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Teardown finds removable SSD in 13" MacBook Pro without Touch Bar

Aftermarket Mac storage solutions firm OWC tore down Apple's entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar to find that, while an involved process, the notebook's SSD module can be removed and potentially replaced.




Though not designed for easy-access SSD swapping, the removable module opens the door to aftermarket storage expansion option. The design moves away from Apple's latest thin-and-light, the 12-inch MacBook with Retina display, which relies on flash memory permanently affixed to the logic board.

That being said, OWC in a blog post detailing the teardown process noted the new MacBook Pro's bottom cover panel was more difficult to remove than previous MacBook generations.

Images accompanying the article show what appears to be six Apple-specific pentalobe screws securing the bottom cover to the upper unibody chassis. In addition to the screws, there are what looks to be two latches on the left and right sides of the cover that interface with corresponding metal posts installed on the chassis frame.

Once the bottom cover is remove, users or aftermarket specialists must disconnect and remove the notebook's left speaker array from its seating to gain access to the SSD. OWC noted the presence of strong tape over the SSD's interface port, likely implemented to protect against errant disconnections.

While impossible to confirm at this time, Apple's 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models likely sport a similar internal design, suggesting their SSD module can be access and upgraded after purchase, as well. This bodes well for customers unwilling to pay Apple's exorbitant prices for upgraded storage allotments.

Apple's MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models come standard with a 256GB SSD. A second 13-inch configuration with 512GB can be had for an extra $200, while a 1TB option is $400. For the 256GB 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, 1TB and 2TB storage tiers are respective $200, $600 and $1,400 add-ons, while the top-tier 512GB model with Core i7 CPU offers 1TB and 2TB upgrades for an extra $400 and $1,200, respectively.

For the latest prices and availability on Apple's new 2016 MacBook Pros, please visit our Mac Price Guide.