Where to send Macbook Pro for Hard Drive upgrade?
September 6, 2007 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Where to send Macbook Pro for hard drive upgrade?

I wanted to upgrade my internal hard disk in my Macbook Pro. I have AppleCare still, however, upon calling them they had no clue how much it would cost to upgrade it. Instead they told me $50-100 and I would send in the new hard drive.

Also, I called up a local Apple Store. Apparently they can't do the upgrade at their place, only RAM.

So, what would be the cheapest way to upgrade my hard drive (with the one I pick out) without voiding my warranty?
posted by colecovizion to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't worked on an Apple, but in many cases, x86 laptops have a port with a single screw to get the hard drive; they're meant to be user-replaceable items. Have you looked to see how hard it would be to just do it yourself?
posted by Malor at 11:38 AM on September 6, 2007

Response by poster: Hi Malor. Yes, I've replaced hard drives on Dell's before no problem. However, the MacBook Pro (and most of the other Powerbooks) require you to really open up the whole laptop to replace it (8+ screws, McGeyver tricks, and voiding warranty).
posted by colecovizion at 11:46 AM on September 6, 2007

Ick. Well, the next thing I'd suggest would be contacting other Apple dealers in your area to see if they can help. There are still independent dealers left in most areas.
posted by Malor at 11:52 AM on September 6, 2007

Where the hell do you live?
posted by phaedon at 12:14 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

if you are in nyc, try tekserve.
posted by krautland at 12:17 PM on September 6, 2007

Best answer: I can tell you from experience that MBPs, and even recent PowerBooks, need to be nearly completely disassembled in order to get to the drive. (as in, "Step 8: Remove the following 11 screws.") Older Ti-PowerBooks were almost as easy as Dells, however.

Annoying, but true. See if you can get a take-apart diagram from pbfixit.com if you want to see all of the steps.

I'd just mail it in so AppleCare can do it.

Your only other alternative is an Apple Authorized Repair facility (like a local Mac Shop but not owned directly by Apple), which may just have to ship it to a repair depot to have the work done.
posted by Wild_Eep at 12:19 PM on September 6, 2007

Response by poster: I live in the San Jose, CA area
posted by colecovizion at 12:21 PM on September 6, 2007

Best answer: I used Macservice - which is in San Jose - when my hard drive died last year. They were great.
posted by rtha at 12:43 PM on September 6, 2007

Best answer: It isn't very difficult to do this yourself if you have (or are willing to buy) a T6 Torx screwdriver and a #0 phillips screwdriver. Instructions are at

Or you can find a local AASP.

Or you can ship your computer and new hard drive to me. For a nominal fee I'll install it and transfer your data. But really, it should be easy to find someone local.
posted by J-Garr at 1:00 PM on September 6, 2007

if you can make it up to sf, this guy does great work.
posted by roderashe at 1:05 PM on September 6, 2007

Best answer: oops. here it is http://www.powerbookguy.com/
posted by roderashe at 1:06 PM on September 6, 2007

Response by poster: Great thanks everyone!
posted by colecovizion at 1:24 PM on September 6, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the offer J-Garr, I'd prefer just doing it locally.
posted by colecovizion at 1:25 PM on September 6, 2007

I concur that doing it yourself is a fool's errand. I've done several, but I'm a fool. It's maddeningly precise work.

But here is a serious warning. Make sure you wipe and reformat your hard drive before you send it back to Apple. I know someone who needed a drive replaced by Apple a year ago. Instead (for complex reasons) Apple replaced the entire iBook. Months later, his *old* drive (which he had expected to be replaced and wiped by Apple) had found its way (via a parts machine sold by a major online Mac dealer that also handles used and parts machines, to a private individual) to the home of a guy who makes a business recovering data from used drives and "selling" it (with a hint of blackmail threat, suggesting identity theft) back to the original owner of the data.

Apple sold his personal data, accidentally perhaps, but for sure. They admitted selling the iBook without erasing it to the retailer -- on the phone to my friend. They compensated him, but not nearly enough to cover any future identity theft. The extortionist has many other drives from Apple laptops he's purchased for parts. And Apple claims they *bought* the machine back from him, they said (making them arguably partners to an extortion attempt), with no assurance that this guy had not made copies of the data he had recovered.

Apple mail-in service is not to be trusted with your data, even data which could be recovered by a modestly talented user of data recovery software tools. Every word of this story is true. I would not let my hard drives out of my home or office these days without a complete wipe and reformat. I replace my own drives, but if you get someone else to do it, insist on your original drive back if you are unable to reformat it because it has failed, and make sure they are bonded or work for a prominent business.

Horrifying, no?
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:33 PM on September 6, 2007 [4 favorites]

Oh yeah, a prominent business, like Apple fucking used-to-be-called Computer.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:34 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Floam, wouldn't I be breaking the warranty if I'm servicing a non "DIY" part?
posted by colecovizion at 8:23 AM on September 7, 2007

Yes, it breaks the warranty. And it is a bit beyond "basic handy guy" skills, I think. You have to be obsessively careful about noting where each tiny screw (of about 12 different sizes) came from so you can put it back together. You have to do prying and separating of plastic and metal components just so. If you get halfway through it's very hard to turn back if you find yourself out of your depth. You have to disconnect and reconnect very fine connectors. It is not a job for anyone who hasn't practiced on a beater laptop or two, at a minimum, unless you can risk losing the entire machine and your warranty.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:39 AM on September 13, 2007

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