How to Upgrade Your MacBook Pro with an SSD?

The 13-inch MacBook Pro models come equipped with PCIe-based onboard solid-state drives with a minimum capacity of 128GB. Meanwhile, the 15–inch devices ship with 256GB SSDs by default. The great news is all modern Macs are configurable to larger SSD capacity of up to 2TB. In case you are using an older Mac equipped with an HDD, upgrading it with an SSD a must. In combination with a RAM upgrade your Apple computer will experience an instant performance boost.

What SSD Capacity Do You Need?

Speaking of an SSD capacity, the bigger, the better. However, there is also a pricing factor involved. In 2017, 256GB is a bare minimum, so you need to opt for at least 500GB-1TB. The high-end systems may require the SSD size of up to 4TB that will cost you $1,500 roughly. Given, you’re making a one-time purchase, ensure it is cost-effective. Also, there is a vast choice of the internal and external drives.

Which SSD Models Are MacBook Pro Compatible?

The market is saturated with solid-state drives produced by different manufacturers. Still, MacBook Pro users need to know the SSD make and model compatible with their device. Among the positively acclaimed SSDs (both internal and external) in 2017 are:


Samsung 850 Evo

Toshiba Q300 (2016)

Samsung Portable SSD T3

Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt

Transcend StoreJet 500 Portable SSD

Adata SE730

SanDisk Extreme 500 Portable SSD

Transcend ESD400K SuperSpeed

As for the compatibility concerns, Macs made between 2006-2012 come packed with SATA drives. A typical MacBook Pro with Retina display produced in 2012 is compatible with third-party copies of Apple’s mSATA-like drive. Upgrading the internal storage medium to an SSD or a custom flash drive will significantly boost the speed and performance of the above devices. MacBooks manufactured after 2013 arrive with a PCIe-based onboard SSD configurable to SSDs with a maximum capacity of 2TB.

How to Replace an SSD in a MacBook Pro?

Before starting any SSD replacement, check if you have an SSD, a USB enclosure for an external drive, and a screwdriver toolkit. To transfer the data from your old drive to the new one, you can:

  • create a clone copy of your old SSD drive;
  • install the new SSD into the hard drive bay, connect an old drive via the enclosure and boot from it.
  1. Install the SSD into the USB enclosure and plug it up.
  2. Go to Applications -> Utilities -> launch Disk Utility.
  3. Erase and format an SSD as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) with a single partition.
  4. Use a third-party cloning utility to create a clone copy of your hard drive and transfer it to the SSD.
  5. For earlier Mac OS versions, choose to copy the Recovery Partition to the SSD.
  6. When finished, reboot your Mac holding down the Option key. Note: select the SSD as the boot drive.
  7. Alternatively, install your new SSD into the MacBook Pro and connect the old drive with a USB enclosure, then boot from it.
  8. After that, boot from the enclosed hard drive using the Disk Utility to format the SSD and clone the data from the old drive to the new one.