On 15 June 2020 Apple revealed that it was making a new new SSD kit for Mac Pro available that would enable customers to upgrade their internal storage from the original factory configuration.
We’ve had a look at the process Mac Pro owners will need to go thought to perform the update. The steps are similar to installing RAM, except that users also need to delete the firmware on the T2 chip and reload it, which is a more complicated process and will require a second Mac.
The Mac Pro is the only Mac to have interchangeable SSDs, and up to two modules can be installed at a time.
At first glance, the SSDs look like conventional memory modules. However, you can only use special modules offered by Apple that cost from £600/$600 - for the 1 TB model. The maximum expansion level is two 4TB modules (for a total of 8TB), which cost a total of £2,800/$2,800. There is a small discount for the purchase of these two modules, as a single 4TB module costs £1,600/$1,600. You can buy the modules here.
It is not difficult to install the modules themselves, the T8 screwdriver required is actually included with the SSD modules.
Apple runs through this process on a support page here. We recommend that you follow Apple’s 19 steps. The level of difficulty is about the same as replacing a memory module on an older Mac Pro (until you have to delete the firmware on the T2 chip, more on that below).
- You first have to remove the case and put the Mac Pro on its side, then you can pull out the SSD cover.
- Apple warns that the internal components can be relatively hot. You should therefore wait 5 to 10 minutes after switching off until the components have cooled down.
- The SSDs are attached with two T8 screws, these can be removed with the provided screwdriver.
- Having installed the SSD it is necessary to delete and restore firmware. A second Mac is required for the installation. You will need this to delete the firmware on the T2 chip and reload it. Otherwise, the new SSD cannot be used because it is encrypted and controlled by the T2 chip.
- The second Mac is connected to the Mac Pro using a USB-C cable. MacOS 10.14.6 and later and the Apple Configurator tool from version 2.12 need to be installed on the second Mac.
- When you start the Apple Configurator tool, you will see the Mac Pro in the main window. Under Actions, select "Restore" and start the process.
After the update is complete, the Mac will restart and you can then use the SSD.
There are cheaper and easier to use alternatives, such as Sonnet or Promise. These solutions also do not require a T2 chip update.
This article originally appeared on Macwelt Translation by Karen Haslam.