MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) SSD Upgrade

MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) SSD Upgrade

In 2012, the MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) with a 256GB SSD sold for $2399. A speed bump to a 2.6 GHz Core i7 and a larger 512 GB SSD was $3099. That’s $700 for a modest CPU speed bump and an extra 256 GB of storage. I was always constrained for disk space on my MacBook Pro’s 256GB SSD because I use Boot Camp and rEFInd to run macOS betas and Windows 10 Insider Previews.

I knew that my MacBook Pro Retina (Mid 2012) used a proprietary storage drive connector, but until recently, I didn’t know that a standard mSATA drive could be used in it with an adapter.

I bought this SHINESTAR mSATA to A1398 Adapter and this Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB mSATA for about $180 and I had 1 TB of internal storage.

If you want to use the SSD drive you just removed from your Macbook as a backup drive or other external storage, the easiest solution is to just buy the $59 OWC Envoy Pro case for your SSD.

iFixit has a guide to replacing the SSD in the MacBook Pro 15″ Retina (Mid 2012). It’s a simple five minute process.

Why did I upgrade a seven year old MacBook Pro? My MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) was one of the first MacBook Pros with a Retina display. I bought it because of the Retina display and the quad core Core i7 (I7-3615QM), The third generation Intel Core processor, “Ivy Bridge,” has a 6MB cache on the CPU.

The Geekbench 4 (MC) score on the Everymac.com page for this computer is 10578. That Geekbench score is 30% faster than the latest 2018 MacBook Air – 7379. Even up to the Apple MacBook Pro “Core i7″ 2.8 15” Touch/Mid-2017, the Geekbench score was less than 14% faster (12069) the 2012 MBPr.

It wasn’t until the the 6 core processors debuted in the Macbook Pros Apple MacBook Pro “Core i7″ 2.2 15” Touch/2018 did the Geekbench (MC) score double – 21111.

Macbook Keyboard Rivets

Removing a broken MacBook keyboard

TLDR: can’t remove rivets; glue the new keyboard in with a medium thickness cyanoacrylate

The spilled coffee on my MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) disabled only one key on the keyboard. Unfortunately, it was the power button. I confirmed that my MacBook Pro wasn’t completely dead by shorting the pads on the system board that I found on insidemylaptop.com.

The top case (which includes the keyboard and trackpad) of the MacBook Pro can be replaced, with new parts on eBay that cost about $100. I also found that the just the keyboard can be purchased on eBay for about $20.

I used iFixit’s MacBook Pro 15″ Retina Display Mid 2012 Upper Case Assembly Replacement guide to disassemble the computer, then found some YouTube videos detailing ripping out the old keyboard.

MacBook Pro Retina keyboard rivets

The problem for me was when I pulled the old keyboard away from the top case, the rivets remained in the case. I later thought that pulling on the keyboard very sharply when I removed it would have pulled the rivets out too.

There were screws included with my replacement keyboard but the now the problem was how to remove the rivets from the top case. I found various solutions that included drilling them out, using a screwdriver and hammer to pry them out and removing the rivets by pulling them out with diagonal flush side cutters. The latter seemed like the best solution, except that I didn’t have that tool.

It then occurred to me that Apple reparability scores were always very low because they glued everything together. So, I decided to glue the keyboard in using a medium cyanoacrylate glue.

Working from one side of the keyboard to the other, I used less than a drop of glue on top of each of the protruding rivets. The glue (use a medium thickness cyanoacrylate) ran down around the rivet and under the keyboard mounting plate, fastening it to the top case. I pressed down on the keyboard for a few seconds to hold it flush with the top case until the glue set.

When I put the computer back together, I felt that gluing the keyboard in worked as well as the screws. Typing on the new keyboard felt completely solid and I saved a lot of effort in not having to remove the rivets.