iFixit Teardown Confirms Mac Studio’s Internal SSD Cannot be Upgraded

BY Anu Joy

Published 24 Mar 2022

Mac Studio with Studio Display

The Mac Studio went on sale last week, prompting various teardowns by enterprising folks eager to glimpse into its inner workings. Although Apple warned that its SSD storage isn’t user upgradeable, we saw a glimmer of hope when YouTuber Max Tech’s video showed that it had SSD slots. However, when he tried to insert a Mac Pro SSD in the Mac Studio, it proved too big for the slot. Now, iFixit has confirmed in their Mac Studio’s teardown video that its internal storage cannot be upgraded.

According to iFixit’s tests, the Mac Studio can’t recognize SSDs apart from the one it was shipped with. It tried out various SSDs, but none of them worked. The repair company even attempted to put in an SSD from another Mac Studio‌, which was again not recognized by the machine. It noted:

“After a lot of testing, some of it interrupted by Apple’s server issues, we actually have some definitive answers. We popped this stick into another base model Mac Studio’s empty slot, but Configurator kept giving us DFU restore errors. No matter the configuration, we haven’t gotten two base model drives to boot in a single machine.”

However, swapping the internal SSD with another of the same capacity worked and Apple Configurator allowed macOS to be installed on that SSD.

“However, when we swapped the spare Studio’s drive for the one in the teardown unit and used Configurator to do a DFU restore, it worked. Storage swaps are possible, at least between two drives of the same size, but jury’s still out on upgrades.”

Mac Studio: Poor Repairability

The teardown also shows that the Mac Studio has various proprietary screws, brackets, and connectors, which will make repairs more difficult. iFixit expressed displeasure regarding the buried fans and inbuilt RAM. The repair company called it a “worthy successor to the ‌Mac mini‌, but isn’t quite ready for the pros,” and gave it a dismal repairability score of 6 out of 10.

Additionally, the video peeked inside the Studio Display, showing that its innards appear similar to that of the iMac and the webcam resembles that of the iPhone 11. However, it didn’t delve deeper into the Studio Display and promised a more comprehensive teardown in the future.