MacBook Pro Rejuvination: Upgrading to a SSD

For the last 6 months or so, but especially after I began iOS development, my poor, not-that-old 2011 MacBook Pro has not been able to keep up. It was experiencing major lag running Apple’s IDE for iOS and OSX, Xcode, and nearly locked up when I ran Simulator. I’d intended to replace my laptop in the next few months, but changing plans meant I had to put that on hold. But, the lag time and resource hogging of the tools that were required for the program meant I had to find some sort of solution. The instructor at The Iron Yard mentioned that upgrading the hard drive to solid state drive as a viable solution. I upgraded the memory a couple of years ago, but at the time, dismissed the idea of doing the drive because they were fairly expensive for the sizes available. When I looked again earlier this week, the price for 512Gb drive was reasonable (well, compared to a brand new laptop), so I went ahead and ordered the parts.

This was – hands down – the easiest hardware upgrade I’ve ever installed, with the highest return in improved speed.

Stuff I bought, and things I did:



  1. Clean up your computer – take off unneeded & limited license programs, obsolete files, empty the trash.
  2. Plug in the SSD directly to your computer
  3. Erase using the Disk Utility program already on the computer
  4. Clone your hard drive to the SSD using CarbonCopy Cloner (astoundingly simple to use)
  5. Turn off computer. Remove the back cover and touch a piece of metal to discharge static electricity. Remove the bracing around the hard drive (4 small screws). This will require a tiny Phillips head screwdriver – make sure that it is not magnetic. You will also want to be very careful with the screws, most of them are very tiny.
  6. Carefully remove the cable connected to the hard drive – pull on the connector, not the cable itself – then attach the SSD.
  7. Seat the drive, reinstall the bracing and back cover, then turn on the computer.
  8. It may take a few extra seconds for the initial boot, but should now be speedy beast!

The ONLY difference I noticed when I had upgraded the drive was having to reauthenticate a few of my web services that used 2-factor authentication. Everything else was identical – settings, tweaks, files, programs, etc.

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  1. […] 2011 MBP was running really slow – like, 5 minutes to run an app simulation – so I upgraded to an SSD, and it was the easiest/best hardware upgrade I’ve ever done. A fraction of the cost of a new […]