Facts About Upgrading Your Mac HDD

October 11, 2011, By Christian Cawley

If you’re tried the suggestions in our previous articles for making space on your Mac but haven’t achieved the desired results, the obvious way to increase space on your Mac is to add a hard disk drive. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, however.

Experienced technicians and those that have previously built their own Windows/Linux based PCs should have no problem in adding components to their Macs. If this is something you’re comfortable doing yourself, read on, although note that this step will invalidate your warranty!

However, we’re not all adept with screws and plugs, especially not in confined spaces. After all, the majority of Mac users choose the platform because they want a usable all in one machine that doesn’t require any expansion. If this describes you, then your best option is to take you Mac to the nearest Apple store and purchase a hard disk drive that they will install for you.

Facts About Upgrading Your Mac HDD

Can I Upgrade My Mac?

Now that we’ve established how your Mac is going to be upgraded, let’s stop a moment and check whether it actually can be upgraded.

Different Macs utilize different form factors, and the design of your computer’s case will depend on whether or not you can add a hard disk drive. Even if you’re comfortable adding the new hard disk drive yourself, you might change your mind when you discover what the options are!

We can group the different Macs in a list of how easy they are to upgrade:

  • Mac Pro and recent MacBooks – simplest to upgrade (doesn’t include MacBook Air)
  • Mac Mini – tough but achievable
  • iMac – next to impossible

The reason for the differences here are various – the organization of the components in your iMac makes adding a new hard disk drive very difficult, while the small space available on the Mac Mini can result in some difficulties. The Mac Pro is the best option as the computer resembles a PC tower and therefore has plenty of space within for adding and removing drives.

What Is the Next Step?

If you have established that your Mac can be upgraded with a new hard disk drive and that you are going to be running the upgrade yourself, you will need to spend some time tidying up the existing hard disk drive and removing any unnecessary data before creating a Time Machine backup to an external device. We’ll look at this process in more detail later on.

You will also need to look into the steps required for removing the existing hard disk drive on your Mac and adding a new one. As Macs change slightly each year, the process alters as time goes on. Providing instructions here for all models would be exhaustive, so you best option is to head to YouTube and do a search for your videos that feature hard disk drive upgrades for your model of Mac.

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