Egg Freckles
Notes from my Newton

Tue Nov/1 Soldered to the Board

Soldered to the Board

Apple's trend of replacing user-upgradable parts with components soldered to the logic board has begun. The following is a list of the first Macs in a given form factor to have their upgradable memory and storage replaced with components that are not upgradable short of replacing the logic board.

Macs with Non-Upgradable Memory

The first Macs in a given form factor with non-upgradable memory. Every Mac since has had its RAM soldered to the logic board.

  • MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015, MacBook8,1) 8 GB
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2008, MacBookAir1.1) 2 GB
  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012, MacBookPro10.1) 8 or 16 GB
  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2012, MacBookPro10.2) 8 GB
  • iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2014, iMac14.4) 8 GB1
  • Mac mini (Late 2014, Macmini7.1) 4, 8, or 16 GB

Macs with Upgradable Memory

  • iMac (27-inch All Models)
  • Mac Pro (All Models)

Macs with Non-Upgradable Storage

The first Macs in a given form factor with non-upgradable storage. Every Mac since has had its SSD soldered to the logic board.

  • MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015, MacBook8,1) 256 or 512 PCIe-based SSD
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports, MacBookPro13,2) 256, 512, or 1TB PCIe-based SSD23
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016, MacBookPro13,3) 256, 512, 1TB, or 2TB PCIe-based SSD3

Macs with Upgradable Storage

  • MacBook Air (All models)
  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015, MacBook Pro12,1)
  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015, MacBookPro11,5)
  • iMac (21.5-inch All models)4
  • iMac (27-inch All models)5
  • Mac mini (All models)4
  • Mac Pro (All models)

To anyone who thinks Apple's move to integrated components is a fad soon to be reversed, think again. The days of the Macintosh II, and "user-upgradable everything" are over. If you see your computer as more than a sealed appliance, you are no longer Apple's customer. But you are missing out on a great Mac.


  1. The iMac (21.5-inch Late 2012, iMac13.1) had 8 or 16 GB of RAM in 2 non user-servicable slots, located behind the logic board. 

  2. The MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports, MacBookPro13,1) has a 256, 512, or 1TB PCIe-based SSD on a proprietary daughter-card. 

  3. Data may be recovered from the logic board of a MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports, MacBookPro13,2) or the MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016, MacBookPro13,3) using a special port and adapter available to Apple Certified Macintosh Technicians. 

  4. Conventional 2.5 inch hard drives and 2.5 inch SSDs can only be used to replace a factory installed 2.5-inch hard drive, otherwise mounting cables and brackets are absent. 

  5. Conventional 3.5 inch hard drives and 2.5 inch SSDs can only be used to replace a factory installed 3.5-inch hard drive, otherwise mounting cables and brackets are absent.