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How to use a Mac - How to Upgrade your Macbook Pro Hard Drive

Updated on February 7, 2013
How to upgrade your Mac book Hard Drive
How to upgrade your Mac book Hard Drive

What is a Hard drive?

A hard drive is the primary storage unit in a laptop/computer system. A hard drive or hard disk made up of several moving parts/discs which operate in a similar way to a re-writable/RW disc. A hard drive contains your operating system, applications and personal data eg photos, videos, documents.

Why would you upgrade a hard drive?

There are 2 main reasons:

1. You simple need more space to store information or data

2. Your hard drive is not quite full but is slowing down your system - this reason is generally unheard of but is best practice to have 10% of your total hard drive capacity to be free for your system to run at its optimum. A full hard drive is slow and messy hard drive.

What kind of Hard Drive do I need?

Hard drives come rated in many different specs

  • Hard drive capacity - gigabyte or terabyte
  • Hard drive spin speed, denoted as RPM - speed at which the disk spins
  • Read and write speed - the rate at which data can be read and written to the disk
  • Lastly there are 2 different physical types of hard disk drive - 2.5 inch used in laptops and 3.5 inch used in desk top computers

Additional note: 2.5 inch may also come in 2 different thicknesses - generally after 500 gigabyte they can vary in thicknesses you will need to check with Apple support website as to which size the model you have can fit.

So how do I replace my Hard Drive

Well you could take it to your local computer store and pay for them to changed it for you, but that is expensive - or you can buy the drive online yourself and install it using this simple guide

What you will need:

  • A #00 Phillips screw driver or equivalent flat head.
  • Replacement Hard Drive
  • A case opener (not essential)

Screw Placement
Screw Placement

1. Place you Macbook on a smooth clean surface so you don't make the lid, using a tea towel would help.

Locate the screws in the base (see their location in the image to the right), you must remove them all to allow you to remove the base. It is a good idea, as you remove the screws, to make a screw map, so you know where each screw goes when re-assembling.

Battery Connector
Battery Connector

2. Once all screws have been removed, the bottom plate can now be removed by lifting one end of the laptop off the table and using a finger nail to catch the edge of the plate. You can purchase a case opening tool, used for laptops and phones, inexpensively online or at any local computer/phone repair store but it isn't really needed.

When the base is removed you will next need to disconnect the battery cable (location can be seen in the image to the right) This can be done by prying lose the cable connection at either side and eventually working it lose. This is best done with a case opener or by hand.

Bracket Screw Location
Bracket Screw Location

3. Locate the two screws securing the bracket that secured the hard drive in place. Remove these two screws and lift the bracket away from the hard drive

Bracket Removed
Bracket Removed

4. You can now pull the tab attached to the hard drive and slowly lift it from the base, be careful there is a fragile ribbon cable still connected to the hard drive. To remove the cable, gently pull the plastic connector away from the drive until free.

Repeat the process in reverse with a new hard disk, to re-assemble.

On a last note

This process is primarily for the Macbook Pro model but a similar process can be used for all MacBooks and laptops in general. The difference will be removing the case as each model has a slightly different case, once you have removed the case though the removal and replacement of the hard drive is essentially the same principle.


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