In modern working conditions, the operating system’s responsiveness is based not so much on the computing power of the computer as on the speed of access and processing of large amounts of data. Under these conditions, standard storage can be a real bottleneck, slowing down macOS, especially when it comes to a slow hard drive. Fortunately, the solution to this problem requires minimal investment and the MacBook owner’s most basic knowledge.

Benefits of installing macOS on an SSD

Replacing a standard hard drive with a solid-state drive is a real panacea for classic 2008-2012 MacBook users, as a faster drive speeds up overall system responsiveness and makes up for lack of RAM. So, when unloading data from RAM to a temporary disk partition, if it is necessary to reread this data (for example, when switching the desktop), the computer stops “stuttering” case when working with HDD.

Also, installing a solid-state drive instead of a hard drive will allow you to use a standard HDD to configure Fusion Drive, which will increase the speed of operation and maintain high storage capacity.

Please note that the TRIM function needs to be configured for regular system operation. Enabling this Command will avoid performance degradation and significantly increase the SSD’s life, so be sure to enable TRIM when you’re done.

Important: Installing an SSD requires special tools and skills to complete successfully.

If you are not confident in your abilities or want to save time, we strongly recommend contacting the service center specialists for help. They will always help you with your choice and provide everything you need – from compatible drives to installation services – so that you can get the best result without unnecessary risks.

Installing Mac Os on a new hard drive. Transferring the system to an SSD

With a set of preinstalled utilities, you can quickly transfer your data to a new drive or install a “clean” version of macOS the first time you start from a new drive. In any case, you need a set of tools and a prepared workstation to replace a disc.

Preparation and execution of work

In addition to a compatible SSD (or mSATA / M.2-SATA with an appropriate adapter), you will need several additional tools:

  • PH0 screwdriver for classic or Pentalobe P5 for Retina MacBook Pro;
  • Torx T6 screwdriver;
  • OptiBay adapter cage (if you want to install a drive instead of a floppy drive);
  • SATA-USB adapter or external storage (for system recovery, if necessary).

Please note that for a successful system transfer to an SSD, the hard drive data must take up as much free space as the capacity of your new SSD or external USB drive will allow.

The first step is to back up your system to an external hard drive. Skip this step if you are using Optibay or a SATA-USB adapter; in this case, copying data from the MacBook and transferring the system to an SSD disk occurs at the stage of the initial system setup.

You can “clone” macOS to an external drive using the preinstalled Time Machine application. At the first start, the system will offer to select a disk, after which you need to follow a simple instruction. Once the copy has been created, you can start installing the SSD.

Back up your Mac with Time Machine - Apple Support

Note that if Time Machine does not see your external hard drive, you must format the drive to one of the supported file systems. You can read more about this in a separate article on our website.

Replacing the hard drive

Unlike most other laptops, the MacBook is straightforward to unskilled maintenance: to access most of the internal components, unscrew ten screws on the back of the case and remove the cover. Before doing the work, it is advisable to disconnect the battery cable.

ssd installation for macos

After that, unscrew the screws from the drive fixing bracket. Once you do this, the disc can be ejected by pulling on the transparent tab. This step should be followed whether you plan to use the adapter basket or not.

ssd for macos

The hard drive is secured to the chassis with four screws. Unscrew them and install them on a new SSD drive.

Installing a mac os on a hard drive

Now the hard drive can be used as a second or external storage if you have the appropriate adapter. Please note that the HDD connector should be used to install the SSD since the SATA channel of the optical drive (in the case of Optibay) has limited bandwidth. Nevertheless, it will be more than enough to work with HDD using an adapter cage.

System Restore

After the work is completed, you should install the operating system on a new disk. This can be done in a couple of clicks directly from the macOS interface.

The first step is to format the hard drive. To do this, you need to boot the system in recovery mode (Command + R at boot time) and open Disk Utility.

How to Use Your Mac's Disk Utility to Partition, Wipe, Repair, Restore, and  Copy Drives

Select the SSD volume and click on the “erase” button. After that, it will be possible to restore the operating system or install macOS from scratch.

How to erase a disk for Mac – Apple Support

Disk Utility interface may differ slightly depending on the computer model.

Recovering from an old hard drive

As soon as you have connected the old hard drive using an adapter or Optibay, it will be possible to “clone” the system to a new drive. To do this, select the volume of the SSD-disk and click on the “Recover” button.

How to repair Mac disk errors in macOS Recovery Mode

Select your old hard drive as a source and follow the program instructions.

Recovering from an external drive using Time Machine

Suppose you made a backup to an external drive using the standard Time Machine utility. In that case, you need to start the computer in recovery mode (Command + R combination) and select the “Restore from backup” item.

Installing macOS from scratch

If you want to restore the factory version of macOS, hold down the Command + Option + R key combination at the time of system startup and follow the installer’s instructions (you need an Internet connection). Note that on computers running 10.12 Sierra, this combination allows you to install the latest macOS immediately.

If your MacBook does not support system recovery from the Internet, you should use the supplied recovery disc or USB flash drive.

You can also install it from recovery mode. In this case, the system will automatically load the version of macOS to the SSD installed on the computer before.

Once the system is installed and you complete the initial setup, the migration process will be completed. Apart from copying and installing macOS (it can take from 30 minutes to several hours), this work will take you no more than 20-40 minutes.

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