As soon as early purchasers of the Mac Studio received their units, some took the opportunity to tear Apple’s newest Mac apart to see what was inside. Many were stunned to find that the Mac Studio’s SSDs were physically replaceable, only to be disappointed when their Mac Studios wouldn’t boot after swapping SSDs. Some accused Apple of locking the drives in software or even bricking the computers.
As Andrew Cunningham of Ars Technica explains, that isn’t the case. Every SSD has two components: the controller that acts as an interface to the machine and the flash storage itself. Apple now builds the SSD controller into its own chips: the entire M1 family and the T2 security chip used in Intel-based Macs. The SSDs inside the Mac Studio are merely raw storage without a controller. iFixit has since gotten a Mac Studio drive swap to work, which means the storage in the Mac Studio is repairable. If matching Apple’s SSD hardware design is all that’s necessary, we expect that vendors like OWC will eventually offer compatible Mac Studio SSDs. However, there could also be Apple-proprietary chips involved that may prevent such products.
We got two base model Mac Studio units to accept each other’s drives, so storage swaps are possible! Both drives in one unit isn’t working just yet…wish us luck. pic.twitter.com/i2wcbppluf
— iFixit (@iFixit) March 22, 2022