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How do you upgrade the RAM in the White "Unibody" MacBook models? What type of RAM do they use? How much RAM do they actually support?
Please note that this Q&A explains how to upgrade the RAM in the White "Unibody" MacBook models shipped from 2009-2010 (model number A1342).
EveryMac.com also provides RAM upgrade instructions for the "White & Black" MacBook models shipped from 2006-2009 (model number A1181) and the Aluminum "Unibody" MacBook models shipped in 2008 (which share the A1278 model number with many other systems).
There are two White "Unibody" MacBook models -- the MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.26 13" (White Polycarbonate Unibody/Late 2009) and MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 13" (Mid-2010) -- and upgrading the RAM in both is not quite as simple as it is in the earlier MacBook models, but it is still easy.
Photo Credit: Apple, Inc. (White "Unibody" MacBook)
If you're not sure whether or not you have a White "Unibody" MacBook or an earlier system, these models can be collectively identified by the A1342 Model Number on the gray rubber bottom of the notebook toward the hinge in tiny type.
However, this identifier is not unique enough to determine actual maximum RAM capacity. Consequently, they can be most easily identified by the Model Identifier in software for the purposes of upgrading the RAM. More details about specific identifiers are provided in EveryMac.com's extensive Mac Identification section.
To locate the model identifier, select "About This Mac" under the Apple Menu on your computer and click the "More Info..." button. If the MacBook is running OS X 10.7 "Lion" or later, you will need to click the "System Report" button after clicking "More Info..." as well. The MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.26 13" (White Polycarbonate Unibody/Late 2009) is model identifier MacBook6,1 and the MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 13" (Mid-2010) is model identifier MacBook7,1.
EveryMac.com's Ultimate Mac Lookup feature -- as well as the EveryMac app -- also can uniquely identify these systems by the last three characters of their Serial Numbers, and this is another method that can be used to pinpoint the precise model.
RAM Type & Actual Maximum RAM Capacities
The White "Unibody" MacBook models both support 1066 MHz PC3-8500 DDR3 SO-DIMMs.
Your computer has two memory slots that you access by removing the bottom case. Your MacBook comes with a minimum of 2 gigabytes (GB) of 1066 MHz Double Data Rate (DDR3) Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory (SDRAM) installed. Both memory slots can accept an SDRAM module that meets the following specifications:
- Double Data Rate Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Module (DDR3) format
- 30 mm (1.18 inches)
- 1 GB or 2 GB
- PC3-8500 DDR3 SO-DIMM 1066 MHz Type RAM
Apple likewise states that "for best performance, fill both memory slots, and install an identical memory module in each slot."
Apple only officially supports a maximum of 4 GB of RAM in both lines. However, site sponsor Other World Computer has discovered that the "Late 2009" (MacBook6,1) model actually is capable of supporting 8 GB of RAM. Likewise, OWC has determined that the "Mid-2010" (MacBook7,1) model actually supports 8 GB of RAM running Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" and 16 GB of RAM running OS X 10.7.5 "Lion" or higher and the latest EFI update.
RAM Upgrade Instructions
The User's Guides provide installation instructions complete with drawings, which absolutely should be read in their entirety before one installs memory, but perhaps even better, OWC provides a convenient step-by-step video of the process:
After watching the video, it should be clear that upgrading the RAM in this model is a simple process. However, if you do not feel comfortable -- or have the time -- to perform the upgrade yourself, hiring a professional always is a good option.
MacBook RAM Purchase & Professional Installation Options
Just because RAM meets the minimum listed criteria does not mean that it will necessarily function as intended in your Mac. Be sure to buy from a quality vendor that has tested their RAM with the MacBook to ensure full compatibility.
In the US (and many other countries), site sponsor Other World Computing sells memory and storage upgrades for the White "Unibody" MacBook models (and all other Macs as well). Mission Repair offers an upgrade service by mail with a 24-hour turnaround time for this model.
In Canada, site sponsor The Mac Market sells MacBook compatible memory with flat rate express shipping across Canada. The company also provides an upgrade service.
In Australia, site sponsor RamCity sells MacBook compatible memory with a lifetime warranty and fast, flat-rate shipping Australia-wide.
In Southeast Asia, site sponsor SimplyMac.sg sells MacBook compatible memory with free delivery -- and optional upgrade service -- in Singapore and flat rate shipping to Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea.