How to install an SSD in MacBook

Solid drive is great. With it, the OS starts faster, and heavy utilities do not slow down. But what about the owners of MacBook and iMac, in whose devices are conventional HDDs? It is better, of course, to contact a service center, but you can try your hand at inserting an SSD disk instead of a hard drive or floppy drive (for older models) yourself. This article explains how to do this.

Before starting work, you should remember:

  • To install a ssd in a MacBook, you need good dexterity. If you are not confident in your abilities, it is better to consult a specialist;
  • Installing an SSD in a Mac requires disassembling the laptop, which violates the warranty;
  • Not all ssd-shki are suitable for MacBooks: after installing an incompatible one, you will have to activate TRIM yourself. It’s not difficult: the article contains instructions.

SSD Installation Options on Mac

Where to insert the solid state drive in your iMac or MacBook? You can put a disc in two ways:

  1. Install it instead of the classic hard drive standing in the case. The good thing is that if the MacBook has a floppy drive, it will remain. However, there is also a minus: if the HDD is still in service, then they will have to be sacrificed.
  2. Put the SSD in Optibay – a special expansion slot, and that, in turn, replace the optical drive. This method is only suitable for those Apple laptops that still have this drive, as most newer models no longer have it. In this case, you will not be able to put the drive back into the laptop, but you can leave the old hard drive. However, you can use the optical drive as an external device by purchasing a special adapter.

Necessary tools

Before proceeding with installing a solid state drive in your MacBook, it is worth preparing all the necessary tools. In addition to an iMac compatible SSD or mSATA / M.2-SATA with an appropriate adapter, the user will need:

  • Screwdrivers: classic Phillips and Hex.
  • Plastic paddles for the repair of mobile devices . One edge of such a tool is sharp – just what you need to pry on tightly fitting parts. Such a spatula is also good because it cannot scratch or otherwise damage the Mac case.
  • Double sided tape.
  • Suction cup glass holders (two pieces): Required when installing ssd in your iMac.
  • If you need to insert an SSD instead of a floppy drive, you will also need an Optibay adapter.
  • If the user wants to restore the operating system, he will also need a SATA-USB adapter or external drive.

So, everything you need to install ssd in iMac is at hand. Now it is worth considering the nuances of preparation.

Other things to consider:

  • To successfully transfer the OS to ssd, it is necessary that the data on the hard drive take up no more space than the capacity of the solid-state drive and external storage medium allows .
  • If you do not plan to use Optibay: Before transferring your system, you should back it up to an external storage device.
  • If you plan to use Optibay, a backup copy is not needed: in this case, the information from the MacBook is copied, and the system is transferred to the SSD during the initial OS setup.

Life hack : you can copy macOS to external media using Time Machine (this utility belongs to the pre-installed ones). As soon as the user starts the program, it will offer to select a disk and give a simple instruction. By following it, you can quickly transfer data. It happens that the software does not see the external drive. In this case, you just need to format it into the file system supported by the program.

See also: What is an SSD drive – a device and 3 types of storage memory

Installing an SSD in a Mac without removing the DVD-ROM

This section describes how to install the ssd in your MacBook and iMac instead of a regular hard drive. This method makes it possible not to remove the optical drive.

So, first you need to disassemble the case of your MacBook or iMac. For a laptop, remove all screws from the bottom cover. If the user has a candy bar, he will have to not only unscrew the lid, but also remove the screen. Read more about disassembling Apple monoblocks below.

How to install ssd instead of HDD

  1. First of all, you need to remove the old hard drive in order to insert an SSD drive in its place.
  2. The next step is to connect the SATA cable to a free input. To do this, you need to very carefully lift the motherboard (to do this, you will have to disconnect the cables from it) and connect the cable to the empty port with a 13-pin connector. The other end of the wire should be passed under the system board. You can focus on the cable with which the drive is connected to it.
  3. Now you need to put the motherboard on, tighten all the necessary screws and connect the disconnected cables.
  4. It’s time to fix the disc. In order for the solid-state to hold securely, you can strengthen the fastening with tape.

Tip : to prevent it from peeling off, you should wipe the surface with alcohol before gluing. So it will degrease.

  1. The last jerk – you need to connect a 22-pin connector to the SSD. To keep it out of the way, you can also secure it with tape or gently wrap it around the disc.

Step-by-step instructions for installing an SSD drive in an Apple MacBook:

There are only five stages, and ssd will be delivered to MacBook or iMac. This business is difficult, but possible. Reminder: if a user wants to install an SSD in a Mac, but hesitates in their abilities, it is better to contact a service center.

Helpful: 9 Top Criteria for Choosing a Good SSD


In the case of the MacBook, everything is simple: when folded, you need to put it on the table in such a way that the bottom looks up. The user only needs to unscrew the bolts located around the perimeter of the bottom cover using a Phillips screwdriver. The cover must be carefully removed and set aside. That’s all the disassembly.

Tip : to facilitate the assembly process of the device, it is better to photograph the location of all parts before disassembling the device.

The iMac is much more complicated: as mentioned above, you will have to detach the screen. The table describes step by step how to disassemble Apple’s all-in-one.

Preparation Disconnect external cables, carefully place the device on a stable surface with the display facing up.
Remove protective glass Attach the construction suction cups to the glass and gently but firmly pull them up from the PC.
Raise the screen 1.                               Unscrew the screws that are located around the perimeter of the screen.

2.                               Pick up the screen panel with plastic spatulas and gently lift it up.

3.                               Fix the panel by placing the paddles at the corners as supports.

Important: you should be as careful as possible so as not to scratch the display.

Disconnect the “extra” wires ·                                 On the right side, disconnect the small plug and the wide connector fixed like a clothespin.

·                                 Closer to the left – disconnect 2 other ports.

Tip: The wider port is easier to disconnect if you first lift the metal bezel, and only then pull the cable.

Remove the display completely Carefully remove the display so as not to damage it. Place on a clean, level surface covered with a soft cloth.

Tip : If you want a durable solid state drive, the 860 EVO is the perfect fit. He is able to work 1.5 million hours.

Disconnecting motherboard cables and screws

Since the iMac is more complicated, it comes first. So, first you need to disconnect a couple of cables, which are located on the left above the fan. To the right of the cooler, 3 more small cables and a couple of connectors should be disconnected.

Closer to the middle of the motherboard, you need to disconnect the connectors that belong to the infrared port (2 pcs). You also need to remove a couple more cables. They can be seen a little to the right. Now the user will need to remove three more loops – the last. They are located slightly lower than the radiator mount: at the very edge of the motherboard.

It was the turn of the hex screwdriver. With its help, you should unscrew the bolt that holds the Wi-Fi module. It will also have to be removed.

Now you need to remove the HDD. To do this, you need to unscrew the two bolts with which it is attached to the body.

With the MacBook, you don’t need to disconnect that many wires. The table below tells you what to do and how to do it.

Tip : If you want a fast and reliable loan, then the BX500 is a great option. The model’s SATA interface speed is 6 Gb / s. In addition, the device supports TRIM.

Preparing to install an SSD in a MacBook: disconnecting cables and screws from the system board
Step 1 Disconnect the camera cable and the Airport / Bluetooth cable from the board.
Step 2 Carefully pry out the cable around the perimeter of the drive and disconnect the antenna connector.
Step 3 Disconnect speaker wire.
Step 4 Remove the 5 screws and disconnect the optical drive connector .

Tip: if the user did not disconnect the hard drive connector earlier, now is the time.

Step 5 Unscrew the 3 fasteners of the drive, pull it out and disconnect the ribbon connector.
Preparing to install an SSD instead of a floppy drive is now complete.

Since monoblocks do not have an OP, you can only insert an SSD instead of a hard drive . How such an operation is carried out is described in the previous section. Below we will talk about how to insert the ssd into the MacBook in place of the optical drive.

Interesting: TOP-10 SSD manufacturers

Installing an SSD drive

In order for the ssd to take the place of the disk drive in the Mac, you need an Optibay box. You need to put the solid state media into it and secure with two screws. Now you should insert the ribbon cable from the optical drive into the tray and put the Optibay in place of the drive. That’s all. You can start assembling.

Reminder: installing a solid-state device in place of the HDD is described in the corresponding section.


To properly assemble the device, you must perform all the steps that were carried out in the “Disassembly” section in reverse order.

A tip for building your iMac. One of the most painstaking moments is installing a protective glass. To prevent dust from collecting on the display under the glass, it is better to install it in a humid room: this way, there will be almost no dust flying in the air. To do this, you can turn on a humidifier or spray the room with water from a spray bottle. The way for risk-lovers is to simply turn on the tap in the bathroom: the main thing is that the water is not too hot: if the humidity is too high, condensation will accumulate inside the monoblock and ruin the device.

See also: TOP 10 best SSDs for 120-128 GB

OS installation

Before installing a fresh operating system or restoring it to a newly shipped SSD, you need to clean it. To do this, you can use the “Disk Utility”.


  1. run ssd from the OS that was installed on the hard drive;
  2. when the system is recovering: while it is booting, you need to hold down alt, and then select Recovery in the “Utilities”.

For the installation itself, nothing is needed, except how to choose one of two options: restore from a backup or reinstall MacOS – and follow the instructions.

Important : remember your Apple ID account. Since if the Find Mac function was enabled on the Mac, the system will ask you to enter your Apple ID credentials after reinstallation.

Selection: TOP 10 best SSD drives for 1 TB – Rating of 1000 GB SSD drives

TRIM activation

After the operating system is installed, you need to activate TRIM support. This is necessary so that the speed of the system does not slow down.

Despite the fact that all ssd drives that were originally installed in MacBooks support TRIM by default, for third-party solid-state drives you will need to enable this feature yourself. Below is an example of TRIM activation on OS Yosemite. With other operating systems, the situation is about the same.

Enabling TRIM

First of all, the user needs to download a utility through which this function can be enabled – TRIM Enabler. It’s best to download from the official site: it’s safer this way. The full version of the program is paid, however, the cut-down free version is enough. After installing the program, you do not need to open it. The procedure is described in the table.

Tip : If you want an inexpensive SSD that you plan to use as a boot drive, don’t overpay for a lot of memory. In this case, a model like the 128GB TS128GSSD360S will do just fine.

Where to do What to do
In the Terminal application 1.                               Enter the command sudo nvram boot-args = “kext-dev-mode = 1”

2.                               Enter the password that the system will ask for

Note : to work with “Terminal”, you need a separate password, which is different from the iCloud password. To change it, go to the system settings, click on “Users and groups”, select an account and click on “Change password” – “Use a separate password”. After that, you will need to enter the iCloud access parameters and a new special password.

Run TRIM Enabler ·                                 Move the slider to the “On” position.

·                                 Remember the name of the solid state drive and restart your computer.

Tip : if a crossed-out circle appears on the monitor , it doesn’t matter. You just need to reboot the device again and hold down the Cmd + R keys during the reboot. You will need to hold them down until the system starts the recovery mode.
In recovery mode ·                                 Select “Utilities”.

·                                 Enter the Terminal application.

·                                 Enter: nvram boot-args.

·                                 The program should print “kext-dev-mode = 1”.

Tip : if it didn’t work out, repeat the steps and enter nvram boot-args = kext-dev-mode = 1.

·                                 When the message about the success of the operation appears, reboot with the Cmd + R combination held down.

Open the “Terminal” window again 1.                               Enter cd “/ Volumes / My Disk” (“My Disk” should be replaced with the name of the user’s SSD disk, for example, WDS240G2G0A ).

2.                               Enter touch System / Library / Extensions.

3.                               Drive in the command: kextcache -u “/ Volumes / My disk”.

Restart your MacBook normally. If the “stop” icon is highlighted, repeat the procedure. However, after entering kextcache -u “/ Volumes / My Disk”, you need to wait about ten minutes.
Go to About This Mac 1.                               Click on “System report …”.

2.                               In the left column, select “SATA / SATA Express”: in the top tab on the right – SSD drive.

3.                               If “Yes” is displayed in the lower window in the TRIM support line, everything worked out.

In the topic: How to check the status of an SSD drive in Windows and Mac – 10 software to monitor

Getting an SSD into a MacBook is not that difficult, but with an all-in-one made by Apple it is more difficult. Although this is more about disassembly than the installation process. The user, whose device is equipped with an optical drive, can choose where to insert the ssd: in the place of the floppy drive or the old hard drive. The first option is more convenient if the DVD-ROM is not used, and the storage can be increased. The second option is better to choose if the Mac user needs a disk drive or owns a new model of laptop or all-in-one PC.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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