More Storage for Tiny Disks

Let’s face it, Apple has been pretty stingy with the size of the SSD drives that they put in their machines. Although that is changing now, a lot of people are quite happy with their MacBook Air or MacBook Pro- apart from the fact that the drive is always full. This is particularly painful if you’ve bought an 11″ machine with a 64gb drive or a 13″ with a 128gb drive.

Also remember that wear levelling gets harder and harder as your drive gets more full, meaning that your drive may prematurely die….

To buy a larger drive and install it is horrendously expensive because you have to buy a genuine Apple part, so here’s a cheap way around the issue-

*Please note, this is only applicable for the 2010- 2015 models that feature SD-Card slots. If you don’t have an SD Card slot but do have a spare USB slot, see below……

You need to buy 2 things- the card and the adaptor.

Go and buy one of these-

 

I buy these from eBay, they are a lot cheaper than in stores. For instance, this 128GB version is $154 at JB HiFi or $72 from eBay as at 2nd March 2017. Even lower if you do a search!

A note about speeds- some of these memory cards have very slow read and write speeds. You should look for Class 10, which is the highest speed class, but that doesn’t tell the whole story- speeds in this class can range from 10MB/s all the way up to 80MB/s and above.

 

Another example- the card pictured above is a Samsung 128GB Evo, which has a read speed of 48MB/s. Checking eBay today, I found a Samsung 128GB Evo+ which has read speeds of 80MB/s for only $2 more! Get the highest speed you can afford- remember your internal drive can support speeds of up to 1500MB/s but no memory card even comes close to this….

 

 

You will also need to buy the adaptor, again these are about $30 in local shops or $5 from eBay– remember Apple made the card slots different depths for some models so PLEASE check that you are buying the right one for your model.

 

Excellent- now, once the drive is installed, you should use Disk Utility to format it for use on your Mac.

Next, decide what you’d like to store on there. Two items that often take up a lot of space are your iTunes library and your Photos library, so this is probably what we’d suggest.  Also a good option because you can set and forget once the move is complete, and these apps don’t require huge disk speed. So, how do you move them?

The strategy is the same for both items- MAKE A FULL BACKUP FIRST

  1. Copy the folder across
  2. Tell the app about the new location
  3. Test that it works
  4. Delete the old library

iTunes- here’s the offical Apple Support doc, but it’s a little hard to follow, you might find this Appleinsider one easier.

Photos- again here is the official Apple Support doc, but this one from MacWorld might be easier to follow.

EDIT- for those who don’t have an SD card slot but do have a spare USB port, try one of these- it’s a SanDisk 128 GB 128G CZ43 ULTRA FIT USB 3.0

They don’t stick out much and are quite fast, HOWEVER- don’t buy from China or Hong Kong, they are often copies with very little actual storage. If you’re going to buy from eBay, check out the sellers details carefully. Here’s a link but please note I have not purchased from this seller
Also make sure you buy a USB3.0 drive, otherwise your storage may be painfully slow!

 

 

FAQ
Why don’t we just move the whole User Account over? Because of the much slower speed of the SD Card. Also moving a whole account is a bit scary for non professionals.
Why not move my Documents folder across? You can, but we’ve found that iTunes and Photos is generally the fastest, easiest and gives the best results.

REMEMBER- this solution is meant to stay in the machine all the time- it’s very annoying if your iTunes library is on a card and you remove the card- iTunes will start a new library where it thinks it should be without warning you, and can create a real mess which has to be cleaned up by hand.

Congratulations! You’ve just save yourself mega dollars because you don’t need to buy a new machine- now you can afford to buy wine from Dan Murphy’s instead of Aldi.