How to upgrade MacBook Pro hard drive with Solid State Drive?

Solid state hard drives are flash based memory storage devices that are free from mechanical components such as spinning disk and read/write heads. They are faster, shock resistant and consume less power compared to traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDD). Solid State Drive, also produces less heat due to the absence of mechanical parts and have lower power consumption. Though SSDs are more expensive than traditional HDDs, they do offer a reliable and robust storage. New SSDs can be bought from manufacturers like OWC, Samsung and Transcend, which are easily available, online. Apart from being expensive, one more downside to SSDs is being susceptible to data loss. It is wise to think of using SSDs for processing tasks and using HDDs for storing all data and file that are infrequently used.

Latest MacBook Pro models are already available with a flash storage. Previous models having HDDs can be upgraded to SSDs which will offer good enough speed for various operations. 

Considerations before buying a new SSD

Since you have decided to upgrade the MacBook Pro, it is worth spending some time thinking on following points before finalising the purchase.

  1. Since SSDs are quite expensive, decide on how much extra storage space is required compared to the current capacity. If the primary preference is to speed up the system and store most frequently used apps on the primary disk, you may buy an SSD with a smaller storage capacity (ex. 128GB) and use the old HDD as the secondary storage. On the contrary, if a lot of photos and video editing is done on the system or data heavy tasks are performed on the system, an SSD with more storage capacity is preferable. This will boost the working speed on the Mac system. 
  2. Check for the SSD support on MacBook Pro. New MacBook Pro with retina display comes with SSD already present on them and a PCIe interface, which will not be compatible with currently available SSDs. Also, new models with SSDs do not allow upgrading except few of them. MacBook bought prior to 2012 can be upgraded using available SSDs.
The Process of Upgrading

Upgrading the MacBook Pro is quite straightforward and can be easily accomplished. A reliable Mac hard drive cloning software will be required in this process and its use will be discussed later in this article.

  • To start the process, connect the new SSD to the MacBook and launch the disk utility application from Applications > Disk Utility. From the menu displayed on the left, select the SSD drive connected and Erase the disk keeping the format as “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)”.

  • Next, the existing data and settings need to be copied (cloned) on the new SSD. For this purpose, Stellar Drive Clone software can be used since it provides the facility to copy exactly what is stored on the old HDD to the new SSD. Also, it creates an image which acts as a data backup. Creating a clone is a time-consuming process and may last for few hours or more depending on the amount of data stored on the MacBook hard drive. 

  • After cloning is complete, shutdown the system and replace the HDD with the SSD. There are also many videos available online regarding the same. Now it is all set to boot up from the new SSD. Initially, while booting up the system may take some time to adjust with the new Solid State Drive, but, it will boost the system speed later. The removed HDD can be used an external storage device to store less important data and files.
More On Stellar Clone Drive

Stellar Clone Drive is utility software that replicates the existing volumes on the drive to the new SSD. Apart from that, it can also create an image of the contents residing on existing drive which will serve as a backup in case a loss of data occurs. 

Precautions to take while upgrading the MacBook Pro

  • Replacing an HDD with an SSD is an easy to accomplish process but, following precautions needs to be taken to ensure a successful upgrade and proper functioning of the system.

  • While cloning process is running, ensure that power supply is constant. If the cloning is interrupted, the SSD may not function as desired and this may also damage the SSD.

  • In the course of replacing the HDD with SSD, take great care not to damage the SATA cable connected to the HDD. Also, try not to touch the end of the cable that connects the drive as this may damage the cable. The damage to SATA cable can become a costly affair since it may damage the whole system altogether.

Always be aware of and take precautions against the static charge that may accumulate on the components of the system. 


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