How to Add More Storage to MacBook Pro

add storage macbook pro

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Your MacBook Pro was designed to complete a wide variety of different tasks with ease and speed. Apple is well known for leading the pack in new technological advancements and always seems to utilize cutting-edge components and design in all of its products. Regardless of which model year of MacBook Pro you might have, chances are when it was new, it was at the top of its class in function and form.

Storage is an important factor to consider with any computer. No matter how many nice features your MacBook Pro has, if it runs out of storage, it can cause unwanted issues. Some people even believe that you can never have too much storage capacity on a computer.

Your MacBook Pro came with built-in storage but depending on your model, it is possible to add more storage capacity to your Mac.

Can You Upgrade MacBook Pro Internal Storage?

Yes and no! To be specific, it depends on the year model of your MacBook Pro. If you are using an old MacBook Pro model prior to 2012, the answer is yes, you can upgrade the storage by replacing the hard drive with a speedy SSD. For MacBook Pros with Retina Display (2012-2015), the storage is also upgradable.

But if you are using newer models from 2016 or newer (most likely you are), it is almost impossible for you (as an end user) to upgrade the internal storage because Apple re-designed its dashboard and it’s extremely hard and sometimes risky to swap the internal hard drive.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t expand your MacBook Pro’s storage. There are several ways to do so, which we’ll be sharing below.

Read on to learn more!

Why Add More Storage to MacBook Pro?

More storage is a good thing.

The more storage capacity you have on your computer, the more programs, apps, files, and data you can run and store. If you run out of storage space, you might have to delete files or uninstall apps in order to make room for new ones.

While you can always place this data on something like an external hard drive, it can be a pain to run out of storage capacity on your Mac.

When you run out of storage capacity, you might start to notice issues with performance. Your MacBook can start to run slowly and freezes can occur as your computer struggles to keep everything operating effectively without enough storage to do so.

By adding more storage, you can avoid these potential problems while keeping all of the files and data you wish and not sacrificing the performance.

Adding More Storage to MacBook Pro: Things to Consider

When you buy a new MacBook Pro, you usually have options for what storage capacity you want to be included on your laptop.

More storage costs more money so oftentimes, buyers don’t get a high amount of storage. While this cost may seem significant, the extra storage can really help with performance and other important operations on your computer so it’s always good to consider a storage upgrade if you can afford it.

Another thing to consider is that not all MacBook models can have storage added to them internally. You can always use external storage methods, which we will discuss below, but most Apple computers won’t allow the additional storage capacity to be added after the machine has been manufactured.

This is another reason to get the most disk space you can afford at the time of purchase.

How to Add Storage to MacBook Pro

There are several methods to gain additional storage capacity on your MacBook Pro. Some of these options are only available for certain model years and newer model MacBooks cannot actually add storage internally.

All newest MacBook models come equipped with flash storage (i.e. solid-state drive) storage which cannot be upgraded. These are the model years that can be upgraded which have an SSD:

  • MacBook Pro Retina 2015 or earlier.
  • MacBook Pro non-Retina 2016 or earlier.
  • If you have a different style MacBook or want to learn more about this upgrade, check out this link.

If you can’t upgrade your SSD, there are other methods to increase the storage capacity of your computer including:

1. External Storage

You can use external storage methods to add storage to your MacBook Pro.

The most common way to do this is by using an external hard drive. These drives connect directly to your Mac using a docking station or USB-C hub and will give you as much extra storage as you want or need.

You can transfer files and data quickly and easily from your computer to this external hard drive to gain extra storage.

2. Flash Drives or SD Cards

On older model MacBooks, you can use an SD card or flash drive to gain extra memory. These drives or cards aren’t as common as they used to be, but that means they are really cheap.

If your computer has an SD card input, all you have to do is slide an SD card in and you can easily gain a couple of hundred GB or more in storage capacity.

3. Cloud Storage

Another option to add storage to your computer is through the cloud. This is a good way to backup files or data and allows you to gain almost endless amounts of storage, although you will have to pay for it.

One downside to cloud storage is that it can be slow to download or upload files depending on your internet speed. You can get up to 2TB of cloud storage with Apple’s iCloud and that is a considerable amount to work with.

4. Network Storage

This isn’t a very common method for increasing storage these days, but it does work and can offer an increase in storage capacity if you have another computer or hard drive laying around the house.

By utilizing the storage capacity on another device, you can connect it to your MacBook pro and gain added space.

The downside to this method is that you have to be on the same network as the added device so you might not be able to leave your house.

Final Thoughts

I still think that the easiest way to add storage to your MacBook is to start with a lot of it from the get-go. This means upgrading the storage on your MacBook Pro from the time you buy it.

You don’t have to go with the absolute highest amount of storage available but you should get more than the basic option. All of these added storage options will cost some money so getting more from the start is a good option.

If you don’t want to pay as much upfront, you can use any of the methods above to gain added storage on your Mac.

I find the easiest method to do this is a portable hard drive or SSD and usually carry one with me everywhere I take my computer, just in case. It also functions as a backup for any important files or data you have.

How much storage do you have on your MacBook? Do you think it will be enough or will you need to upgrade?

About Eric
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Eric currently uses a 15-inch MacBook Pro for both work and personal errands. He did all the research and testing to make sure all the fixes and optimization tips shared on the blog are relevant to Apple’s latest macOS updates as well as fact-checking.

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    Hi, Can I replace the SSD on this configuration Apple MacBookPro Retina 2015? Where can I buy 2T of storage?
    Physical Drive:
    Device Name: APPLE SSD SM0128G
    Media Name: AppleAPFSMedia
    Medium Type: SSD
    Protocol: PCI
    Internal: Yes
    Partition Map Type: Unknown
    SMART Status: Verified

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    Rather than buy a new computer, I decided to upgrade my MacBook Pro 2011. I expanded RAM to 16 GB from the original four. I also put in a 1 TB SSD drive.

    The machine is surprisingly reliable and reasonably fast. It probably would be too slow for intense movie editing; however at least you would have the space!

    I could’ve even gone for a 2 TB drive if I had wanted. It was probably a financial decision in Apple support but it’s really too bad that the current computers are not easy to expand in terms of SSD storage.

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    i purchased a macbook pro last year with 250 gb of internal space which i now regret because i’m stumped at every turn since my laptop ran out of space. the annoying part is that i bought the dang thing to edit my videos for youtube which im not able to do because this thing is out of space.

    • Avatar

      Aaron Rodgers

      Yeah, I got a Macbook pro (late-2020 model) specifically for music production and video editing software, with 250 gb as well, and it sucks at this point. This article was 100% correct when it says you might regret getting a macbook with less storage in it -_-