Can you upgrade storage on a Macbook?
Can you upgrade storage on a Macbook?

Wondering if your MacBook can get a storage upgrade? Dive deep into the facts about MacBook storage upgrades, limitations, and savvy strategies to make the most of your device’s space.

MacBooks have become synonymous with power-packed performance, sleek design, and premium build quality. But even the best machines can run out of space over time. If you’re grappling with storage woes and wondering, “Can you upgrade the storage on a MacBook?”, this article will give you a comprehensive overview of your options.

Can you Upgrade the Storage on a MacBook?

For some MacBook models, yes! However, it’s not uniform across the board. The feasibility greatly depends on the model and the year it was produced. As we’ll discuss, while some models allow for hardware tinkering, others may be more restrictive.

The Evolution of MacBook Storage Solutions

  • Traditional Hard Drives (HDD): Older MacBook models used HDDs, which are relatively easy to replace with higher capacity drives or swifter Solid State Drives (SSDs).
  • Solid State Drives (SSD): Newer MacBooks have transitioned to SSDs due to their faster speed and durability. Some MacBook Pro models until 2015 allowed users to replace the SSD, though with proprietary drives.
  • Soldered Storage: Recent MacBook models, especially from 2016 onwards, have their storage chips soldered to the logic board. This means upgrading storage in a traditional sense is no longer possible for these models.

Why Apple Moved to Non-Upgradeable Storage

  • Form Factor and Design: Soldering components can result in thinner devices, a hallmark of Apple’s design philosophy.
  • Performance Enhancements: Integrated parts can ensure peak performance and reduce potential complications from third-party components.
  • Business Perspective: From a revenue standpoint, soldered storage encourages users to choose their desired storage capacity at the point of purchase, potentially upselling them.

Alternative Strategies to Enhance Your MacBook’s Storage

  • External Drives: Portable SSDs or HDDs can expand your storage exponentially. With Thunderbolt and USB-C options, data transfer rates are lightning-fast.
  • Cloud Storage Solutions: Platforms such as iCloud Drive, Google Drive, and Dropbox can store vast amounts of data off-device, accessible anytime with an internet connection.
  • Optimized Storage Feature: MacOS offers a built-in feature that automatically stores older files in the cloud, freeing up local storage. It’s a nifty tool for those heavily integrated into the Apple ecosystem.

Tips for Future MacBook Purchases

  • Forecast Your Needs: Always gauge your storage requirements based on your workflow. Video editors, for example, would benefit from larger internal storage compared to casual users.
  • Evaluate Costs: Consider the long-term implications of your storage choice. Investing in higher storage upfront might be cheaper than recurrently buying external solutions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I upgrade my older MacBook’s HDD to an SSD? Absolutely! Swapping an HDD for an SSD in older MacBook models can give your device a significant speed boost, along with increased storage.

What tools do I need for a MacBook storage upgrade? You’d typically need specialized screwdrivers like Pentalobe or Torx, depending on your MacBook model. However, always consult a guide specific to your MacBook variant.

How do I clone my current drive to a new one? Software solutions like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper can help you create an exact copy of your current drive to migrate to a new one seamlessly.

If storage is soldered, does this mean no upgrades at all? In terms of traditional hardware upgrades, yes. However, external solutions and cloud storage can still expand your effective storage capacity.


While the ability to upgrade storage on a MacBook varies with the model and its production year, users are far from powerless. With an array of external solutions, cloud services, and smart macOS features, you can navigate and overcome the storage challenge effectively. The key? Stay informed, anticipate your needs, and optimize for both the present and the future.

External Source: For a comprehensive overview of MacBook specifications, including storage options, you can visit Apple’s official MacBook page.

Eric Chan

Hi! I’m Eric and I work on the knowledge base at  You can see some of my writings about technology, cellphone repair, and computer repair here.

When I’m not writing about tech I’m playing with my dog or hanging out with my girlfriend.

Shoot me a message at if you want to see a topic discussed or have a correction on something I’ve written.

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