If you are considering replacing your iMac or MacBook hard drive to increase its speed, do not do so until you read this article.
If you have an old, slow MacBook or iMac, the best thing you can do to bring it back to life is to replace the traditional hard disk drive (HD) with a solid-state drive (SSD).
Although Macs have a reputation for being difficult to repair, this is not always true.
Hard disk (or SSD) is a component you can usually replace, especially on older Macs.
Here’s how to find out if you can replace yours and how to do it.
Can changing the hard drive to an SSD boost your iMac or old MacBook?
There is a reason why all modern computers use SSDs.
They are more energy-efficient, more reliable, and quieter than hard drives with magnetic spinning disks.
Also, they are not that expensive.
Replacing the old hard drive with a modern SSD is surprisingly affordable and results in up to five times faster performance:
A respectable Crucial 480 GB SSD (which I recommend and use on my iMac) can be purchased for just over $ 300, while 1TB options are available for about $ 800 – both considerably cheaper than a new MacBook.
It’s also straightforward to change even if you are not familiar with Mac hardware.
A new SSD drive for your Mac will have an immediate impact.
Applications will launch faster, files will be saved more quickly, and multitasking will be a much smoother experience.
What is your Mac model?
Before you can do anything, you need to make sure which model of Mac you have.
Just calling it the MacBook Pro is not enough, as there are several different MacBook Pro models from several years old.
To find out which model you have, click on the Apple logo in the upper left corner of the menu bar and select the “About this Mac” option.
On the Overview tab, you will see the exact model of your Mac.
This will help find out if you can upgrade your Mac hard drive and find the right parts by searching for your exact model.
What Macs can you upgrade?
If your Mac is older, you can certainly upgrade your hard drive, but not all newer models can be upgraded. The new Macs you can upgrade are:
- MacBook Core 2 Duo
- MacBook Unibody
- MacBook Pro 13 ″ (2009-2012)
- MacBook Pro 13 “with Retina display (Late 2012-Early 2015)
- MacBook Pro 15 ″ (2008-2012)
- Retina display MacBook Pro 15 ″ (mid-2012 to mid-2015)
- MacBook Pro 17 ″ (all models)
- MacBook Air 11 ″ (all models)
- MacBook Air 13 ″ (all models)
- Mac Mini (all models)
- iMac (all models)
- iMac Pro (all models)
- Mac Pro (all models)
This means that Mac models on which you cannot upgrade the hard disk are:
- MacBook Retina (all models)
- MacBook Pro 13″ (2016-2017)
- MacBook Pro 13 “with Touch Bar (all models)
- 15 “MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (all models)
This may change if a third-party manufacturer can create a compatible hard drive, but for now, you will need to go to an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider if you need to replace the hard drive.
What to consider when choosing a MacBook Pro SSD
To reap the benefits of an SSD, you need a drive that is ready for the job.
Here is what to consider:
Read / Write Speed – SSDs are rated for reading and write speed. The higher the speed, the better the performance.
Something in the 500 MB or so range is good, although the actual speed is about a third less than advertised.
Memory – MLC (multilevel cell) and SLC (single-level cell) are the two options available. The former is cheaper and able to contain more information, but the latter is more reliable.
Capacity – Get as much space as possible. The larger the capacity of an SSD, the more it will benefit Mac’s performance.
Reliability – Read the comments. See what experts and other users say about SSD performance and reliability.
You will usually find that famous brand SSDs are the most recommended. Samsung, SanDisk, Crucial, King Spec, and Transcend are prominent brands.
Consider increasing RAM
There are two internal items to your MacBook and iMac that impact processing speed and power: HD / SSD and RAM. Correct both, and you can make your Mac work like new equipment.
You need at least 8 GB of RAM for macOS Catalina.
If you have 10GB or 12GB, the machine will be fine. 16GB will make it amazing.
However, if you choose to upgrade RAM or SSD, choose to buy a new SSD. With 8 GB and an SSD, you will already have a super-fast Mac.
Upgrading RAM is easy, but swapping the hard drive for an SSD is a bit more difficult. However, it is not impossible.
How to swap hard drive for SSD on macOS
Although it is possible to replace the hard drive on any Mac not listed above.
The difficulty varies greatly by model.
The MacBook is designed in a way that you can replace the hard disk with ease. While an iMac requires you to remove the entire screen.
If you do not feel safe to apply the necessary techniques, consider asking a more qualified friend for help, or even looking for professionals.
Remember that after upgrading the hard drive, you will need to install macOS again.