Good news first: most older Macs and even some current Macs can be easily user-upgraded to include SSDs. Hard drive replacement is generally the best option. Bad news: the newer the Mac, the greater the likelihood that actually installing the drive yourself will be tricky. I strongly recommend updating your Mac to the latest non-beta version of macOS it can run before beginning the backup process.
Then restore directly from your Time Machine backup. This will give you a completely fresh start, though your emails, app settings, and other files will need to be separately hunted down and brought over from your other hard drive. For users with plans to swap an optical drive for an SSD, keeping the SSD as a non-boot drive, nothing needs to be done to prep software beforehand. However, if you plan to make the SSD your boot drive, follow the instructions above so you can enjoy the speed benefits of running macOS directly from the SSD.
One brief note on TRIM, a topic that was a bigger deal when I originally wrote SSD guides; read about it and third-party software in greater depth here. Thankfully, earlier Mac minis are easier to open, requiring only a putty knife , Phillips 00 Screwdriver , and spudger. The same sort of 2. Aluminum-bodied inch MacBooks of or earlier vintage not current inch models and MacBook Pros sold in or earlier can be upgraded with 2.
You just unscrew and remove the bottom cover of your MacBook, pull out the hard drive, replace it with the SSD, then reattach the bottom cover. The original inch Retina MacBook Pro requires quite a few additional steps; Apple significantly simplified the SSD replacement process for subsequent-generation inch machines, bringing them to parity with the inch model and MacBook Airs.
How easy is installation? After I published my first SSD swapping article, several commenters opined that they felt the upgrade was too difficult for regular people to handle on their own. But you may feel otherwise, and some Mac models are more complex than others. Obviously, the "Get" button is somewhere in sections 1 through 3, which I cannot get to. I finally got frustrated and started rapidly pushing Tab key and Shift-Tab. Back and forth I went, round and round several times. Eventually, it accidentally entered these other sections and I was finally able to get to the "Get" button.
Needless to say, but I will say it anyway, the new App Store on the Mac leaves much to be desired. I clicked the Get button and the download started. Then I walked away for a bit, so my Mac wouldn't receive a flying lesson. It's always good to know when to walk away. However, I digress, back to the amazing experience with my new SSD drive. Once the installer was finished downloading, it automatically gave me the install screen which states something like, "Welcome to macOS Mojave.
Press Continue to install. Currently, pressing Continue here would reinstall Mojave onto my internal drive, which is not what I want. At this point, with the first install window on the screen, I quit the installer and returned to my Mac desktop. I opened my Macintosh HD and entered the Applications folder. I found the "Install macOS Mojave. Since the installer is over 6 gig in size, I like to do things very deliberately.
No need to accidentally paste it into the wrong window. From here I open the ExtSSD drive's main window, which is freshly formatted and still empty at this time and pasted the installer onto the drive. The copy dialog appeared and said it would take about 3 minutes. For a 6 gig file? Oh, actually it over-estimated. It finished before one minute was up.
Darn it, I was going to make another cup of coffee. Oh well, I'll have to wait. I activated the installer from the SSD drive and the same first install screen appeared. I clicked the Continue button and went through the license agreement stuff. I agree.
Then the 'Choose which disk' screen came up. Further along in this window is a spot telling me which disk it will install onto. Since I am typing this from memory, I can't remember which disk it chose by default. Regardless, there was a "Show all disks" option right there, which I clicked. This showed all available disks for possible installs. I found and selected the ExtSSD as the proper disk. Moving once to the right was some text that confirmed my choice. Right after that I clicked the Install button.
I knew that this process would take a little while and restart the computer as part of the install. So I finally have time to make a cup of coffee. As a side note, most OS and app installers will require much more space on the destination drive than just their own file size. As a rule of thumb, it's best to have about three times the amount of space as the file size of the installer. Most installers act like a type of compressed archive.
They unpack all kinds of stuff onto the target drive, then use the stuff to install themselves. Then they clean up afterwards and delete themselves. Before installing a larger install, always check the available space on the drive first. Also, it doesn't hurt to back up an installer somewhere else before running the install. You can re-use it for other installs without having to download again. The SSD was now going through the normal install process. After a little while, the Mac restarted from the SSD to finish the install.
My Mac screen suddenly became really bright. This means the remainder of the install is taking place. It should be the normal 'Installing macOS Mojave' screen with the progress bar. I pressed Command-f5 to see if VoiceOver would come on yet, but it was too soon. Yup, this was the correct screen. After just a few minutes I tried VoiceOver again and Fred began reading the screen and letting me navigate. About 15 minutes later, my Mac restarted again, except this time it was starting up from the SSD drive.
As it came up to the desktop, the normal setup screens began, as if I had just turned on a new Mac. When I had created the user name and Admin password for this install, I was careful to use exactly the same names as I did on my internal drive, even the Home folders are named identically. This way I don't have to type my user password every time I access the internal drive. Once the basic setup was complete, I spent a little time going through the VoiceOver settings and tweaking them how I prefer. If I had thought about it, I would've been smart to export my VoiceOver preferences as a file.
Then I could have simply imported them into this install. It would have sped things up quite a bit, but, I can't remember everything. Well at this point I still had lots of settings to change in System Preferences, but first I wanted to get some stuff from the internal drive. Um, except that its not on the new desktop yet. Oh, I still have one more step.
In this small window are four buttons in the Toolbar. I clicked the first one, General. In the window portion it said "Show these items on the desktop". The remainder of this window depends on your particular likes. Then I returned to the Toolbar and clicked the 'Sidebar' button. I chose which items I want to show in the Sidebar of every Finder window I open. I chose mostly the same stuff, but it depends on your likes. Once more into the Toolbar and I clicked the Advanced button. Below I always choose one option, 'Show all filename extensions'. This shows the '.
Now I know most files and what they are simply by landing on them with VO. External SSD. VoiceOver is on. That way, I can get to my internal stuff without navigating through so many folders. Even though the start up slowed down a bit after I installed all my apps and stuff, plus Dropbox loading at boot up, it still boots at least five times faster than with the internal drive. After reaching the desktop, loading apps and files is now, almost instantaneous. I load Safari for the first time in a session, it takes less than three seconds to load and is ready to use.
It is an amazing difference! VoiceOver is the fastest I have used since I first started using it about ten years ago. Each key press happens immediately. No lag, no dreaded 'busy' message, no discernible delay at all. Note for the sighted, when VoiceOver says 'busy', its talking about the spinning beachball of death. I wanted to share my results, knowing that manny of us have a limited budget and use older Macs.
I know that I cannot afford a new Mac every time they come out with one, but this almost seems like a new one anyway. I was absolutely thrilled with the outcome. My digital life just became much more responsive. Now I remember why All of our cool digital stuff that we work with, play with and enjoy, is all about "Living. This blog was truly inspirational. The plan is to pretty much reproduce what you've done here. I, too, have a MBP and it's unacceptably sluggish at times.
I hope I see the same speedup as you. Give me a few weeks, I'll be back. Thanks for the helpful article!! In the recovery mode, you can in fact use the disk utility almost exactly the same as you would in the operating system itself barring the extra things that might show up on the disk list.
Also, it saves loads of time when trying to install the operating system itself on the shiny new external drive. To start the install, simply select the aptly named item in the Mac OS Utilities list, click continue, and you're off! There's a list item for the disk utility as well, so getting to it should be no problem at all.
Real-World Performance: Windows And Mac Boot Times
To enter the recovery mode, simply hold command and R for a few seconds while your machine first boots up, noting that the keyboard doing so can't be wireless for this to work. This means of course connecting your keyboard through USB should you be using a desktop mac. I hear the cries: Voiceover does work in recovery mode, even braille in many cases via USB! Voiceover can b started in the usual ways minus Siri summoning. Thanks for the reply.
Hope you have luck with it, though I have had very few issues when approaching it this way. Once I even made a bootable DVD that was excruciatingly slow, but it worked. Thanks for the excellent tip about Recovery Mode. This is definitely an option and one I have not explored before. This is an additional option for installing an OS on a Mac. The only question I might have: if starting from a recovery partition on the internal drive, which would have been created by the current OS that is installed on the internal drive, can I still run the installer from the external drive?
I ask because I have had installers glitch out during the install process before, only a few times after many installs over the years, which trashed the internal partition where the installer was unpacking the files.
Fix SSD slow boot times - Mac OS X Hints
Though, I can't seem to find any verifiable info about where the installer actually unpacks its files. So I am assuming that they are unpacked onto the destination drive. Also, doing this from the recovery partition while booted from it, from what I can find out, will default to downloading the Mac OS that is installed on the internal drive, or the default OS that the system shipped with. Okay, one more question. Does the recovery partition allow for the full version of VO? This is probably a personal choice, but I like to keep the full 'Alex' version of VO under my fingers for as long as possible.
Otherwise, I get to use Alex and my fully customized VO setup through the entire process. Thanks again for the excellent tip, definitely worth exploring. This is exactly what AppleVis is all about. None of us have all the answers, but sharing our ideas here is why I am a member. I'm doing this as well I'm going to remove the internal hard drive and replace it with a SSD drive. Aditionally, I'm going to remove the disc drive and load another ssd there. Let us know how easy the process is, I'd be very interested to know how it works out.
Note, whenever I do anything potentially risky to my Mac, which seems to happen all too often :- , I have often been very thankful that I also had an external drive that I could boot from as well. If any glitches happen during the process, I can at least still boot my Mac to help me figure out what happened. The external boot drive can sit off on a shelf until needed. Just a suggestion. It only consumes one afternoon to give yourself a back up to start up from.
One thought, you could get an external USB drive enclosure and put your internal drive into it, start from it once to verify, situation handled.
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Amazing and well written! I was thinking if I ever decided to purchase the same drive that you have, or something similar, I could use this as my external windows drive, and use my internal drive for Mac OS, while the external drive could be used for windows. I don't know specifically about Windows. I would assume Bootcamp would let you install another OS, such as Windows, pretty much anywhere.
After that, boot in to the installation of osx I'm using right now and set the start up disc to the USB drive I prepared. Once that's booting and confirmed working I'm going to take the hdd the drive that I'm writing you from right now out of the computer in its present working state so ware positive it's working and install the first ssd in the SATTA port where e the hdd was in.
From here, we're going to boot from the installer USB and shoot Mojave on to the new internal drive.
How to Install an Additional SSD Drive in Your Mac
Once we complete the installation and we are booting from the SSD, I'll change the start up disc to the ssd. I've found a way to make the software side of this entire process totally voice over friendly. I've tested this on my friend's Mac-he wanted to sell it, and he wanted a clean os installation to give to the new owner.
I've never tried to install windows on a Mac, but from looking at tech vvlogs on YT , the easiest option is to drop the drive in a windows PC, install windows there then boot the Mac external from the windows drive.
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It might be a more convoluted process, but I prefer convolution over simplicity if the question isuser control. To check into this further, I did a Google search on "Mac bootcamp install windows external drive". There I found lots of various info about doing exactly this. I no longer have an install of Windows on my Mac and this does not fit my current situation. I probably wouldn't be the most knowledgable person to write about this at this time. However, a good starting point might be,. From what I discovered, the process may include many steps and possibly some virtualization software like VMWare or VirtualBox or such to help in the installation process.
While this may be a very doable process, it is not simple or easy, though if you are somewhat proficient with both Mac and Windows and you don't mind a troubleshooting process that involves many steps, it is possible. I would imagine it could have many areas where VoiceOver may not function. Currently, I personally would not start a process like this without sighted help available, if needed. That being said, the first step I would make with any possible risky process would be to follow the steps in the blog above and make sure you have something to start up your Mac, on another external drive.
Nothing is worse than getting that blinking question mark when you try to start your Mac. If you proceed with any of the methods to install Windows on a USB drive, there are several ways to go about it, but I would make sure you download and set aside all software and instructions that you might need. If you use a screen reader, download NVDA and have it ready to install. If possible, put the software and instructions on another computer or device, so you can refer to it while your Mac is tied up in the process.
There are many things to consider first before starting the process. Is your Mac capable of running the version of Windows that you want? Do you need to check the compatibility of NVDA? And finally, make lots of coffee. Though I must say, not all of the information and resources are fully blind compatible. Plus anything like this can easily take much longer than the time estimates given with the resources.
If I think I could do something like this and I think it is possible , if I estimate the time involved to be one afternoon, I would set aside three afternoons instead. One can never be sure of what troubleshoots one might come across and what else might be needed during such an endeavor. There is always a good chance that it can take much longer than expected.
During the process if you find yourself hurrying through it, get up, walk away for a bit, allow the process to slow down enough so that you are being careful again. I mention this because it has served me well in the past. Also on every screen where you make changes, double-check your changes before you press the "I hope it works" button. Once you click that button, it is already too late to double check.
With all this in mind, if someone performs this process, successes or failures aside, please consider writing up your experiences and posting them here on AppleVis. It would definitely be worth its own forum post. I will be reading it as well. Your process for the internal drive sounds correct to me. I would love to read about it afterwards. Tens of thousands of blind people could benefit from it here on AppleVis.
Just a thought. Always verify this for yourself by starting up from it once. While you are started from it, here is your chance to cram it full of everything else you think you may need during the process. You may as well have what you need at your fingertips, rather than having to dig around during a possible stressful situation. On the external Windows idea, another quick reminder, BootCamp does more than just help install Windows.
It also downloads the Mac hardware drivers for the version of Windows you are installing. If you create your Win disk on a Windows system, a unique idea, you will still need the Mac hardware drivers for it. It probably will not "just work" like Mac software does. Not sure about this. Otherwise, I would love to read about it if you have time to type it up, I may consider following it as well, it sounds like a worthy adventure to me! Wow, I haven't considered running a Unix flavor for a long time.
This sounds great. What screen reader would you recommend for Linux? Also, you should consider taking notes and creating a blog post from it for AppleVis, if possible. I would love to hear your experiences from the process. Hmmm, I may need another few external drives. I'm probably not going to do the windows thing, tbh, I'm getting everything that I want done in osx at the moment.
https://fiakamagpae.tk I'm going to write a guide to performing an off-line install of osx without any sighted assistance later tonight. I will definitely be reading through it myself. If I may make a suggestion on the writing ,A few tips: Include warnings and precautions where ever you think its appropriate. One thing I have found from consulting over the past 25 years, it pays to remind the reader about being cautious. Many people, including myself, have a tendency to become frustrated with the complexities of technology.
This techno-frustration can sometimes cause one to "hurry up and get it done. It doesn't hurt to remind people politely to "slow down, be careful, double check everything" before they proceed. Also, slow down your own process and take notes while you go through it, the notes become your source material for the writing. You may need to write your notes on another system or device while you perform the process.
Then email your notes to yourself. Remind the reader of this as well. One last writing tip. Write about what you know, if you need to include info that you are not absolutely sure of, write about it that way. Include a little info about how you were not sure either and how you found out.
Thousands of people could read your writing, it can help them through the process by reading about your own. Kind of teach people to teach themselves. I hope I am not over-stepping bounds here, but I try to use these same approaches myself. I look forward to reading through your writing and process. Go for it! Thank you for those pointers. Having come from the land of Windows, forced to work on a rickety system, with no tech savvy people around me, I've learned to power through complicated issues with no real help.
I don't recommend it, but I'm going to write this guide, that, should they need too for some reason, a person with no prior experience with OSX can pick up this guide and if followed to the letter, perform a reinstallation of Mac on their own Now that would be an accomplishment weather sighted or not. However, I see that my current Mojave install and all my apps and user documents occupies only GB of my physical hard drive. Once that's done, the internal hard drive becomes free for backups or other data. Does this sound feasible?
And, Ted, did you consider doing this? What made you go with the clean Mojave install? Hello Paul, Restoring from a Time Machine backup might be a viable option, especially with current technology. This may be a personal choice, but I still like to do things using an old-school method. Here's my possibly outdated reasons. The basic concepts of how storage and drives functions work is something like this.
Every file and there are hundreds of thousands of them involved , get written to the drive. However, each file is rarely a whole unit when this happens. Normally each file is split up into pieces which are written into several areas on the disk, for various reasons; quick retrieval, space considerations on the drive, etc.
None of the files on a drive, or any storage media, are a whole unit in and of themselves. The 'system drive manager' records where each piece of each file is stored, into an index file of sorts. Even this index file is split into pieces and another deeper-level file keeps track of where its pieces are, at any one time. This is actually done for speed and disk access considerations.