Apple Compatible SSD Drives – How to Upgrade your Mac to SSD
Perhaps you have an ancient MacBook Pro that is starting to show it’s age in the speed stakes. Or perhaps you are the proud owner of a newer Mac that could still benefit from a speed boost, more often than not the most beneficial yet cost effective upgrade you can make to your Mac system is the installation of an SSD. Most portable Mac systems already fully utilise Solid State Drives as the storage of choice for the Mac Operating system, as well as a few selected boot up programs and life or death applications like FinalCut Pro and PhotoShop. However they are often higher in price per GB and often these systems arrive with modest 128-512GB SSD drives pre-installed. These days you can pick up 1 and 2TB SSD Drives at surprisingly lower cost per Gigabyte prices and it can all too often be too appealing an idea to make the jump from mechanical HDD to NAND chip based SSD.
So, to business! In order to fully complete the change to SSD for your MacBook, Mac Mini or iMac, you will need the tools for the job.
Tools you need:
- A 2.5-inch SATA SSD
- SATA-to-USB patch cable, enclosure or docking station
- Tiny flathead screwdriver
- Torx head screwdriver
- SuperDuper Software
Step 1: Prep the SSD
First off you need to connect your SSD to your Mac with a dock, casing or SATA-to-USB Patch cable. Once it’s attached, launch the Disk Utility application (if it isn’t already on your dock at the bottom, you can find it among the apps), and find the external SSD from the left list (showing all the individual drives and save locations). Once you have it highlighted, click the Erase button at the top of the window, then confirm. This will format and empty the drive ready for the MAC OS installation. You do not need to change the partitions or name, as the software will do the rest.
Next, launch an application such as SuperDuper or Apple Time Machine to clone/replicate your Mac’s existing hard drive onto the Solid State Drive. Once the option to ‘Backup All Files’ appears, select Copy Now and then the Mac will get to work duplicating your data dn teh OS onto the SSD for later.
The length of time this takes is heavily dependant on the size of the drive and the power for the Apple Mac. However it can run from as little as 30 minutes or as much as 2-3 hours. DO NOT disconnect the drive unless it completes or your mac clearly displays an error requiring you start over. When the duplication of your data and OS is done, power down your Mac and disconnect the SSD.
Step 2: Remove the hard drive
Ensure your Mac is still powered off. The exact specifics to how to dismantle the casing of your Mac to reach the SSD differ from MacBook to iMac to Mac Mini and I recommend visiting HERE to find more specific guidelines on removing the former HDD and installing the SSD. After you have removed the HDD. don’t forget that you can still use the HDD to store your data as an external hard drive (you will need a 2.5″ case or a dock for it to live in) or as an Apple Time Machine backup.
Step 3: Booting the SSD
Now power on your Mac system. This may take a fraction longer than normal the first time around as the internal motherboard acclimates itself with the newly installed SSD hardware. However this will only happen the first time and after you reach the Mac Desktop, all your data and applications will be where you left them. However now your system will boot itself as well as individual programs 5-10x faster than before.
Recommended SSD to Buy for your MacBook SSD Upgrade
|OCZ TR150 SSD (was Trion 150) TRN150-25SAT3-960G|
|The WD Blue SSD Series
250GB – 1TB
120GB. 240GB and 480GBSA400S37/120GSA400S37/240GSA400S37/480G