Replace the hard disk for an SSD in a Mac

– Update: 3 juli 2016 –

If you have a MacBook / iMac without SSD, you can replace the old hard drive and put in an SSD drive. The difference is huge. Even 7 year old models will run fast and smooth. I replaced drives in my 2009 iMac, 2010 MacBook Pro and 2010 Air. No need to buy a new Mac!

Before you buy an SSD, first verify your Mac’s model number (click the Apple symbol at the left top, then “About this Mac > System Report”) and Google the right SSD drive for it. The new disk must have the same capacity or bigger, so if your old drive is 500GB you cannot use a 250Gb. Don’t forget to make a complete backup with Time Machine.

Then you’ll have to migrate or clone your old Mac to the new drive. You can do that in various ways.  If you have an external enclosure in which you can put TWO drives, you can clone with a touch of a button. You won’t even need a computer or software. If you have an external enclosure for ONE drive, follow these steps:

  1. Attach your new drive and start your Mac while holding ⌘-R
  2. From there, choose Disk Utility (or Time Machine, see below).
  3. Format your new drive (Mac OS Extended Journaled)
  4. Then choose Restore, still in Disk Utility.
    Drag you original drive in the top box, and your new drive in the bottom box. It will clone your drive now.
  5. If it is done, choose “Repair Disk Permissions” on your new drive, in Disk Utility  > First Aid tab
Start a Mac holding ⌘-R to get these Restore options

If you don’t have an external enclosure, you can choose Restore from Time Machine Backup in step 2.

To open your Mac and replace the drives, follow the guidelines on An iMac can be difficult, but most MacBooks are very easy.

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