How to install a Crucial® SSD in a Mac® computer

Moderator Moderator
Labels (3)

If this is your first time installing a Crucial SSD in your Mac system, there’s no need to fear – the process is easy and straightforward. It’ll take some time, but your computer will be radically faster when you’re done!  Before you begin, use our Mac System Scanner tool to verify that the SSD you purchased is compatible with your computer, as not all Mac systems are upgradeable. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to get started.


Part 1: Prepare


  1. Gather supplies

You’ll need your Crucial SSD, a screwdriver, your Mac system’s owner’s manual (which will specify the type of screwdriver you need), and a SATA-to-USB cable (sold separately). Additionally, if you’ll be installing into (a) a Mac Pro® system manufactured between 2006 and 2012 or (b) an iMac® from almost any year, you’ll need a 2.5-inch to 3.5-inch converter because these systems have larger storage bays than other Mac computers.


  1. Set the spacer aside

In the box with your SSD is a spacer (it looks like a black bracket). Set it aside for now – it won’t come into play until later in the process, and based on your type of Mac system, you may not even need it. 


  1. Back up important files

Before starting the install process, save any important files on your computer to a USB flash drive or external storage drive. 


  1. Connect the SSD to your Mac system

Using a SATA-to-USB cable, attach one side to the SSD and the other end to your computer. When handling your SSD, try not to touch its gold connector pins with your fingers.


  1. Determine your version of Apple® OSX

There are many versions of the Mac operating system (called OSX), and you need to determine which version you’re using. Simply click on smalllogo.png in the upper left corner of your screen, then click About this Mac which will display your version number. Here’s where to find the version number on the screen you’ll see:


  1. Format your SSD

Before you can use your SSD, it needs to be initialized, partitioned, and formatted. These are technical words that mean the drive needs to get acquainted with your system. To do this, you need to go into Disk Utility, which comes free with Mac systems. Access this by clicking on the storage drive on your desktop, then clicking on the Applications folder, then the Utilities folder, then Disk Utility. Alternatively, you can click on the Applications folder in your dock, then follow the additional steps noted above.


Once you’re in Disk Utility, you should see a message telling you that the SSD cannot be read by the computer. No need to fear – this is normal. Simply click on the Initialize button that appears in the message and your Crucial SSD should now be visible in Disk Utility. From here, follow the steps below that correspond to your version of OSX.


Your version of OSX

 Your step-by-step instructions

OSX El Capitan or newer (version 10.11 or higher)

 High Sierra may not detect your SSD automatically. See here  for additional  support.

 1.       Highlight your SSD and click the Erase button.

 2.       Type in a name for the new partition (this where you’ll save data on the  drive and it’ll be the name for your SSD). On the menu settings, verify that the  partition is set to GUID Partition Table.

 3.       Verify that the selected format defaults to Mac OS Extended  (Journaled).

 4.       Select Erase. The drive will now be partitioned, formatted, and ready  for use.

OSX Yosemite or earlier (version numbers less than 10.11)

 1.       Highlight your SSD and click the Partition tab.

 2.       Click on Options and verify that it's set to GUID Partition Table.

 3.       Select Partition 1 if you want to use the entire SSD as a single  partition (if you don’t know what a partition is, select this option). You’ll now  have the opportunity to give your SSD a name.

 4.       Verify that the selected format defaults to Mac OS Extended  (Journaled).

 5.       Select Partition. The drive will now be partitioned, formatted, and  ready for use.


Your SSD should now be visible with the new name you gave it. Now you’re ready to copy everything on your Mac’s existing drive to your new SSD. That way, when you install the SSD, your data will be on it and everything will be the same, but significantly faster.


Part 2: Copy


There are two methods for copying your data on a Mac system, and you’ll need to follow the method designed for your version of OSX. Note: Both methods will only clone a Mac partition. To see how to clone a bootcamp Windows® partition, see this video. (If you don’t know what a bootcamp Windows partition is, no need to worry – just use the method below that matches your OS.)


OSX El Capitan or newer (version 10.11 or higher): How to copy data to a Crucial SSD



  1. Shut down your system. Once your screen has powered off, press your system’s power button then immediately press and hold the Command and R keys to reboot your Mac and have it go to a special window called OSX Utilities.
  2. You’ll now see several applications. Select Disk Utility, then Continue.
  3. On the left side of the Disk Utility window, you’ll see an External section that indicates any external storage drives attached to your Mac. Since your Crucial SSD is plugged in via the SATA-to-USB cable, it should appear here. Underneath the name of your Crucial SSD, you should see the partition you named when you formatted your drive. Click on this partition to highlight it.
  4. Now click on the Edit menu in the upper left corner of your screen and select the Restore... option.
  5. In the dropdown menu that appears, select the name of your existing drive's partition (if it doesn’t automatically appear as the default choice). You can verify that you selected the right partition by looking under the Internal section on the left navigation because your existing drive is inside your Mac and the existing drive’s partition will appear here.
  6. Now click Restore, which will start the process of restoring (“copying”) your data from your existing storage drive to your new SSD.
  7. Reward yourself with a beverage of choice. It’ll take a while for everything to copy. Leave your computer for a while and go do something fun!
  8. Once everything has copied over, click Done. The partition you named on your Crucial SSD should now have the same name as the partition on the existing drive you copied over. Now it’s time to shut down your system and physically install the SSD. You’re over halfway done!


OSX Yosemite or earlier (version numbers less than 10.11): How to copy data to a Crucial SSD

Important note prior to starting this process:  If you use Apple’s FileVault program for encryption, you’ll need to turn it off and decrypt your system’s existing storage drive before following the steps below. Once you’ve physically installed your new Crucial SSD, you can then turn FileVault back on. If you don’t know what FileVault is, no need to worry Smiley Happy


  1. Shut down your system. Once your screen has powered off, press your system’s power button then immediately press and hold the Option button on your keyboard to reboot your Mac and have it go to a special window called Boot Manager. From here, select Recovery-10.x.
  2. You’ll now see several applications. Select Disk Utility, then Continue.
  3. Disk Utility will now ask you to select the partition you want to copy to your new SSD. Simply select the main partition located underneath your existing storage drive. It should be easy to find this because of how your drives and their associated partitions appear onscreen. The top-left section displays the storage drive(s) inside your computer and the partitions on each one. All of these should have a gray icon next to them, indicating they’re physically installed in your system. Select the partition for your existing storage drive, which will display a new set of options on the right side of the window.
  4. Select the Restore
  5. Now you want to tell Disk Utility which partition you want it to restore (“copy”) to your new Crucial SSD. Click and drag the partition you just selected to the Source field (if it doesn’t automatically appear here).
  6. Now it’s time to tell Disk Utility where to copy your data. This is called selecting your “destination” drive and you want to select the partition you named on your Crucial SSD when you formatted it. This is easy to find because in the left column is a divider line and below this is a list of all the external drive(s) that are plugged into your Mac and each drive’s associated partitions. Since your Crucial SSD is plugged in via the SATA-to-USB cable, it should appear in this section and have an orange icon next to it. Click and drag the SSD’s partition to the Destination
  7. Click the Restore button, which triggers the start of the data copying process. Note that in some older versions of OSX, you might see a checkbox where you will need to select Erase Destination before Disk Utility will allow you to copy your data. If you see this checkbox, just select it to proceed.
  8. Reward yourself with a beverage of choice. It’ll take a while for everything to copy. Leave your computer for a bit and go do something fun!
  9. Once your data has finished copying, verify that everything has copied correctly. To do this, repeat Step 1 in this process to go into Boot Manager. From here, you should now see multiple drives to boot from – some of which have the same names. This is normal because when you copied over your existing drive to your new SSD, the SSD received the same name as your existing drive’s partition, but the SSD should appear here with an orange icon above it, indicating that it’s plugged into your Mac via the USB cable. Simply select the SSD to have your system boot from it. Everything should now look like your old setup, except it will be faster. Now it’s time to shut your system back down and get ready to physically install the SSD. You’re over halfway done!


Part 3: Install


The physical installation process varies based on the type of Mac system you have, so follow the step-by-step process for your Mac using our system-specific Mac install guides.



How a memory upgrade benefits you: Memory (RAM) is the pool of resources your system uses to do almost everything. Every time you move your mouse, type a message, listen to music, play a game or go online, you’re using memory. This is why upgrading your memory (adding more GB) is a great compliment to your new SSD. The SSD allows you to quickly open and save things, and more memory allows you to work seamlessly once things are open. Upgrading your system’s memory is even easier than installing an SSD and can be done in as little as 5 minutes.



Now that you’re an expert SSD installer, watch out! Your friends and family might just start asking you to do their installs Smiley Wink



©2017 Micron Technology, Inc. All rights reserved. Information, products, and/or specifications are subject to change without notice. Neither Crucial nor Micron Technology, Inc. is responsible for omissions or errors in typography or photography. Micron, the Micron logo, Crucial, and the Crucial logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Micron Technology, Inc. Mac is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.  Windows is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


Tags (1)
Kilobyte Kid

Your step by step guide is very good.  Thank you.


Followed it and all sorted  - to a point but have a new issue to overcome


Installed 512 GB M4 on 17" MacBook Pro Early 2011 in primary drive bay.

Initialized it with 1 partition GUID

Left the drive on overnight with computer in option mode to let garbage collection do it's job.

Then followed steps above to clone ssd from my HDD. 

Mac running off ssd and HDD now a data drive only. 


Question now, will garbage collection keep doing it's job?  If yes, will it only do this when MacBook Pro is in sleep mode?


Secondly will the ssd work aid installed in the optibay?  My optibay does support 6GB/s


Moderator Moderator

The short and simple answers to your questions are: Yes. No. Yes. Smiley Happy


To give you a bit more detail, Garbage Collection automatically starts whenever the SSD is idle, and there is no action required from you to trigger it, other than to simply leave the SSD alone. Since Garbage Collection requires the SSD to be completely idle, the easiest way to "trick it" into starting is to configure your Mac to to not turn off power to the HDD/SSD whenever it can, and then put the system into Sleep Mode. To change the power settings, go to the Energy Saver settings in your System Preferences, and uncheck the box next to "Put hard disks to sleep whenever possible". That will stop your Mac from powering off the SSD in Sleep Mode, and Garbage Collection will be able to keep up with your daily drive usage.


Lastly, yes, the SSD should work in the optibay, but you will need an adapter to mount it in the bay and connect it properly. We do not carry such an adapter at this time, and unfortunately are not able to recmmend any particular brand or model.

Kilobyte Kid

Is there a guide on how to clone a windows partition for bootcamp?

Moderator Moderator

Unfortunately we don't have a guide for how to clone the bootcamp partition on a Mac. I'm sorry we can't be of more help with that.

Kilobyte Kid

Quick question... Once I set my original 750GB drive partition size down to 255 (to match the SSD drive, a bit less just in case), can I go back in and reset the original drive's partition back to 750GB? OR...can I create an additional partition in that original drive to use for data, files, etc...and save the original partition (with the system files) as a back up in case the ssd fails. Thoughts?


Moderator Moderator

You can do either one of the things you suggested. You can resize the original back to what it was, or create new partitions, whichever you prefer.

Bit Baby

Thanks for the advice.  I am trying to clone my existing MacBook Pro HDD to my new MacMini SSD and not having much luck.  I am on my third attempt now, and going through the advice you listed above, but on my two previous attempts using third-party cloning software (SuperDuper and Carbon something-or-other), I am left with just the "no" symbol (circle with slash through it) whenever I try to reboot the MacMini after the restore process completes.  What am I doing wrong?

Moderator Moderator



If the error happens consistently after cloning with different kinds of cloning software, you will want to test the involved hardware thoroughly to see if a component may be the issue. For detailed assistance with that process, please contact Tech Support.

Bit Baby



Great article.


Have just ordered a (960GB) M500 which I hope will be arriving soon.


Just one question. Can you not "restore" the whole disk (and not just the mac partition?).



Moderator Moderator

Unfortunately the Disk Utility cloning method can only clone the Mac partition. If you want to clone an entire drive that has multiple partitions, then I'm afraid this method will not be the best one for your needs.

Kilobyte Kid

I've tried to do as outlined above but 40 minutes or so in the message pops up telling me that the drive is not ready. What should I do?


I was cloning Imac's HD to M500.

Moderator Moderator

Hello Vlad,


Please check and make sure that TimeMachine is not running in the background, since it will interfere with the cloning process. If TimeMachine is off, and you still get this error, you may want to contact our support team for your region. They will be able to help you with more indepth troubleshooting and detailed advice for your specific situation.

Kilobyte Kid

When I'm trying to resize my original Mac HD partition it won't let me resize below 275.26GB although it says in Disk Utility I have only used 265GB, in finder I have over 100GB free (from 320GB). I am trying to clone onto a new 256GB SSD any ideas to eliminate this disparity of data usage, and how I can resize to 256? Thanks

Moderator Moderator

If you have 265GB of data you will not be able to clone to a 256GB SSD. A 256GB SSD doesn't actually provide you with 256GB of accessible storage space. This article explains why.


SSDs in general work better when the controller has empty space to work with when it runs Garbage Collection and other maintenance features, so we recommend using the drive in a way that makes sure there is empty space available at all times.

Kilobyte Kid

Wonderful aricle! I used to clone my Macbook pro 10.8.3 OS X using application stellar drive clone version 2.5 to my SSD or any external or network drive. And want to inform elisel that this software is capable in cloning window bootcamp partition of your Mac. It give support to ExFat, FAT32, MBR partition scheme etc. [3rd Party Linnk Removed per Guidelines]

Kilobyte Kid

Thanks for the article.  I have my current MacBook Pro HD backed up on an external drive with Time Machine.  At what point in the installation process do you restore the new drive with Time Machine?



Kilobyte Kid

Thanks for clear instructions - just finished and seems to have worked perfectly with new M500.


I went through the step of turning off file vault before the cloning and then turning it on again on the cloned and installed SSD.  But now I'm wondering if I should leave it off and rely on the hardware encryption.  Is hardware encryption operating in a Mac OSX environment?  Is there a setting somewhere for it?

Moderator Moderator

Hello NeilB,


The hardware encryption on the M5500 is always operating, however, it is not always password protected to the point it locks out unauthorized access. We are at this time not aware of a software tool for Mac that provides this functionality integrated with the SED feature. In other words, if you need your data to be protected by encryption that keeps unauthorized users from accessing the drive, you will need to keep FIle Vault on.


The TKB Article "An introduction to the encryption features of the M500" has more information on the SED ability of the M500 and on how the encryption works, if you are interested in learning more about it.

Kilobyte Kid

Really good and easy to follow guide!


A couple of gotchas are worth mentioning when cloning your drive:


The Carbon Copy Cloner website has some useful hints on applications that behave differently, DropBox for example, when you have cloned your drive.


It's also worth mentioning, that Office 2011 for Mac will ask you to reenter your product key when running off the cloned disk, and that you may not be able to do that, since the key is already registered on "another" computer a.k.a. the original disk.


I had problems booting from the cloned drive initially, when it was still attached via USB to my Macbook Pro.
Switching to a different USB port on the Mac solved that.


***Moderator note:

Removed URL to third-party product, per forum guidelines.

Kilobyte Kid

I have an M500 960GB SSD that will not complete a clone without I/O failures. This is on a MacBook Pro running 10.8.5. It fails consistently with Disk Utility and SuperDuper. The source HD has been verified. The SSD is on an external USB connection. The original SSD failed completely at one point and was replaced by Crucial, but it has the same problem with I/O errors. The SSD has been given days for garbage collection with no improvement. The drive was purchased from an authorized distributor, but the 30 day return window has now expired while I've tried relentlessly to get it to work. Now I'm left with a $600 brick. Help!

Crucial Employee
Crucial Employee

Hi toby_corgi,


First of all I'm sorry to hear that you're having problems with cloning your new SSD.


Have you tried installing the SSD internally and doing a fresh install?  The reason I ask is that this would be the best way to check if it's a problem with the SSD or a problem when trying to clone only.


It could be a problem with the cable you're using for the clone or the USB slot/slots when trying the clone.  The best way for us to check if there is a fault is for you to try it internally to see if you're having the same issues.


Please let us know how it goes and we can take it from there. 

Bit Baby

Hi, This is my first comment over here in this community.


I am also a Mac user and usig Mac for last 5 years. Like others Mac users, i also tried to clone Mac HDD. Although there are many Mac drive cloning tools like CCC, Stellar Drive Clone, Winclone, Clone Zilla etc. for cloning Mac drive.


One good thing among these tools is availability of free demo version before we buy online.


Smiley Very Happy

Bit Baby

Thank you for this article. Very easy to follow. Success! My next SSD will be a Crucial. 

Kilobyte Kid

The System Report (OSX 10.8.5) shows a Recovery HD partition that does not appear (is hidden) in Disk Utility.  Will the process outlined above clone the Recovery partition?


If the answer is no, can you install the Recovery HD partition on a SSD using Recovery Disk Assistant?  If so please describe the complete  process of cloning the drive with the Recovery HD partition..


Apple's explanation is typically ambiguous and makes me nervous, with all the references to "Internet" installs.


There is also this statement: "The Recovery Disk Assistant erases all data on the external drive you select when creating the Recovery Disk. You should either backup your data before running the Recovery Disk Assistant, or create a new partition on your external drive.", which leads me to believe that the Recovery partition may need to be created first.



  Capacity: 209.7 MB (209,715,200 bytes)

  BSD Name: disk0s1

  Content: EFI

Macintosh HD:

  Capacity: 499.25 GB (499,248,103,424 bytes)

  Available: 334.85 GB (334,851,190,784 bytes)

  Writable: Yes

  File System: Journaled HFS+

  BSD Name: disk0s2

  Mount Point: /

  Content: Apple_HFS

  Volume UUID: CC3CEB48-3319-3B5A-ABDD-AC49064F44FD

Recovery HD:

  Capacity: 650 MB (650,002,432 bytes)

  BSD Name: disk0s3

  Content: Apple_Boot

  Volume UUID: BFF62181-1226-3110-A0AE-EC07A6089585


Kilobyte Kid

I had the same issue.  I ended up without a recovery HD after cloning as well.  I could've reinstalled OS X from the App Store, which I understand recreates it.  But instead, I installed OS X on an external drive (which I was planning on doing anyway, for troubleshooting), then used Disk Utility to add a small 1GB partition.  I then cloned the Recovery HD from the external drive to the new partition I created.  I now get the option to boot to it when I restart my MacBook with the option key down.  The only downside is that it mounts to my desktop along with my regular startup volume.  Not a huge problem.  Hope that helps.

Bit Baby


I have been able to partician the crucial SSD to extended Journ via usb externally but when I am in restore menu and I follow the procedures for El captain video (I have sierra installed) it says to partician again and just hit restore but when I do that  it fails from my currnet drive to ssd with the message beloe:


Validating target..

avalidating source..

could not recognize "/dev/(null)" as an image file

could not retrieve scan information- invalid argument

operation failed..


Is there anything wrong on my end as I can see both internal and external usb ssd drive?

Any help thanks

Kilobyte Kid


restore won't work for me after I partician - i keep getting failed message :


Validating target..

avalidating source..

could not recognize "/dev/(null)" as an image file

could not retrieve scan information- invalid argument

operation failed..

Bit Baby

Having same issue. When I click on Restore, I get the error:


Validating target
Validating source
could not recognize "/dev/(null)" as an image file
could not retrieve scan information- invalid argument
operation failed..

Kilobyte Kid

Guys, i have hit the same brickwall... Please help?


Validating target
Validating source
could not recognize "/dev/(null)" as an image file
could not retrieve scan information- invalid argument
operation failed..

Kilobyte Kid

I have High Sierra Mac Mini and want to clone my boot disk so I can install my new Crucial MX500.


Problem is that I cannot seem to boot into Recovery mode.


After holding  Command+R before Apple logo appears, instead of Apple logo appearing I get a circle with a line through it and then power goes off.


What is the trick?