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Retina Display MacBook Pro Q&A - Updated July 14, 2016

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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, or could, be equipped with as much as 768 GB or 1 TB of SSD storage at the time of purchase.

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 and is fairly straightforward to upgrade.

However, different lines use different proprietary SSD modules and it is important to identify both the MacBook Pro and the SSD module correctly.

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 easiest 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. There are two significantly different SSD designs for these models, though.

There is one 6 Gb/s SATA-based SSD for the "Late 2012" and "Early 2013" 13-Inch Retina MacBook Pro models. Unlike the 15-Inch Retina Display MacBook Pro, the SSD in the "Late 2012" and "Early 2013" models is mounted in a small "drive caddy" that can hold a 5 mm or 7 mm tall SSD (or hard drive), in lieu of the small proprietary SSD module that Apple uses.

The proprietary PCIe 2.0-based SSD in the "Late 2013" and subsequent models is limited to a smaller "blade" option, though. By default, the "Late 2013" and "Mid-2014" models negotiate a x2 PCIe connection, but in testing, OWC discovered that when a "blade" SSD from a Cylinder Mac Pro was 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.

Upgrade Instructions

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 for the "Late 2012" and "Early 2013" models, specifically, and subsequent models have a similar 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 SSDs compatible with the "Late 2012" and "Early 2013" 13" Retina MacBook Pro models as well as "Late 2013" and subsequent models.

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.

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