How I upgraded my 2012 MacBook Pro

The 2012 MacBook Pro my brother got me in 2013 is a powerful machine for any work I was doing, especially with iOS development. For the past 3 years, it worked great for all my needs with schoolwork and coding. Over the past few months, however, I have noticed it has gotten considerable slower, with major drops in performance with every macOS upgrade. It takes several minutes for Xcode to open and for the simulator to load the app — this was affecting my workflow. The new MacBook Pro’s just came out but they cost a fortune and I couldn’t justify shelling out >$1000 on a new laptop. I did some research on how to improve the performance of my computer and found this video:

Apparently my laptop model is last MacBook Pro with the Unibody case design, so a lot of the components on the computer are not soldered in like the newer Mac’s. The RAM slots and the hard drive enclosure are easily accessible so upgrading is trivial. My laptop was running on 4GB RAM which is low by today’s standards and the hard drive speeds pale in comparison to current SSD speeds. Instead of having to buy a brand new laptop just to get better performance, I could just upgrade the RAM and storage. I went on Amazon and got the necessary parts.

The SSD I purchased — 250GB is sufficient for my needs.

The best deal for SSD’s on Amazon was Samsung’s 750 EVO.

My old RAM chips was two 2GB DDR3 — the newer types are DDR3L

I purchased 2 of the new 4GB RAM chips from Crucial — I got these instead of one 8GB chip because the MacBook Pro has 2 slots anyway. 8GB RAM is successfully for work needs with school homework and programming.

I needed to do something with the hard drive I was going to take out so I thought I could use it as a backup hard drive with Apple’s Time Machine.

The upgrade was relatively easy. I connected the SSD externally, backed up my existing macOS partition to it, opened the back casing, popped out the old two 2GB RAM chips and popped in the new 4GB ones, removed the old hard drive and put in the new SSD, put it all back together and booted it up.

Everything booted perfectly, all my files were still there and new disk speed tests were incredible!

I don’t need any video editing — but this was a good indicator that the SSD was fast enough.

All in all, the upgrade ended up costing me $118 with the prices on Amazon at that period of time. My computer was running just as fast as any 2016 laptop and I didn’t have to blow a lot of money. Totally worth it!

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