Connor shows in a YouTube video, the G4 still has all of its original features after its mod – it can play DVDs from an internal drive (although they had to swap out the original, which got is connected via IDE) – and at first glance it was not changed at all. But with the screen on, it’s obvious the computer is running modern macOS Monterey, instead of OS X 10.5 Snow Leopard, the latest operating system that officially supported the G4’s stock hardware.
Connor is far from the first person to modify the iMac G4. Their message even quotes another MacRumors user who has done a G4 build based on M1 and gives credit to a guide by (often quoted in the Mac modding community) Dremel Junkie. YouTube research reveals that many others have made G4 mods. You’ll find a few Hackintosh PC builds, a Raspberry Pi-based arcade machine, upgrades and restores, and even someone who turned it into an external display. The edge even created one – one of our producers, Creighton DeSimone, modified a G4 using a Surface tablet so the hosts of a live YouTube show could use it.
It’s no wonder people are drawn to the idea of doing fun things with this computer. It has a unique design (as long as you don’t compare it to lamps), but its internals are old enough that you won’t risk much by tearing it apart.
For me, however, Connor’s build is the gold standard when it comes to doing this kind of mod. It retains fun things like the CD drive and screen from the original, while updating parts that were old and creaky, like the computer and I/O. They also posted an incredibly in-depth look at their process on the MacRumors forum, so if you’re interested in all the blood, sweat, and complicated electronics work that went into this mod, be sure to check it out.
When I dropped this mod in our Slack, Edge editor Nilay Patel replied “I want it so badly.” I totally agree, but considering the amount of work that went into making it, I think I’ll stick to admiring it on YouTube for now.