In 2012 Apple made a fundamental shift in the MacBook Pro line, introducing for the first time the Retina MacBook Pro series. Both 15 and 13-inch models sported dramatically higher resolution displays and a slimmer design that eschewed both a Superdrive and a spinning hard drives, instead providing a Solid State Drive (SSD) for internal storage.
Over time data sets multiply, applications bloat, and the goalposts change. If you’re a do it yourselfer and you have the time and patience, it’s possible to upgrade the SSD on these models, provided you have the right tools, the right space to work, and whatever amount of time you need.
Which 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro can you upgrade
What you’ll need
Back up your MacBook Pro
Install the new MacBook Pro SSD
Set up your new MacBook Pro SSD
Which 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros are upgradable?
Older MacBook Pros can be disassembled and Serial ATA (SATA)-based SSDs designed to replace laptop hard drives are a dime a dozen these days. But the Retina MacBook Pro series is different, because Apple opted for a series of mSATA-based blade-style SSDs, but ones that use Apple’s own connection.
Our specific donor model for this is a Mid 2015 Retina MacBook Pro (The model ID is MacBookPro11,5). The same basic procedure applies to many MacBook Pro models. Those include:
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Early 2013)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015)
These instructions are not applicable for MacBook Pros not listed here.
Of all the Mac laptops I’ve owned over the years, the one that approached my platonic ideal was the mid-2015 Retina MacBook Pro. It’s been my faithful daily driver for years, still performing well and running modern software.
The only problem is that my software needs have changed. I’m running much bigger app installations than I used to. I’m using an array of virtual machines whose host apps have their own prodigious storage needs.
I thought I was planning ahead when I got this computer to order it with 512GB of spac.e But I’ve simply outgrown it, and trying to pare it down from here is more trouble than it’s worth.
If you’re like me, you’re interested in maximizing your hardware investment as much as possible. I also don’t like to discard things that are still useful if I can make them work better.
To replace it with a brand new 16-inch MacBook Pro means spending at least $2,399 and it’ll be even pricier once I customize it with more storage space. Upgrading the existing storage costs only a fraction of that, and keeps the system going for a while longer.
For me, it’s better value to upgrade what I have rather than to start over with a new machine.
What you’ll need
Apple hasn’t made it easy to get into the MacBook Pro – you’ll need a pentalobe (five point Torx) screwdriver in order to get inside, thanks to the security screws they’ve put in place. Many SSD upgrade kits for Retina MacBook Pros include tools. If yours did not or if you need them, inexpensive kits are available on Amazon.
Having said that, once you’re past the weird screws this is a very straightforward installation.
Which SSD module you’ll need depends on which Mac you have. Mid 2012 and Early 2013 Retina MacBook Pros use a SATA-based SSD. The Late 2013, mid 2014 and mid 2015 models use a PCIe 2.0-based SSD instead. They are not interchangeable, so make sure to order the right part for your computer.
You can find compatible SSD upgrade kits from various Internet vendors. Shop based on your budget and your needs. The 2 TB upgrade kit we used for this upgrade came from MCE Technologies. It quadruples the available storage space for this computer to 2 TB.
Back up your MacBook Pro
Before you attempt to do anything to your MacBook Pro, make sure you have a recent backup. Time Machine is the path of least resistance for most of us since it’s built into the Mac.
TUTORIAL:How to set up Time Machine on macOS X
Install the MacBook Pro SSD
Shut down the MacBook Pro. Disconnect the power supply and any devices connected to it. On a clean, flat, well-lit surface, flip the MacBook Pro so its bottom case is facing you.
1) Remove the ten pentalobe screws on the bottom case. Be careful to note which screws correspond to which holes, because some are longer than others. Remove the bottom case and set it aside.
2) Locate the SSD located on the left-hand side of the MacBook Pro’s Main Logic Board. It is held in using a single T5 Torx screw. Remove the screw then remove the SSD by lifting the side where the screw was removed and sliding it to the left to free it from the main logic board connection.
3) Replace the SSD with the new SSD. Be careful to insert the SSD completely into the socket on the Main Logic Board – you may feel some initial resistance. Do not force it in, but make sure it is in completely. Reattach the T5 Torx screw to hold the SSD in place.
4) Reattach the bottom case.
TIP: If your MacBook is a lot noiser and runs hotter than it used to be, this is an opportunity for you to fix that problem. Over time the MacBook Pro can accumulate plenty of dirt, dust and debris internally. This debris blocks internal airflow. That makes the Mac run hotter, so the fans run harder to keep things cool.
With the bottom case removed, now is a good time to clean the MacBook Pro of any debris or dust that is clogging its vents. Your Mac will run cooler and will be quieter.
Use a can of compressed air only. Refrain from physically touching any of the components. Do not use a powered vacuum or any sort of microfiber cloth, and do not use solvents or any sort of liquid cleaner.
Cleaning the interior of this MacBook Pro proved to be quite a challenge, as you can tell from the images. Years of use in a retail environment caused a lot of debris to build up inside, and some if appeared actually dried on to the internal components. We did what we could to clean it up and make sure the air channels inside were unobstructed, and it’s running cooler and quieter than it did before with less frequent fan blasts.
Set up your new MacBook Pro SSD
If your kit included a USB sled, install the original MacBook Pro SSD you’ve just removed. When you start up your MacBook Pro, hold down the Option key and select your Mac’s original hard drive icon to boot. You can then format and partition the new SSD if necessary, and transfer your data back to it.
Some SSDs arrive preconfigured with macOS software. Others will be blank. If you need to set up yours from scratch, start up your Mac and hold down the Command, Option and R keys to invoke Internet Recovery. Your Mac will attempt to connect to a Wi-Fi network and then will download the software it needs to restore the drive and install new operating system software from the Internet.
Restore from your original drive once Internet Recovery is complete.
You install the new SSD and turn on your Mac, only to face a flashing question mark. What to do? Follow these steps if you need help.
The Non-Volatile RAM (NVRAM) is a special protected area in the Mac’s memory that retains certain information like what startup disk is being used and other things that can affect the Mac’s basic operation. If your Mac fails to recognize the new SSD, reset the NVRAM before doing anything else. Here’s how
1) Shut down the Mac.
2) Connect it to its power charger.
3) Press the Power button to turn on the Mac, then immediately
4) Hold down the Command, Option, P and R keys until you hear the Mac restart again.
Should that fail to work, follow these steps:
1) Follow the instructions above to disassemble the MacBook Pro and check your connections.
2) Make sure the new SSD is resting securely and completely in the slot on the Main Logic Board.
3) Make sure the screw is attached properly to hold it in place.
If worse comes to worst and you still can’t get the MacBook Pro to recognize the SSD, try replacing it with the original. If you’re able to boot off your original, there may be something wrong with the replacement drive. Consult the manufacturer’s support if that’s the case.
Wrapping it up
Hopefully by now you’ve upgraded your 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro with more storage, kicking the “replace it” can down the road a while longer. With some patience and elbow grease, you can double or even quadruple your internal storage for a fraction of the price of a new MacBook Pro.
Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work? Have you upgraded? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments.
TagsAppleHow toMacBook ProSSDTutorialSours: https://www.idownloadblog.com/2019/12/13/how-to-upgrade-the-ssd-in-a-15-inch-retina-macbook-pro/
MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015) - Technical Specifications
- Retina display
- 15.4-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2880-by-1800 native resolution at 220 pixels per inch with support for millions of colors
- Supported scaled resolutions:
- 1920 by 1200
- 1680 by 1050
- 1280 by 800
- 1024 by 640
- 300 nits brightness
- Standard color gamut (sRGB)
- 900:1 contrast ratio
2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz) with 6MB shared L3 cache
Configurable to 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz) with 6MB shared L3 cache or 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz) with 6MB shared L3 cache.
2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz) with 6MB shared L3 cache
Configurable to 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz) with 6MB shared L3 cache.
- 16GB of 1600MHz DDR3L onboard memory
- 2.2GHz - 256GB
256GB PCIe-based flash storage
Configurable to 512GB or 1TB flash storage.
- 2.5GHz - 512GB
512GB PCIe-based flash storage
Configurable to 1TB flash storage.
Size and Weight
- Height: 0.71 inch (1.8 cm)
- Width: 14.13 inches (35.89 cm)
- Depth: 9.73 inches (24.71 cm)
- Weight: 4.49 pounds (2.04 kg)2
Graphics and Video Support
- Intel Iris Pro Graphics
- 2.2GHz - 256GB
Intel Iris Pro Graphics
- 2.5GHz - 512GB
Intel Iris Pro Graphics
AMD Radeon R9 M370X with 2GB of GDDR5 memory and automatic graphics switching
- 2.2GHz - 256GB
- Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 3840 by 2160 pixels on up to two external displays, both at millions of colors
- Thunderbolt digital video output
- Native Mini DisplayPort output
- DVI, VGA, dual-link DVI, and HDMI output supported using Mini DisplayPort adapters (sold separately)
- HDMI video output
- Support for 1080p resolution at up to 60Hz
- Support for 3840-by-2160 resolution at 30Hz
- Support for 4096-by-2160 resolution at 24Hz
Connections and Expansion
- MagSafe 2 power port
- Two Thunderbolt 2 ports (up to 20 Gbps)
- Two USB 3 ports (up to 5 Gbps)
- HDMI port
- 3.5 mm headphone jack
- SDXC card slot
- Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter (sold separately)
- Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (sold separately)
802.11ac Wi‑Fi wireless networking; IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible
Bluetooth 4.2 wireless technology
- Stereo speakers
- Dual microphones
- 3.5 mm headphone jack
- Support for Apple iPhone headset with remote and microphone
- Support for audio line out (digital/analog)
Keyboard and Trackpad
- Full-size backlit keyboard with 78 (U.S.) or 79 (ISO) keys, including 12 function keys and 4 arrow keys (inverted “T” arrangement) with ambient light sensor
- Force Touch trackpad for precise cursor control and pressure-sensing capabilities; enables Force clicks, accelerators, pressure-sensitive drawing, and Multi-Touch gestures
Battery and Power3
- Up to 9 hours wireless web
- Up to 9 hours iTunes movie playback
- Up to 30 days of standby time
- Built-in 99.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
- 85W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter with cable management system; MagSafe 2 power port
Electrical and Operating Requirements
- Line voltage: 100V to 240V AC
- Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz
- Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)
- Storage temperature: –13° to 113° F (–25° to 45° C)
- Relative humidity: 0% to 90% noncondensing
- Operating altitude: tested up to 10,000 feet
- Maximum storage altitude: 15,000 feet
- Maximum shipping altitude: 35,000 feet
macOS High Sierra
macOS is the operating system that powers everything you do on a Mac. macOS High Sierra brings new forward-looking technologies and enhanced features to your Mac. It's macOS at its highest level yet.
Learn more about latest operating system
Accessibility features help people with disabilities get the most out of their new MacBook Pro. With built-in support for vision, hearing, physical and motor skills, and learning and literacy, you can create and do amazing things.
Learn more about Accessibility
- Increase Contrast
- Reduce Motion
- Siri and Dictation
- Switch Control
- Closed Captions
- Text to Speech
- Photo Booth
- App Store
- Time Machine
What’s in the Box
- MacBook Pro
- MagSafe 2 Power Adapter
- Power cord
- AC wall plug
Configure to Order
Configure your MacBook Pro with these options, only at apple.com:
- Up to 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz, with 6MB shared L3 cache
- Up to 1TB PCIe-based SSD1
MacBook Pro and the Environment
Apple takes a complete product life cycle approach to determining our environmental impact. Learn more about MacBook Pro and the Environment
MacBook Pro is designed with the following features to reduce its environmental impact:
- Mercury-free LED-backlit display
- Arsenic-free display glass
- Highly recyclable aluminum enclosure
- Meets ENERGY STAR 6.1 requirements
- Rated EPEAT Gold6
Apple and the Environment
Learn more about Apple’s dedication to reducing the environmental impact of our products and process. Or read our Product Environmental Reports for detailed information on the environmental performance of every Apple product.
Letting go of your old Mac is easy with Apple GiveBack. If it’s in good shape, you can trade it in for Apple Store credit. If it’s not eligible for credit, we’ll recycle it responsibly at no cost to you. Good for you. Good for the planet.
See how it works
Declared noise emission values in accordance with ECMA-109
|Sound Power Level|
L W A,m (B)
|Sound Pressure Level|
L p A,m (dB)
|Idle||1.40 (K V = 0.25)||6.0|
|Wireless web||1.40 (K V = 0.25)||6.5|
- L W A,m is the mean A-weighted sound power level, rounded to the nearest 0.05 B.
- L p A,m is the mean A-weighted sound pressure level measured at the operator position (rounded to the nearest 0.5 dB).
- 1 B (bel) = 10 dB (decibel)
- K v is the statistical adder for computing upper-limit of A-weighted sound power level.
- The quantity, L W A,c (formerly called L W Ad) may be computed from the sum of L W A,m and K v .
- The Wireless web test browses 25 popular websites.
- Configuration tested: 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB memory, 512GB storage, Intel Iris Pro, AMD Radeon R9 M370X.
- Final Cut Pro X
- Logic Pro X
Displays and Adapters
- Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter
- Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter
- Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter
- MagSafe to MagSafe 2 Converter
AirPort and Wireless
- AirPort Express
- AirPort Extreme
- AirPort Time Capsule
- Apple USB SuperDrive
- Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
- Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter
- 85W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter
- AppleCare+ for Mac
- 1GB = 1 billion bytes and 1TB = 1 trillion bytes; actual formatted capacity less.
- Weight varies by configuration and manufacturing process.
- Testing conducted by Apple in April 2015 using preproduction 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7–based 15-inch MacBook Pro systems with 256GB of flash storage and 16GB of RAM. The wireless web test measures battery life by wirelessly browsing 25 popular websites with display brightness set to 12 clicks from bottom or 75%. The HD movie playback test measures battery life by playing back HD 1080p content with display brightness set to 12 clicks from bottom or 75%. The standby test measures battery life by allowing a system, connected to a wireless network and signed in to an iCloud account, to enter standby mode with Safari and Mail applications launched and all system settings left at default. Battery life varies by use and configuration. See www.apple.com/batteries for more information.
- iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are available on the Mac App Store. Downloading apps requires an Apple ID and a device that is compatible with the OS version required for each app.
- PVC-free AC power cord available in all regions except India and South Korea.
- MacBook Pro achieved a Gold rating from EPEAT in the U.S. and Canada.
MacBook Pro 13" Retina Display Early 2015 SSD Replacement
Wedge your fingers between the upper case and the lower case.
Gently pull the lower case away from the upper case to remove it.
The lower case is connected to the upper case with two plastic clips near its center.
During reassembly, gently push down the center of the lower case to reattach the two plastic clips.
Use the flat end of a spudger to lift the battery connector straight up out of its socket on the logic board.
Be sure you lift up only on the connector itself, not the socket, or you risk permanent damage to the logic board.
Bend the battery connector up out of the way to prevent accidental contact with its socket during your repair.
Remove the single 2.9 mm T5 Torx screw securing the SSD to the logic board.
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Pro ssd macbook type 2015
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