The Main Issues with the MacBook Pros Embedded SSD

Written By: Ontrack

Date Published: August 28, 2022

The Main Issues with the MacBook Pros Embedded SSD

The new MacBook Pro has been released, and boy, does it look good! We’ve read the reviews, saved up the many, many pennies needed to buy it, and decided what version we want. But there is one problem that users may face; the SSD being embedded into the motherboard.

Now, this isn’t the first time Apple has done this; it was actually first introduced to the MacBook Pro 2016 model, which was questionable at the time! The problem is, it gives potential buyers two very important decisions to make at purchase time…what level of storage do I need now? And what level of storage may I need in the future?

Would that stop us from buying one? That’s a good question and one that we will answer in the article. This article will also explore:

  • Why has Apple embedded its SSD and RAM in the motherboard of the majority of its machines?
  • What benefits and challenges does this pose for users?
  • What if you want to upgrade the storage capacity of your MacBook?

Why is the Macbook SSD and RAM embedded into the motherboard?

Over the years, devices have been getting smaller; making them more practical for our busy lives. This is the same for Apple computers (apart from desktop Mac’s that just seem to be getting bigger and bigger!).

The 2018 MacBook Pro is only 0.59-inches thick, a far cry from the first MacBook Pro introduced in 2006. And, weighing only 4.02 pounds in comparison to the 2006 5.6 pounds, it’s no wonder Apple has had to make modifications to its designs.

The simple truth is, laptops that have an SSD that cannot be upgraded or replaced will either put buyers off or just encourage them to upgrade their laptop more regularly. Now, the die-hard Apple Mac fans are not going to be put off. The fact that the largest market for Apple Mac’s is, in fact, existing Mac owners, only proves Apple’s bet that users are happy to buy laptops that are only useful for a year or two. It’s much more profitable for Apple for its users to upgrade to a new machine, over upgrading their existing computer.

What benefits and challenges does this pose for users?

The 2018 edition has the largest amount of RAM ever been offered in a MacBook Pro at 32GB. The amount of storage available has also been upgraded. The 15-inch model is now available with up to 4TB of PCle SSD storage (the 13inch is only available with up to 2TB). Most people will never need much more than that. But, it’s nice to have the option, especially as you have to pay $6699 for the 15 inch 4TB version!

That’s a HUGE amount of money for a laptop, especially for one that if you did manage to use up the 4TB of storage, you have no other options available to you apart from an external hard drive. And, to be frank, if you’re paying over $6500 for a laptop you don’t want to have to carry around an external hard drive as well!

MacBook Pro models released prior to 2016 allowed users to replace the SSD drive at any point. Meaning you could have bought a cheaper version of a MacBook Pro with less storage available and replaced it yourself with a larger SSD drive. There were even companies such as ‘Other World Computing’ that would design larger SSD’s, especially for MacBook Pros.

What if you want to upgrade the storage capacity of your MacBook?

The easiest explanation is…you can’t!

Any MacBook Pro released post-2016 that comes with a Touch Bar (a secondary touchscreen that sits at the top of the keyboard), has an embedded SSD drive, which means it cannot be removed or replaced. So, if you wish to have access to more storage, you will have to buy an external hard drive, or just opt for cloud storage services.

The other option you may think is to buy a MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar (the 2016 entry-level MacBook Pro does not have one). ‘Other World Computing’ tore down the entry-level MacBook Pro when it was first released and even though it was very complicated, managed to remove the SSD card.

Great, you think. I’ll buy one of them instead. Unfortunately, nobody makes SSDs that are compatible with the newer versions of MacBook Pros anymore (that includes 2016 entry-level).

So, would we buy one?

Hmmmm…perhaps! Whether or not to buy the MacBook Pro would be completely based on user need. Money doesn’t grow on trees, especially in this day and age and shelling out over $6500 on a laptop is, frankly brazen!

Embedding the SSD drive to the motherboard of the more recent MacBook Pro’s is both a smart and sneaky move by Apple. It seems to be just a way to ensure that MacBook Pro users have to upgrade their laptop more often, rather than upgrading the storage.

Lost your data on your MacBook Pro? Ontrack is able to recover data from the embedded SSD drives found in the MacBook Pro. Need more information? Click here.



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