Solid-state drives are fast but expensive. And high-capacity SSDs are very expensive, which is why many of us choose to buy a MacBook for the bare essentials. Here's how to add more storage space.
Updating Your SSD
The most radical way to expand your MacBook's memory is to update the SSD. Unfortunately, not all MacBooks can be updated because Apple has changed the manufacturing process for the latest models.
However, you can update the following models :
- MacBook Pro without Retina by the end of 201
- MacBook Pro Retina by 2015
- MacBook Air by 2017
- MacBook by 2010  If you're not sure what model you have, see our Mac upgrade guide to learn how to find out and more. Unfortunately, if your model is not supported, you will not be able to upgrade the SSD. If you have a supported model, buying a kit is the easiest way to upgrade.
Other World Computing sells SSD upgrades for MacBook (and other Macs) in two variants: Drive only or Kit. Choosing the kit will provide you with the SSD upgrade, the tools you need, and a chassis to put your old drive in for data transfer.
You may be able to obtain the correct drive for your computer elsewhere. In this case you can follow the instructions of iFixit. Just look for your MacBook model and there should be a guide with photos to help you. iFixit also sells tools to perform this task and other maintenance.
If you choose to do all this, make sure it's worth the upgrade. Get a drive big enough to notice the difference. In terms of cost, it's about $ 300 for a 1 TB upgrade as part of a kit or $ 250 for the drive only. Most MacBooks can handle volumes up to 2TB while others are limited to 1TB. Before you buy, make sure your computer is compatible with the upgrade you have selected.
If your Mac is old and still has an optical drive (such as a MacBook Pro before 2012), you may be able to upgrade your drive and Add a second or third if you are replacing the optical drive to save space. That's a pretty old machine though. So think about whether the upgrade is worthwhile. When you buy a new MacBook, you're choosing a larger solid-state drive, not the bare necessities. You will be wincing at the cost, but you will be grateful for the years of use you get out of all the space.
RELATED: Can you update the hard disk or SSD in your Mac?  Low Profile USB Drives
If your MacBook has Type A USB ports (the old USB standard, not the new reversible one), you can use a low-profile USB drive to add storage , These small devices fit into a free USB slot and stand out easily from the side of your MacBook. They are also one of the cheapest ways to increase the total memory of your computer.
The SanDisk Ultra Fit is our choice. It has a fast USB 3.1 interface that achieves read speeds of up to 130 MB per second. According to a (reviewed) Amazon reviewer, the write speed is 30 to 80 MB per second. This is not high-speed storage like the SSD in your MacBook, but it's practical enough to store documents and media. It is available in sizes up to 256GB for about $ 70.
Owners of a USB Type-C MacBook are unlucky. USB Type-A is a larger connector, and manufacturers could use the size to compress the flash memory. This results in a drive that is more like a wireless dongle, and you can connect it to your MacBook at any time. There is nothing comparable in the form of USB Type C – at least not yet.
USB C Hub with Built-in Memory
The latest MacBook Pro and Air models are equipped with USB Type C connectors only. This means that you probably need a hub to access a reasonable number of ports. So why not one with integrated SSD?
The Minix NEO is the world's first USB Type C hub, adding both ports and storage to your MacBook. The hub features a 240 GB M.2 SSD that supports read and write speeds of up to 400 MB per second. You also get four useful ports: an HDMI output with support for 4K at 30Hz, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and a USB Type-C port (which you can use to power your MacBook).
Due to the impact resistance of an SSD, you can throw the Minix NEO into your pocket without worrying about damaging your data to have to do. The device itself is small enough to be portable, but you may not want to connect it to your Mac all the time. However, some people might consider sticking the device to the cover of their MacBook with tape.
You can also buy the Minix NEO with 120 GB of memory for a little less.
Add memory with SD and MicroSD.  If you have an older MacBook with a memory card reader, you can also use SD or MicroSD cards to increase the total memory of your Mac. Just take an SD card and plug it into your Mac. To use MicroSD cards, you will also need an SD to MicroSD converter.
This is a relatively inexpensive way to potentially add a lot of extra storage space. You can purchase a 512GB SanDisk Extreme UHS-I microSD card for less than $ 200. And the 128GB card costs only about $ 25 (at this time). Unfortunately, these cards suffer from the same limited read and write speed issues as the USB-attached memory.
If you are looking for a slightly more difficult solution, consider Transcends JetDrive Lite. They are only compatible with certain MacBook Pro and Air models manufactured between 2012 and 2015. They fit perfectly with the Mac case. They are available in 128GB and 256GB configurations, with the larger version currently priced at $ 99.
Network-attached storage is ideal for those who are rarely outside their home or work network. You can configure a NAS drive for network sharing or use another Mac or Windows PC with free space. Once you've configured it, you can even back up your MacBook to a network location via Time Machine.
However, if you are out of range of your network, your storage is not available unless you have a solution that supports access through the cloud. This may not be a problem if you use it to store files and archives that are rarely accessed. However, it's not ideal for your photo or iTunes library.
The speed of your network limits your network storage. Using a wireless connection will slow you down considerably. For best results, make sure your network drive (or shared computer) is connected to your router via a wired connection and, if possible, to your MacBook.
You can buy a bare NAS drive like the Netgear ReadyNAS RN422 Buy hard drives separately or opt for a turnkey solution like the Western Digital My Cloud EX2. Many modern NAS drives also support cloud-based access to your files.
To map a network drive
To reliably access a network drive, you must map it to the Finder. To do this, follow these steps:
- Start a Finder window and click Go> Connect to Server.
- Enter the address of the network share you want to map (for example, smb: // yournasdrive).
- Enter the required credentials and click OK.
Your network drive is now displayed in the Finder sidebar and on the desktop. You should also be able to select it as the location when saving or opening files.
How to create a macOS network share
If you have another Mac and want to share its drive over the network, follow these steps:
- On the computer you want to share, go to System Preferences> Release.
- Select the check box next to File Share to enable the service.
- Click the plus sign (+) and specify a location to add to Shared Folders.
- Click the shared location and set the permissions (you want to enable write access).
You can also click Options to specify whether AFP (Apple's protocol) or SMB (Windows) should be used equivalently, or both.
Saving Data to the Cloud
Online storage is another option that is now integrated with macOS. Apple's iCloud Save setting uses the available iCloud storage space to offload your Mac. If you store files that you rarely access in the cloud, you'll have more room on your Mac for the things you use on a regular basis. This all works automatically, so you need to have some confidence in macOS.
Files stored in the cloud appear on your computer as if they were still there. To access these files, your computer downloads them from iCloud. How long this takes depends on the speed of your internet connection and the size of the file. If you can not access a reliable Internet connection, you can not save any of your files in the cloud.
To turn this setting on, follow these steps:
- Click the top of the Apple logo. Click About This Mac in the left corner of the screen.
- Click the "Storage" tab, then right-click "Manage …".
- Click "Save to iCloud …" to start the process.
macOS analyzes your hard drive and tries to save disk space. To get an idea of which files your system might be moving, click the "Documents" section in the sidebar. Here's a list of great documents on your Mac and the last time you accessed them.
To properly use iCloud storage, you'll probably need to buy some storage space. You only get 5 GB for free. As your cloud storage space decreases, learn how to share it.
Third Party Cloud Storage
You do not need to use Apple's cloud server. If you only need to offload some files to free up space on your computer, then an old cloud storage service will do.
Here are some things you should consider:
If you want to try before you buy, check out all the services that offer free storage.
If you really need space, the budget is limited, and you do not mind taking a bit more weight, then a good old-fashioned external drive is the answer.
External hard disk drives (HDD)
The cheapest option is to purchase a standard external USB hard disk drive. Because they rely on cheaper mechanical hard drives, they also offer high capacity. However, they are more susceptible to breakdowns and more susceptible to shock and fall damage. If you go this way, you have to carry your drive with you.
Reliability is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing an external hard drive, the speed of the interface. Do not accept anything older than USB 3.0 – ideally USB 3.1 or 3.1 Rev. 2.
One of the least expensive hard drives is the Western Digital Elements portable hard drive. Currently it is available with USB 3.0 and up to 4TB for about $ 100. You can earn more money on something like the G-Technology G-Drive with a volume of up to 14 TB and two Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 ports for lightning-fast file transfers. In this article, the G-Drive for the 4 TB base model costs about $ 300.
External Solid State Drives (SSD)
Solid state drives are superior in terms of speed and reliability to hard disk drives. They have no moving parts and are therefore not prone to mechanical failure. Their superior reading and writing speeds are limited only by the speed of the connection to your computer.
An external SSD has two disadvantages: capacity and price. SSD storage is still relatively expensive compared to traditional hard drives. They probably pay double the price of a hard drive, and the higher capacity hard drives are much more expensive.
However, SSDs are smaller, faster and more reliable. Solutions like the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD fit in one pocket and are sturdy enough to swing out of the bag. The Corsair Flash Voyager GTX offers the benefits of SSD storage in a more traditional "flash drive" form.
External RAID Array
RAID is a technology that allows you to connect multiple hard drives. For example, you can merge multiple drives into a single volume. This allows faster read and write speeds because you can access multiple drives at the same time. You can also use RAID as a reliable backup solution to mirror one (or more) drives to another. This will allow you to replace any failed drives.
This is a costly way to add storage, and also bulky. You can not have a RAID enclosure in your pocket (at least not convenient), so it's just a desktop solution. However, the benefits include the flexibility of a RAID system and high-speed access.
If you choose a RAID enclosure, make sure you choose one with Thunderbolt interface (ideally Thunderbolt 3). This provides the fastest possible speeds (up to 40 GB per second) for each external connection. Like NAS drives, RAID enclosures are diskless, like the Akunderio Thunder3 RAID, or ready to go, like the G-Technology G-RAID.
Clean Up Your Mac
This is the easiest way, of course, If you need more storage, you need to clean up the files on your MacBook. There are many tips you can use to try to create space on macOS. Apple has all the tools you need to clean up gigabytes of storage.
In most cases, your hard drive is overloaded only by forgotten files and unused applications. If you're more critical of your Mac's memory management, you may be able to wait until your next upgrade.
In the meantime, we can all hope that Apple will soon increase the basic SSD storage capacity of its laptops.