Mac Studio Storage Not User-Upgradeable Due to Software Block

Recently people are talking about the topic of removable SSD storage. Because not long ago, a YouTuber named Luke Miani stated some interesting facts by claiming that the Mac Studio’s SSD storage is not currently user-upgradable due to a software block, even though it is not soldered down.

Luke Miani discovered that the Mac studio’s storage is not user upgradeable in a new YouTube video. Since the Mac studio is not soldered in place, the teardowns suggested that the Mac studio’s storage could be upgradeable.

Each Mac Studio consists of two internal SSD slots and the SSDs themselves, can be freely swapped between the connectors.

In his recent YouTube video, he tried to examine if you can really upgrade the storage? So what he did is he wiped the SSD of a Mac Studio, removed it from the machine, and inserted the SSF of a Mac Studio into an empty SSD slot in another Mac studio, but Mac’s status blinked SOS light, and the machine refused to turn on means it would not boot.

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Although the Mac Studio recognizes the SSD, still Apple’s software prevents it from booting, implying that this is a conscious decision by Apple to prevent users from upgrading and accessing their storage on their own device.

We can’t boot from the secondary SSD slot which is kind of unfortunate. On its website, Apple claims that the Mac Studio’s SSD storage is not user-accessible and encourages users to configure the device with enough storage at the point of purchase.

Turns out that the repairs performed by authorized technicians can easily replace storage who likely will have software tools that allow the Mac Studio to boot from different internal storage. The reason you cannot perform upgrading SSD storage is that the software block is preventing doing so. Hope in the future, Apple could enable users to upgrade their own software.

For people, it is kind of impossible to manually upgrade the storage of the Mac Pro at first. As Apple went on to offer a kit to upgrade the Mac Pro’s storage in mid-2020, a similar move for the Mac Studio is not out of the question, especially given Apple’s self-service Repair Program announcement.

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After looking through in-depth of this problem, Luke Miani makes sure that the upgraded SSD storage is readable and able to boot. How? the Mac Studio needs an IPSW to restore after changing its SSD modules.

The Mac Studio allows the machine to boot from a different SSD when you run a Device Firmware Update (DFU) restore using the macOS IPSW package for the Mac Studio. The IPSW package makes sure that both of the modules are of the same size and make, meaning that the storage upgrades can be still possible conveniently.


So, what we learned here is, that we can’t actually upgrade SSD storage. After Luke tried to wipe and removed the SSD, and insert it into an empty SSD slot in another Mac studio, the light just blinked and the studio won’t turn on. And the reason that came out that prevents you from upgrading the storage block is the software block. As apple offers a kit to upgrade the Mac Pro’s storage turns out it is just a show. And the people can’t really upgrade the storage.