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Can I Replace My MacBook Hard Disk Drive?

written by: •edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 3/11/2011

What happens when your MacBook hard disk drive fails, or you realize that it is too small? Why, you replace it, of course!

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    Play Safe When You Replace

    Problems with a MacBook computer can often be traced to the internal hard disk drive; alternatively, you might be looking to increase the on-board storage of your notebook. Either way, the safest way is to visit your local Apple Store and have one of their experts replace your MacBook’s internal hard drive.

    However if this isn’t practical (you might not have a local Apple Store) replacing the hard disk on your MacBook isn’t that difficult.

    But don’t go rushing in just yet – there is work to do. You need to choose a replacement, take steps to protect your hardware from scratches and static and ensure you have the right tools to hand.

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    Finding a New MacBook Internal Hard Disk Drive

    Macbook Internal Hard Drive Replacement Guide Before you hit the web looking for a new hard disk drive, you need to be aware of the facts. There are two sizes of internal hard disk drive commonly in use – 3.5 inch and 2.5 inch, and MacBooks use the smaller of these two standards. These use the SATA connection type and can be anything from 20 GB to 500 GB depending on your model of MacBook, with the most recent models accepting the larger sizes. Note also that different hard disk drives have different speeds, with the most common speed 7200 RPM (although faster drives are available).

    In addition, there are various places you might find a suitable device, from your local computer hardware store to websites such as in the USA or in the UK. You might even shop at Amazon or eBay for a suitable replacement device.


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    Preparing Your MacBook for a New Internal Hard Drive

    Before you open up your MacBook, there are a couple of things that you need to do to ensure a safe and successful procedure.

    First of all, you should remove all jewelery from your hands and wrists, and prepare a clean surface in an uncarpeted room. Taking these steps ensures that you are static-free, something that can be further enhanced by discharging yourself and any tools that you use by making contact with any earthed equipment such as a central heating radiator or faucet.

    You should also have collected together the correct tools. Typically you will require a 00 Philips screwdriver and possibly a pair of carbon tweezers as well as the vital can of compressed air which is always useful in these situations.

    Finally, when you’re ready to proceed, place your MacBook on a soft fabric on your surface (such as a towel) folded to a suitable size as to protect the device from scratches as you move it around the desktop.

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    Replacing Your MacBook Internal Hard Drive

    The actual act of switching your MacBook’s current internal hard disk drive is a drawn-out but achievable process that is best explained in our Step by Step Guide.

    However be aware that once a new hard disk drive is physically installed in your MacBook you will be unable to boot into OS X without first installing the operating system.

    A clean install of OS X is possible, however, as long as you have your original Mac OS X discs to hand.