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Today I want to talk about the upgrade paths available for for Macbooks , Macbook Pros and Macbook Air notebooks and the steps involved in performing these upgrades.

This guide is also applicable if your Mac SSD or Hard Drive is failing and requires replacement.

Macbook & Macbook Pros Non- Retina  2012 & earlier

These machines use a standard 2.5 inch hard drive with a sata interface the type found in most laptops see picture mid right.

These can be easily upgraded to a modern 2.5 Solid State drive see pic far right and are highly recommended as they can breathe new life into your ageing Mac

Macbook Pro Hard Drive
Macbook Pro drive replacement

MacBook Air (Mid 2013 – Early 2014)

Mac Pro (Late 2013)

MacBook Pro (Late 2013 – Mid 2014)

MacBook Air (Early 2015 – Mid 2017)

MacBook Pro (Early 2015 – Mid 2015)

The image right is of an after market OWC SSD for the above mac models and has the proprietary 12 + 16 connection. There are actually 2 separate types of this SSD

  • The original pre 2015 SSDs use an Apple proprietary PCIe 2.0 x2 interface however after 2015 the drive used a PCIe 3.0 protocol to the SSD, giving them the doubled read / write speeds.

 

Mac Repairs replace SSD

Upgrading these drives requires the right firmware is installed before upgrade replacement and Installation of a Fresh copy of the Mac OS.

In this case we the High Sierra OS so that the following steps need to be followed

  1.      Original (faulty) SSD in Mac
  2.        Formatted and connected a USB external disc drive.
  3.        Use recovery mode to install MacOS Mavericks on the USB drive
  4.        Restarted mac with the USB drive as boot
  5.        Updated MacOS to High Sierra (this fixes the firmware issue with the SSD)
  6.        Shut down the Mac
  7.        Removed the faulty SSD and installed the new OWC Aura SDD
  8.        Restarted the Mac from the USB drive with High Sierra
  9.        Use disk utility to partition the SSD
  10.       Downloaded MacOS High Sierra from the app store
  11.       Installed MacOS (again) and chose the OWC Aura SSD as the destination
  12.       Restarted Mac, installation completed
  13.       Shut down the mac and unplugged the USB drive

MacBook Pro (Late 2016 – Mid 2017) non touch

This upgrade is a little different as we can use a specialized adapter for these macs and a regular M2 NVM Pcie solid state drive. It needs to have the 2242 form factor and I use the Sabrent range as I found these to be compatible.  There various other makes of M2 2242 drives which are not compatible and will not be detected.

Mac Repairs SSD upgrade

Upgrading these drives requires the right firmware is installed before upgrade replacement and Installation of a Fresh copy of the Mac OS.

IN this case we Mojave or higher OS so that the following steps need to be followed

  1.       Original (faulty) SSD in Mac
  2.        Formatted and connected a USB external disc drive.
  3.        Use recovery mode to install MacOS Mojave  on the USB drive
  4.        Restarted mac with the USB drive as boot
  5.        Updated MacOS to Mojave (this fixes the firmware issue with the SSD)
  6.        Shut down the Mac
  7.        Removed the faulty SSD and installed the new Sabrent SSD.
  8.        Restarted the Mac from the USB drive with Mojave
  9.        Use disk utility to partition the SSD
  10.      Downloaded MacOS Big Sur from the app store
  11.      Installed MacOS (again) and chose the Sabrent  SSD as the destination
  12.      Restarted Mac, installation completed
  13.      Shut down the mac and unplugged the USB drive

There are other flavours of Mac I have not mentioned here eg the Macbook Pro 2012 with retina which use a different 7+17 proprietary SSD which there are available after market products. Most macbooks , and macbook airs after 2018 do not have replaceable drives.