Hosting and bandwidth provided by

Retina Display MacBook Pro Q&A - Updated March 9, 2016

All Mac Q&As >> Retina Display MacBook Pro Q&A (Home)

To be notified of new Q&As, sign up for's bimonthly email list.

If you find this page useful, please Bookmark & Share it. Thank you.

How do you upgrade or replace the storage in the 13-Inch Retina Display MacBook Pro models? Is it the same storage and process as the 15-Inch Retina Display MacBook Pro? Is it possible?

By default, 13-Inch Retina Display MacBook Pro models are configured with 128 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB of SSD storage. Via custom configuration, some models also can be equipped with as much as 768 GB or 1 TB of SSD storage.

Officially, it is not possible for an end user to upgrade the storage after purchase. However, as first reported by site sponsor Other World Computing, the SSD is installed as a removable module in all of these systems, but different lines use different proprietary SSD modules.

Specifically, OWC's aftermarket Mercury Aura Pro upgrade that is compatible with the "Mid-2012" and "Early 2013" 15-Inch Retina Display MacBook Pro models is compatible with the "Late 2012" and "Early 2013" 13-Inch models, too.

Unfortunately, this SSD is not compatible with the discontinued "Late 2013" and "Mid-2014" models, but they use a PCIe 2.0 2-Lane SSD, and the current "Early 2015" models use an even faster PCIe 2.0 4-Lane SSD.

After more than two years of work, OWC also has released an Aura PCIe-based SSD with a compatible connector for the "Late 2013" and subsequent MacBook Pro models.

Photo Credit: Apple, Inc. (13-Inch Retina Display MacBook Pro)

Identification Help

If you're not sure whether or not you have a 13-Inch Retina Display MacBook Pro or another model, notebooks with different SSDs share the A1425 and A1502 Model Numbers.

As a result, the easist way to identify them uniquely enough for the purpose of determining the correct SSD type is either by external EMC Number or by the Model Identifier in software.

As always, has carefully hand documented these details for your convenience:

MacBook Pro



Model Identifier

13-Inch (Late 2012)

Late 2012



13-Inch (Early 2013)

Early 2013



13-Inch (Late 2013)

Late 2013



13-Inch (Mid-2014)




13-Inch (Early 2015)

Early 2015



Finally,'s Ultimate Mac Lookup feature -- as well as the EveryMac app -- additionally can uniquely identify all of the Retina Display MacBook Pro models by their serial numbers and other identifiers.

Upgrade Obstacles & Compatible SSD Details

Apple does not intend for end users to upgrade the SSD in these models themselves. The company even has used uncommon "pentalobe" screws -- also called five-point Torx screws -- to discourage access. However, access is straightforward with the correct screwdriver, the SSD is simple to access, and upgrades are not blocked in firmware, either.

In addition to selling the Mercury Aura Pro SSD compatible with the "Late 2012" and "Early 2013" models and Aura PCIe-based SSD compatible with the "Late 2013" and subsequent models, OWC also offers an Envoy Pro bus-powered external enclosure so the original SSD can be repurposed as an external drive.

Interestingly -- and unlike the 15-Inch Retina Display MacBook Pro models -- the SSD in the "Late 2012" and "Early 2013" 13-Inch models is mounted in a small "drive caddy" that can hold a 7 mm tall SSD (or hard drive), in lieu of the small proprietary SSD module that Apple uses.

At the moment, 5 mm or 7 mm high SSD modules with a compatible connector are few and far between, but having the space available bodes well for more upgrade options for these 13-Inch models than subsequent 13-Inch models as well as their 15-Inch counterparts. If you have successfully installed an SSD module that is physically larger than the stock module, please share. Thank you.

The proprietary PCIe 2.0-based SSD in the "Late 2013" and subsequent models is limited to a smaller "blade" option. In recent testing, though, OWC discovered that when a "blade" SSD from a Cylinder Mac Pro is installed in a "Late 2013" or "Mid-2014" model, it "negotiates a x4 PCIe connection versus the stock cards, which negotiate a x2 PCIe connection," which means that this newly transplanted SSD was substantially faster than the stock one. The "Early 2015" models support a x4 PCIe connection by default.

Although OWC was careful to disclaim that the company "does not recommend installing a Mac Pro SSD in your [Late 2013 or Mid-2014] Retina MacBook Pro" because of thermal issues, it is at least theoretically possible to install not only larger capacity, but potentially faster, SSDs in these models in the future.

Upgrade Instructions (Late 2012 & Early 2013 Models)

The bottom panel of the 13-Inch Retina Display MacBook Pro is attached with ten screws of differing lengths. After removing the bottom of the notebook, the battery removal process is fairly involved -- with four more screws to unscrew before disconnecting the battery -- but the drive caddy itself is easy to remove.

OWC provides this excellent video to walk one through the entire procedure:

This video explains how to install the original SSD from your 13-Inch MacBook Pro in OWC's convenient "Envoy Pro" case to repurpose it as an external drive:

By watching these videos, you should be able to determine if you feel comfortable performing this upgrade yourself or if you would instead prefer to hire a professional.

SSD Purchase Options

In the US (and many other countries), site sponsor Other World Computer sells the compatible Mercury Aura Pro and Aura PCIe-based SSDs as well as compatible external peripherals.

In the UK and Ireland, site sponsor Flexx sells 13" Retina Display MacBook Pro compatible SSDs with free shipping. The company provides flat rate shipping to France, Germany, and Switzerland and inexpensive shipping for all of Europe, too.

In Australia, site sponsor RamCity sells compatible SSDs for the 13" Retina Display MacBook Pro models with fast, flat-rate shipping Australia-wide. Specifically, RamCity recommends the Transcend Jetdrive 720 line.

In Southeast Asia, site sponsor sells the compatible OWC SSD upgrade for the 13" Retina Display MacBook Pro 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.

Permalink | E-mail a Friend | Bookmark & Share | Report an Error/Typo

Suggest a New Q&A | Sign Up for Bimonthly Site Update Notices

<< Retina Display MacBook Pro Q&A (Main) | All Mac Q&As is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind whatsoever., and the author thereof, shall not be held responsible or liable, under any circumstances, for any damages resulting from the use or inability to use the information within. For complete disclaimer and copyright information please read and understand the Terms of Use and the Privacy Policy before using Use of any content or images without expressed permission is not allowed, although links to any page are welcomed and appreciated.