Why I switched back to the SSD my MacBook came with

MacBook Air

One thing I really don’t like about my MacBook Air is the standard 128 GB SSD. That size is way too limiting for any multimedia use. When your Music library is already 50 GB and counting, you know you are in trouble with a tiny SSD. And yes, that storage can be increased with a SD card, but cards made specifically for the Macbook, so that they don’t stick out of its side, are expensive, not very fast, and only get you so much.

Unlike other computers, the MacBook Air uses a proprietary connector based on PCIe which should provide better performance for the lightweight notebook. Unfortunately, it also means that replacements are hard to come by. Apple doesn’t consider the SSD to be a user-replaceable component and doesn’t even offer to swap out your SSD with a bigger one for a fee. The choice you make at the time of purchase dictate how big your SSD will ever be. It’s funny, because if I chose any other manufacturer, I could have replaced the SSD myself. Most manufacturers even include instructions on how to disassemble them.

There are, however, third party manufacturers of SSDs for the MacBook. I will not include links to their website because I don’t want to trash them, but merely pointing out why replacing the MacBook Air’s SSD is a bad idea.

Let’s start with MacOS not recognizing the new SSD as an internal drive. That’s right: third party SSDs are recognized as external drives, which entails not being able to use Bootcamp at all. With that drive, Parallels or another virtualization solution is the way to go if you want Windows support on your laptop. Of course, nowhere on their website hinted at this limitation.

But that wasn’t the worst thing about these third party drives. Another issue was how thick they were and how hot they run. The integrated circuits on it were hidden under an aluminum heatsink that pressed against the bottom of the laptop, which predictably became incredibly hot during use and severely limited the battery life of my MacBook.

Probably linked to this was the high number of system crashes I experienced. More often than not, putting the laptop to sleep completely drained the battery and led to a kernel panic, with the consequent need to reboot. And sometimes, I needed to reboot two or three times in order to be able to login at all.

With all these issues, I really can’t keep using that other SSD. I reinstalled the factory default option and now I’m a lot happier.

About Andrea Luciano Damico 137 Articles
Andrea Luciano Damico is a freelance translator from Italy. Among his interests are linguistics, technology, video games, and generally being a chill guy. He runs Let's Translate.it and Tech4Freelancers.net.