Annoyingly, the Mac Studio's software lock prevents SSD upgrades

·Weekend Editor
·2 min read
Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

The dream of an upgradeable Mac Studio is dead – at least for the time being. If you follow Apple blogs, you probably saw that over the weekend teardowns of the company’s latest desktop computer showed that it features SSD storage that isn't soldered down to its main logic board. That led some to believe that it would be possible for Mac Studio owners to upgrade the computer on their own. However, those hopes have now been dashed.

YouTuber Luke Miani conducted a test to see if he could upgrade the Mac Studio’s storage. To do so, he took one unit and wiped its SSD so that he could then transfer the drive to an open SSD slot on a second machine. The secondary Mac Studio recognized the drive, but no matter what Miani did, the computer would not boot with the component installed in it. The Mac Studio’s only response was to use its status LED to send out an SOS call. All of that suggests Apple has programmed the Mac Studio not to accept replacement SSDs.

That’s not necessarily surprising. On its website, Apple states, “Mac Studio storage is not user accessible,” and the company recommends customers configure the computer with enough storage to meet their needs when they buy it. MacRumors suggests the purpose of the Mac Studio’s SSD slots is to allow certified technicians to replace nonfunctioning drives. Presumably, they’ll have access to tools that will allow them to bypass the company's software lock. As the website also notes, it’s possible Apple may at some point allow people to replace the SSD in their Mac Studio on their own by selling storage upgrade kits, much like it started doing with the Mac Pro in mid-2020. Until then, it’s a shame a machine that costs so much doesn’t offer some form of upgradability.