MacBook Pro  

The following is based on my own personal experience upgrading a 2011 17-inch MacBook Pro with a new hard drive (an SSD). The procedures are similar for all "Unibody" MacBook Pros that have an optical (DVD) drive. Much of the following will not be useful to anyone with a newer "retina display" MacBook Pro, or any of the Apple models that lack a DVD drive. These newer, thinner Macs sacrifice ease of repair for light weight, manufacturing cost, and battery life, among other things.

This page is incomplete. If you see something missing, contact me ("contact" link at bottom of page) and I may be able to expand the page.


Booting From An External Drive

Hard drive replacement, mid 2010 13-inch

Common Hard Drive Upgrade Procedure

How to Choose a New Hard Drive

Booting From An External Drive

If you have a bootable external hard drive, such as a backup made with Carbon Copy Cloner, you can boot your MacBook Pro from the external drive. To boot any Mac from an external drive, hold down the option key (also labeled alt) while the Mac is powering up or rebooting. You should see the builtin "Startup Manager", one or more icons representing connected drives (you may connect your external drive even after entering the Startup Manager and it should notice the drive and add it to the options).

Hard Drive Replacement

Mid 2010 13-inch MacBook Pro

The hard drive in a mid 2010 MacBook Pro can be replaced by the user, in fact the procedure is described by Apple in their official manual. Start on page 37. You might also like this guide by iFixit, which uses photographs rather than drawings.

(Note that this manual has a lot about the "Lion" (10.7) version of Mac OS X, because that version of the Mac OS was released in July 2011 while the 2010 version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro was still sold in refurbished form through the Apple online store. The hard drive replacement procedure is not affected by the version of Mac OS X that you are running.

However, "Lion" and later versions of Mac OS X have features, such as Internet Recovery and the Recovery Partition (also called "Recovery HD"), that often make it easier to deal with hard drive problems. Some of these features are described here: OS X: About OS X Recovery. But if a hard drive has physical problems, it still needs to be replaced.)

Common Hard Drive Upgrade Procedure

Together with the above information, a repair or upgrade consists of a combination of most of these steps:

The MacBook Pro uses a 2.5-inch SATA (Serial ATA) hard drive, the type used in all MacBook Pro models with a rotating hard drive. (Those with SSD drives are different).

To find a new drive, I would look for favorable reviews from a site such as AnandTech. Unfortunately, most of the attention these days is directed as SSD drives, and there are few reviews being done for traditional (rotating) 2.5-inch hard drives. An old article from MacWorld still has some useful bits, though the specific recommendations of drive models are out of date.

See Also

iBook: How to Prevent Sleep : A simple, cheap and reversible way to prevent the iBook from going to sleep when you close the lid. It mostly applies to MacBook Pro too.

I have an article on the Magic Mouse that tells how to fix its maddening "spastic scrolling" behaviour in certain applications, like inDesign, Adobe Illustrator/Elements, and Google Maps in a broswer.

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This page was written in the "embarrassingly readable" markup language RHTF, and was last updated on 2017 Feb 02. s.11