How to Swap SSDs Between MacBooks?

Today many owners of Mac computers, especially of earlier models, are looking for a simple and budget-friendly way to upgrade their machines. If you are one of those users who’d like to improve your Mac’s performance and enlarge its capacity, you should consider installing an SSD (otherwise called a Flash Drive) on it. The process of installation is not complicated, and with some expert advice and a step-by-step tutorial can be done even at home on your own. You can always ask for professional help in the Apple Store, too.

Those users, who chose to install an SSD on their Mac at home, or swap it from their older device to a new one, may face a few issues. In this article, we provide a short overview of possible problems with transferring an SSD from one MacBook to another. Before we go into detail, let’s say a few words about SSD drives and their benefits for your Apple device.

What You should know about SSD’s and their benefits for a Mac

Installing an SSD (short for “solid-state drive”) on your Mac is an easy and handy way to enlarge its storage space, as well as to considerably boost the device’s productivity. The speed of performance and the responsiveness of a Mac equipped with an SSD may change almost drastically as compared to its usual. SSD’s are silent, robust, smaller and lighter than regular hard disk drives. They make data be written and read hundreds of times faster: launch apps, download pages and copy files in no time.

SSD’s come in forms of internal and external/portable drives.

Internal SSD drives provide the best possible speed having dedicated controllers of memory in them; they should be your first choice.

External SSD drives connect to your device through the Thunderbolt or USB port; due to this, their speeds are somewhat limited. However, they work perfect as a portable and easy-to-install device, still significantly boosting the performance of your Mac.

Even though SSD’s are more expensive than regular hard disks, nowadays they are affordable for just about any user. Their prices generally start with around $100; the more storage space an SSD drive provides, the pricier it is. Some of the best and most reliable brands are Transcend, Samsung, Toshiba, SanDisk, etc.

Swapping an SSD between two MacBooks

Using an SSD drive is more than just a simple way to upgrade the performance of your Mac. Swapping SSD from one MacBook to another lets you migrate all your important data easily, as well as save all settings in your OS X or macOS, keep all bookmarks and logins in your browser, etc. If transferring of SSD is done correctly, and the drive is compatible with your new device, it will save you the hustle of adjusting all of the settings manually.

However, you still may experience some difficulties which can be caused by a number of reasons.

If your new device doesn’t “see” the SSD drive after you have booted it, it may show a file folder question mark on its screen which means that it can’t find a bootable volume in that place which was last recorded the preferences of the Startup Drive.

To find out if any bootable volumes are available, you should hold the Option key down at Startup; keep waiting up to five minutes to see an icon for each of the possibly bootable Volumes appear. Their icons may not appear until the whole “calculation” of data amount process is completed. When the Volume you need finally appears, you should select its icon and then proceed with transferring data. After, make sure to properly set the Startup Drive.

One of the most common problems is the difference between the hardware drivers on the two devices. Typically, drivers are “multiple” builds and are unique to each Mac version. Use Migration Assistant on your Mac to help you out in the process of transferring.

If the drivers are the same/compatible, but you still experience some problems with the process of transferring data, you should first check the connection between the hard drive cable and the hard drive, as well as the connection between the hard drive cable and the logic board.

Let’s sum up

  • SSD drive is a handy way to boost the performance of your MacBook, as well as to transfer your data from your previous device to the new one.
  • When installing an SSD manually on your own check the connection between hard drive, its cable and the logic board.
  • Check on all of the bootable Volumes available.
  • Use Migration Assistant app on Mac to help you.
  • If you can’t solve the problem, ask for expert advice and help.