I have a problem with the iMac 27 2012 .. At startup the folder tag appears

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Then when you go to Recovery mode and go to disk utility the internal disk is not found so I can’t format or reinstall macOS.

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I run Apple Hardware Test by pressing (D)

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How can I recover my Mac?


Your harddisk or solid state disk is missing. Either the disk is damaged or the connection is damaged. This is almost always a hardware problem. Replacing the cable and/or drive does not have to be expensive and might be worth the repair effort.


The icon you are receiving indicates that your computer is unable to find a suitable operating system (OS).

Your internal disk does not appear in disk utility or diskutil list. Either it is physically disconnected or the more likely answer: dead. I would suggest you bring it into a local Apple Store. The Geniuses will be able to tell you the issue for free. You can decide if you would like to pay to have the disk replaced (assuming death is correct) or to get a new Mac entirely.

Either way you shouldn't lose too much data because you have been making consistent backups very often, right?

  • 2
    If the disk doesn't appear inside Disk Utility, it doesn't mean it's corrupted, it's either disconnected or dead. – pixelomer Jul 21 '18 at 9:42
  • @pixelomer You are correct. See edits. – JBis Jul 21 '18 at 15:47

One way to boot the computer to macOS would be to connect a USB 3.0 external drive (HDD/SSD) to the iMac. Boot to internet recovery and install macOS on the external drive. (You may need to first run the Disk Utility to create a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or APFS volume.) Once the iMac is up and running, you can open the System Information application and view the status of the internal SATA/SATA Express hardware.

The most likely cause of your problem would be the failure of the internal drive. You could continue to use the iMac using the external drive or replace the internal drive. An example video of the replacement procedure can be found at this OWC website.

Often, it is possible to put a internal drive in a USB 3.0 shell which can be externally connected to the iMac. If the internal drive needs to be replaced, you then exchange the bad drive with the drive in the shell.

If you decide to use a external drive, you may want to consider a thunderbolt SSD drive. These types of drives will give you the maximum performance.

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