Putting solid state drive in mac mini

As always, EveryMac. Server C2D 2. Server i7 2. Regular "Mid" Aluminum "Unibody" Mac mini models, which have optical drives, support a single 2. The oddball Mac mini "Core 2 Duo" 2. All "Mid" and "Late " models hold two 2. The non-server "Mid" and "Late " models, which only ship with one hard drive by default, a second hard drive or SSD is supported, but one has to purchase the cable needed to attach the drive to the board before installation is possible. A user from the MacRumors forums first determined that the needed part is referred to as the "Bottom Hard Drive Flex Cable" Apple Part Number and successfully installed a second drive.

More recently, site sponsor Other World Computing began offering a " Data Doubler " upgrade kit for the Aluminum Mac mini models that includes everything needed to perform this upgrade -- the cable, drive bracket, precisely sized screwdrivers and screws -- in one convenient package. However, it is possible to buy this cable later. The current "Late " models have onboard storage and it cannot be upgraded at all after the initial system purchase. To upgrade the memory in the Aluminum "Unibody" Mac mini models released before and after the Late models, Apple has made it straightforward.

Replacing the hard drive or hard drives is a more complicated procedure and Apple does not support users performing this upgrade themselves. In the User Guide , Apple formally states the following:. As Apple does not consider the hard drive to be a "customer installable part," EveryMac. Most likely should instead add a quick and easy external hard drive or alternately hire a professional. Given the small and densely packed nature of the Aluminum Mac mini models this certainly is not a good system to upgrade yourself without substantial experience upgrading the hard drive in similar systems.

However, for highly experienced users, upgrading the hard drive or hard drives -- or swapping in one or more SSDs -- is difficult , but feasible nevertheless. These videos from OWC cover the procedure for the optical-drive equipped "Mid" models and the optical drive-less "Mid" Server, "Mid," and "Late " models, in a step-by-step fashion:. It is hoped that by watching the videos you should be able to determine whether or not you feel comfortable performing the upgrade yourself or if you would rather hire a professional.

In theory, just about any hard drive or SSD that meets the minimum requirements should work in the Mac mini. However, it always is best to buy from a trusted company with Mac knowledge for the most trouble-free experience. From mid , most Macs shipped with part of the macOS embedded in the logic board. This allowed the Mac to do an Internet Recovery, go to the Apple website, download some software, and boot to the macOS Utilities page.

From this page you could initialise a new drive and install the latest macOS. Changes from the release of High Sierra mean that the only macOS you can install via Internet Recovery is the version you have embedded on your logic board the macOS that shipped with your Mac.

We are still testing different scenerios, if you have experienced something different, please let us know.

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Can an external SSD match the Mac Mini's pricey inbuilt storage?

Why is this an issue? From Sierra and High Sierra, Apple has a new drive format structure. To control how the latest macOS is installed, Apple has locked down ways to install it. With the dramatics out of the way, there are various ways to install macOS on your Mac, Apple provides many options. This quick guide is designed to answer questions you have and provide a bit of clarity on the different processes. This is based on our experience and is always being revised. If you can add to these guides, please contact us accordingly. If you don't have a Time Machine or a working mac drive with the latest macOS then you only have one option.

So if your drive or Time Machine was created with Sierra, then that is the macOS you can download and install. You can not install High Sierra or Mojave. The latest macOS is only available via an upgrade path. To use Time Machine restart your Mac while holding down the option key. Using your old drive to get a new macOS Your current hard drive will most likely have a recovery partition.

This should make the Mac boot from the recovery partition. If a spinning globe of the world appears, then it is going to Apple website to install an older version of MacOS, so cancel that operation or shut the Mac down via a hard power off hold down power button. You need to restart holding down the option key, select the recovery partition on the drive that appear. Hold down the option key and reboot the Mac. Holding down the option key loads the boot manager and the Time Machine drive should appear onscreen.

You will have the option of installing a new macOS there are also options to restore from Time Machine and Disk Utility.

Mac Mini 1 TB Dual Hard Drive Upgrade

Your Mac is not seeing the Time Machine. Make sure there is a physical connection not wifi. Is the Time Machine turned on? All MacOS software is delivered digitally. If you have original software media for an macOS like Snow Leopard you can install that software and then upgrade via the App Store to the current version. Use the current MacOS upgrade guide for more information.

You can buy from an Apple Store or calling Apple Support. If you have disconnected the battery, the date could have reset. Part of macOS Utilities is Terminal. It is found as an option in the top menu. Select Terminal. If you are connected to the internet then type: ntpdate -u time. If not, then use this manual method: date which is February 1st or 8pm So mmddhhmiyy all two digits. Either there is an old partition on Time Machine or on the Mac drive. Apple and most of the internet recommends this method, however it does not give you control over which partition the Mac recovers from.

Holding down the option key and restarting the Mac goes into boot manager, and you can see all the drives the Mac can boot from. Make sure you choose the right one! Hold down the Option key as your Mac starts up. The system should create the macOS Ulitilies page. We are still troubleshooting this, we will have a new section on EFI shortly.

If it fails, there is no warning or notification. So there are a lot of Macs with outdated EFI. It may have been corrupted or tampered with during downloading". This is a check Apple has introduced with system installation. They don't want old OS versions installed, better to move everyone to new OS, and new hardware buy a new mac.

How to give your or Mac mini a performance boost by replacing the hard drive with an SSD

There is a simple work around. If you are in OS Utilities, the top menu should have a drop down that has Terminal. Run terminal and then type this in: For El Capitan install use: date [enter] You can check the date is now by typing: date [enter], it should now display: October 1st or 8pm The date after El Capitan's release. You can now install El Capitan without an error. Dates for other systems are: Yosemite: date Mavericks: date Apple includes an awesome app called Migration Assistant that we have used to help customers start over with a fresh macOS but keep all their data and applications.

Apple allows a lot of different installation and migration options. We will discuss the main ones here, but if this does not answer your migration question, please contact us for more specific information about the upgrade you are planning. What is Migration Assistant Migration Assistant allows you to transfer applications, settings and data from another Mac.

A mac can boot from an external drive, for example, if you put your old hard drive into an external enclosure, you can boot from it, and run that hard drive and it would be exactly the same as your old mac If you just want a new macOS, start fresh with no legacy upgrade data, then you can use Migration Assistant to reinstall all your data and apps, and you will have the benefit of a new macOS with all the apps and data from your old drive.

How to use Migration Assistant After you have installed the new macOS, the system starts and asks for generic information: country, keyboard type etc. The next part of the installation setup is Migration Assistant. If you have installed a new SSD, you can use either your old hard drive in an external enclosure or a Time Machine back up as a source for Migration Assistant.

The example in the image below, a Time Machine disk is connected and to be used Select the machine you want to restore from in Time Machine Then select the type of data you want to migrate That is it! You should have a new macOS with all your applications and data restored back on the system.

If you are migrating to an old version of OSX such as Lion, then you need to use another method. This method is not recommended if the macOS are too far apart in release. It is ok if you are moving from Sierra to High Sierra. But if your computer is on Lion, your application and core system files will not be compatible with High Sierra or Mojave. We have renamed this section the good, the bad and the ugly. These are the undocumented or little known Time Machine features that can make your life easier or harder when upgrading to an SSD.

If your Time Machine is backing up your whole drive, yes the macOS is backed up. You have a complete back up of your Mac. You do not have to download macOS to use your Time Machine. It is not totally understood what is happening, but it is not uncommon for Time Machine to get additional files from the Apple website before restoring a Time Machine back up.

Usually these files are to do with the recovery partition on the Time Machine or the Disk Utilities page. In our tests, we have found Apple has separated out the OS and the data. The bad is for customers that have installed an older macOS, such as Lion, via internet recovery. Rebooting off Time Machine Time Machine does not have a recovery partition, however you can use it to restore your Mac or install a new macOS. This loads the boot manager and you can see all drives attached to the Mac. The Time Machine should display as an external drive. Select it and the Mac will build a macOS Utilities page that will have Disk Utility to initialise a new drive or erase a current drive and install a new macOS.

If you have a mechanical hard drive and have upgraded to High Sierra or Mojave, most of the time this drive is formatted as Extended Journal. It will name the SSD the same as the old hard drive even if it is preformated and named different and it will format the drive as the same as the one on the Time Machine, which is usually Extended Journal. This is the problem. Currently we have two work arounds.

The easy one is clone the drive do not restore from Time Machine. Time Machine will restore the data but not overwrite the new OS. When you restore from Time Machine it restores everything including the disk name. It is the disk name duplication that kills me every time.

Crucial SSD for MacĀ® systems support

You erase your new SSD, give it a clever name like Ernie because your current hard drive is called Bert. What happened to Ernie? Ok, I know, you can go and rename the drive to Ernie but what if this is a second drive. Both drives are called Bert, how do you know which one is which? It is important, because you need to set the new SSD as the start disk in preferences. You can not rename the drive in disk utilities but you can change the name on your desktop. So go to the desktop, you will see two drives, both with the same name.

You can click twice on the name slowly and it will highlight so you can rename it. Then go to Disk Utilities see which drive you changed. That way you can work out which is the new SSD and which one should be renamed Ernie. We have recommended Diskmaker X in the past but the method we outline here is the recommended method from Apple. For High Sierra click here. If you have already downloaded and upgraded to Mojave or High Sierra you will need to download the MacOS you want again Apple deletes installer once it has been used.

It does not have to be a super fast USB 3. It does not have to be a USB. You can use an external hard drive note: any data on the drive will be lost as it gets formatted. You can erase and rename. The MacOS creation method will reformat the drive, so it does not need to be any specific format type like Fat32 or Mac Journaled. What is important is the name of the drive, as it is used in the code below. We are going to use the command line app called Terminal to create the MacOS drive. Don't worry if you have never used it, it is very easy, not that scary. Open Terminal, it is found in the Utilities folder in Applications.

Paste the code you copied into Terminal and hit enter. It will ask for your system password usually the one you log on with at start up. Type Y and return when it asks if you want to erase this drive. When it is finished creating it will display "Copy complete". You can close Terminal. Select and hit return. You do not need to select a network. Go into Disk Utility, Erase and name.

Proceed to install macOS. Please note Apple have added a new format type in High Sierra and Mojave. When you get your new SSD it is uninitialised. This means it can be used in a Mac or PC. It needs to be initialised before use. In the PC world they call this formatting the drive. In the Mac world it is called Erase and it is a function of Disk Utilities Disk Utility is a tool included in many places. It is found in the Utilities directory in Applications.

It is included in any macOS install app. It is also a part of the Internet Recovery boot up. There are many reasons why you would want to erase a drive, this guide is focused on initialising a new SSD, however for readers who are looking at general information we have added the following warning Warning : Erasing a disk will delete all data on the disk.

I know that sounds obvious but you would be surprised with the support calls we get Four steps to initialise a new SSD. When you start Disk Utility, in the sidebar are the drives attached to the Mac. Select the disk name, not the indented volume name. There are two to three fields that need to be selected. Please note: this process cannot be used to clone a Windows partition created by Boot Camp.

We recommend WinClone by Twocanoes Software.

Mac mini Mid 2011 Data Doubler 2nd Hard Drive/SSD Installation Video

It is commercial software requiring a license to use, however it is not affiliated with our company and that is not an affiliate link. Before cloning, the SSD needs to be initialised, if that has not been done, please follow our instructions above. The process is really only two steps When the download is complete, install in your Applications folder. Double click on the SuperDuper! Click Copy Now to begin. You will be notified when it is complete. The standard Apple Mac Mini hard drives are an industry standard 2. They are physically exactly the same physical size.

Does the Mac Mini use a standard M. It is only standard in it's physical size. A standard M.


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Apple has made their drives proprietary. Are the 2. All our current SSDs are the same speed and quality. The GB is as fast as the 2TB. Do I need a bracket to install the SSD? Can I do this install myself? We have had customers of every type of experience: students to pensioners do this upgrade. It is only slightly more complicated than a RAM upgrade. Do I need any special tools? For the pre models you need a small phillips screwdriver and a Torx 6 screwdriver. These are standard tools, found in many kits and available at hardware stores like Bunnings.

Everything you need is in our screwdriver tool kit.


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