MacBook Pro Upgrade

Recently I upgraded a friends 2011 MacBook Pro 13″ to a SSD drvie. It is a nice machine. Since Apple went to all enclosed systems (not upgradable) these older Mac laptops have become very popular. The SSD is a great upgrade for an older Mac laptop.


The Upgrade

I had her buy a 256 GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD drive. She is only using about 46 GB of space on her current drive and she has had the laptop since it was new so the 256 GB SSD should be plenty big enough for years to come.

While waiting for the SSD to arrive I cleaned up the OS on the old drive in preparation for Migration Assistant. Then I started to work on the hardware. Here is my setup:

The Mac is on an “Antistatic Mat” with a ground strap. And, of course, all the rest are the tools needed to get the job done. Take special note of the bottom of the machine.

Some of the “Feet” are missing, a very common problem with model of MacBook Pro. When I ordered the SSD I also ordered new replacement feet. Just trying to keep the laptop from scratching any surfaces. Here is what one of the “Feet” looked like on the inside of the bottom cover:

They just kind of snap in there. I think there may be some sticky adhesive on the bottom of them as well.

Here is the inside of the MacBook Pro after removing the bottom cover:

The HD bay is in the lower left corner. After removing the bottom the first thing to do is to unplug the battery. You don’t want any electrical current running through the machine while working on it. You might get a shock and/or short out a circuit. Needless to say, I was doing all this while grounded to the “Antistatic Mat”.

There is a small bracket with captured screws that holds the drive in the HD bay. After removing that it is just a matter of unplugging the SATA cable and removing the HD. It is very important to remember to remove the mounting screws from the HD:

They are going to be transferred to the new SSD drive. The mounting screws fit into slots that hold the HD in the HD bay. Oh, and if you remember, you can remove the little plastic tab that is attached to the old drive and put it on the new one. This tab sticks up from the HD and is used to pull the drive out of the bay.

When the new SSD and “Feet” arrived I installed them in reverse order. I put the “Feet” on the bottom case first. They snap in but also have a little bit of adhesive on the bottom. Here is what the SSD and “Feet” look like:

I put the mounting screws on the new drive and installed it. Closed up the MacBook Pro, connected it to my Tech HD, formatted the SSD and installed El Capitan. Then it was just a matter of placing the old HD in a sled (dock), connecting it to the Mac and using Migration Assistant to bring her user folder and all her stuff over.


I guess this all sounds easy enough, but you have to have the right tools (and a little experience) to do this right. I am thankful that there are still some Macs around that can be upgraded.