Once upon a time, Apple made it straightforward to crack open a Mac, take away a tough drive, and exchange it with a brand new one when the outdated drive was now not working, too gradual, or of inadequate capability. Those days are lengthy gone for many Macs, leaving readers to surprise what the very best path ahead is.
You have successfully three choices:
- Check iFixIt and different on-line guides to see how tough it’s to switch an inner drive. Depending on the mannequin, it might be comparatively straightforward for Macs launched by means of 2014. For occasion, a 2014 MacEbook Pro requires simply unscrewing the again case, unscrewing the SSD, and changing it with an Apple-compatible SSD.
- Consider hiring a store to improve your drive. For some Macs launched within the 2010s, particularly iMacs, an improve or substitute requires eradicating and reinstalling lots of screws, cables, and seals. Of course, think about labor prices: it might value $150 to $250 simply to open up and shut the pc.
- Add an exterior drive through FireWire 800, USB 3, or Thunderbolt 2 or 3 (and even 4).
The final possibility is essentially the most easy and works with any Mac. While I’m stretching again years once I deliver up FireWire 800, if that’s the quickest connection in your Mac, it’s a better option than USB 2.0 (800Mbps versus 480Mbps). (However, observe that in case your Mac has FireWire 800 and never USB 3 and it isn’t an iMac, it doubtless has a simple drive substitute possibility.)
External SSDs as much as 1TB and exterior laborious disk drives (HDDs) of many terabytes have dropped to extremely reasonably priced costs. Match the drive to the interface you may have: there’s no sense in shopping for a high-performance SSD that may ship 2 GBps (18Gbps) and plugging it into USB 3.0, which maxes out at 625MBps (5Gbps). However, in case you have a pc new sufficient to have a Thunderbolt 2 (20Gbps) or 3 or 4 (40Gbps) interface, you’ll be able to go for a superfast SSD if that matches your funds and desires.
I upgraded my 2017 Intel iMac to a 1TB Thunderbolt 3 SSD in 2020, dramatically enhancing its efficiency. The iMac died abruptly (at almost 5 years outdated) in 2021, and I opted to shift to an M1 Mac mini. Rather than pay the premium for Apple’s 1TB inner drive on that mannequin, I purchased one with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, then migrated my iMac’s system to the exterior drive through a Thunderbolt 4 connection.
Later, I noticed my Photos library was too gradual on an exterior HDD. (I’ve two exterior 8TB HDDs for Time Machine backups and media storage.) To enhance efficiency, I migrated my Photos library to a reasonable 1TB USB 3 SSD, as described in “How to move your Mac’s Photos library to an SSD for better performance.”
You have a number of totally different choices in which you’ll be able to combine HDDs, slower SSDs, and sooner SSDs to seek out the correct mix.
With a laptop computer, you might discover an exterior drive irritating to handle whereas touring, however spending $100 to $300 for an exterior SSD would possibly keep away from a value after trade-in of tons of to properly over $1,000.
This Mac 911 article is in response to a query submitted by Macworld reader Julie.
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