Categories: articles/ writing

I recently replaced the SSD drive on a MacBook Air. I installed an OWC 120GB drive. It’s proving to be a fantastic drive so far.
The tools I used for the job were a T5 Torx screwdriver which fits in the screw that holds the SSD drive in place. I used a P5 Pentalobe screwdriver to remove the screws on the lower case. I also used a spudger (basically a hard rubber stick with edges suitable for prying and lifting things carefully) to unlink the battery and to help with removing the SSD drive from its socket.
I bought the T5 from iFixit but their shipping takes forever if you live in Montreal (they are in California) and happen to go with the standard shipping rates. However, I discovered Wiha Tools based in Brampton, Ontario which is where I ordered the P5 Pentalobe from. Oh, and the spudger was an old purchase from iFixit.
I actually learned how to do this replacement via iFixit, not to mention a few other “procedures” in the past. It’s a great site!

First, I laid everything out. I soon realized that I should put a t-shirt under the laptop to avoid scratching it on the desk!

Removing these screws with the P5 is such a pain in the ass. You really need to have patience because they don’t easily unscrew. You will need to apply a surprising amount of pressure in order to accomplish removing the case. If you’re afraid of scratching your case, you might not want to proceed, however in my case I made it through with minimal scratching and I’m sure if I ever did this again, I’d be a little better at doing it.

After finally getting the screws out (which took the bulk of the time), removing the case is super easy. Use the area where the screen meets the base for leverage to pry it off. No real worries about breaking anything here.

Sorry for the blur but that seems to be the best my camera can do at such close range. Anyway, that piece sticking up is the battery connector. Use the spudger to pry the sides up and then pull the connector up. You can identify the battery when looking at the computer by a + and – etched on it.

This is the old SSD drive I removed. It was a Toshiba, made in the Philippines. The OWC I’m replacing it with is American made. I already feel a little more confident about this. We’ll see if that faith is well founded. I only had the Toshiba (which came with my MBA) for just over a year. I have always felt like it might have been defective due to some weird things that’d happen now and then. If I’m not mistaken, the 2012 MBA models were the first to ship with SSD drives. I could be wrong about that though… Anyway, internal SSD was somewhat of a new thing in laptops then and could account for it being glitchy.

Here’s the new SSD nice and snug in its socket. There’s just one screw (which the T5 takes care of), then you need to use a prying tool like the spudger to lightly lift one end and help you grab it with your fingers to pull it out of the slot. Be careful not to lift it too high when in this position.

After putting everything back together I booted up with Command + R which launches the built-in Internet Recovery mode. This will allow you to install the OS your computer came with.

In my case, due to it being a 2012 model, Mountain Lion is the OS it was shipped with and what Internet Recovery will install. The whole process takes about 2 hours because it has to download the OS from Apple’s servers first.

Once I booted up into the freshly installed Mountain Lion OS, I immediately ran Software Update and began the process of upgrading to Mavericks. This took almost 2 hours to do as well.
I guess you could say I’m a happy camper.