SSD Troubleshooting for a MacBook Pro® computer

by Crucial Employee on ‎03-21-2017 02:42 PM - edited on ‎05-18-2017 04:21 PM by Community Manager Community Manager (2,994 Views)

Is your MacBook Pro® with a Crucial® SSD extremely sluggish, crashing, failing to see your drive, or giving you an error when trying to format or reinstall Mac® OS X®? Here are some troubleshooting steps you’ll want to follow in order to figure out exactly what is causing your problem.

 

Outdated firmware

 

Optimizations and post-release fixes can be applied to your SSD via our firmware updates, and may be enough on their own to resolve any abnormal performance you may encounter while using your SSD.

 

A potential hardware issue in the MacBook Pro

 

An important step for isolating the source of your problems is to physically remove the drive from the MacBook Pro to rule out any potential internal issues in the computer itself. Note that just because your old drive, or a different drive, isn’t exhibiting any issues inside the MacBook Pro, it doesn’t rule out a potential hardware issue inside the system.

 

When removing your SSD, make sure to follow appropriate install guides. You can use one of our install documents on our Mac SSD Support page. When the drive is removed, you will want to connect it with some sort of external drive enclosure, or a USB to 2.5-inch drive adapter cable like this one available at Crucial.com.

 

Once the SSD is physically connected externally to the Macbook Pro, you can hold the OPTION key down while turning the system on. If you already have OS X installed to the drive, this will bring up Startup Manager and should let you select the SSD (now an external USB drive) as your boot device. By selecting the SSD and hitting Enter, you’re telling the MacBook Pro to boot to it over USB, and you can then test the drive out to see how it responds. Bear in mind that the SSD may be slower since it’s now working through the USB interface, but you can theoretically get your desktop to load and use any software you may have.

 

If you are having problems booting to the SSD externally, or haven’t installed OS X to the drive, you will now want to follow the steps for erasing your SSD, then proceed with reinstalling the operating system.

 

So long as you can erase your SSD externally and install OS X to the drive, the SSD should functionally be fine. If testing outside the MacBook Pro looks positive, you can install the drive back into the MacBook Pro to see what happens. However, if the system runs into problems after installing the drive, we could be looking at a potential hardware problem inside the MacBook Pro – possibly a malfunctioning ribbon cable or a logic board problem.

 

Another thing to consider is running Apple Hardware Test to see if it can catch any apparent memory problems or other issues. Be aware that hardware tests can fail running tests on healthy drives when they are behind a faulty ribbon cable, which is another important reason for testing externally.

 

 

Possible OS X® issues

 

A problem with the operating system itself can potentially cause lots of different issues. A bad operating system can be a potential source of slow system performance, crashes, or loading errors. To rule out any possible OS X issue, try reinstalling the operating system. Backup any important data first, then follow Apple Guidelines and remember to erase your disk before reinstalling.

 

In some situations, the recovery partition on a drive may be corrupt. If this is the case, you will need to use Internet recovery mode if you have a 2011-2012 MacBook Pro, or get an OS X recovery media on a DVD or flash drive to try your recovery if you have a pre-2011 model.

 

A defective ribbon cable

 

A potential problem with MacBook Pro systems has to do with the black ribbon cable that connects to the internal drive. Over time, it’s possible for this cable to start exhibiting issues that interfere with the operation of the drive. These problems tend to be more prevalent with fast SSDs since they will be utilizing 100% of the bandwidth on that cable – an older, slower HDD uses only a fraction of this bandwidth and may be more resilient to these problems. For this reason, if your old disk drive (or even a different SSD) is working fine on a cable, it doesn’t necessarily rule the cable out as a problem.

 

The important thing to remember: If you can see the SSD, erase the SSD, and transfer data to the drive outside of your MacBook Pro, or with it in another system, your SSD is most likely functional.

 

If it looks like the ribbon cable is the problem for your MacBook Pro, it’s something relatively easy to address. If you’ve already physically replaced your drive with an SSD, then it’s only a few extra steps more to swap your existing cable out. We recommend you look at a reputable Mac parts reseller online for purchasing a replacement cable. Buying a second-hand replacement cable for a bargain price online is an easy way to get another defective one, so for this reason go through a reputable Apple parts dealer.

 

A defective SSD

 

If all of the steps above don’t result in a positive outcome, then we may need to look at replacing your SSD. Typically, if an SSD is defective it will give you errors when you try to erase/format the drive both internal and external on the MacBook Pro. If the SSD is simply not being detected no matter where it is installed, you will need to try our power cycle instructions to try and reset the SSD, but if these do not recover the drive, it will most likely need to be replaced.

 

If you recently purchased your SSD, please contact the place of purchase for replacement options. If you are outside the return period from the seller you bought your drive from, or you received it directly from Crucial.com, you can submit an online RMA request through our website or contact our support.

 

 

 

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Comments
HWTech
Kilobyte Kid

I would like to add one important note to Crucial_Benny's great post.

 

If you have a MBPro 13" (mid 2012) laptop and experience ANY odd issues, replace the drive cable as it known to have a VERY high chance of failure.  In fact this is the only part Apple has ever replaced for free whether the laptop showed symptoms or not.   Unfortunately a failing drive cable on this laptop can have all sorts of different symptoms, some of which can be very subtle and only realized after the cable has been replaced.  The free cable replacement program has ended for most people.

 

Also some older MBPro's had known GPU issues which often produced boot issues (I forget the exact models now, but you should be able to search for Apple GPU Issues).

 

If you removed an optical drive to install an SSD, keep in mind Apple crippled some of those SATA controllers since Apple only expects an optical drive to be connected and they can cause compatibility issues with an SSD.  It is best to only connect an SSD to the main SATA controller on a Mac.