M1 Mac RAM and storage can be upgraded after purchase, but it’s not easy


While the three M1 Macs released in late 2020 have been widely praised for a number of advancements, one criticism has been that the hardware cannot be upgraded or repaired after purchase with the main components soldered to the board. In an interesting development, an engineer in China figured out how to successfully upgrade both SSD and RAM in Mac M1s, but of course, it’s a very risky and difficult move.

With older Macs, if users didn’t want to pay for more RAM or more storage upfront, it was possible with a variety of models to upgrade those components later. Over the years that has become less of an option and for the M1 Macs, it was thought to be impossible with the RAM and SSD soldered directly to the M1 chip.

However, just like we’ve seen with aftermarket iPhone and iPad hardware upgrades, someone has reportedly figured out how to replace memory and storage with M1 Macs by correctly recognizing the upgrades.

The discovery, attributed to engineer Yang Changshun from Guangzhou, China, has been shared on Chinese social media and detailed by chongdiantou.com with images (via MacRumors).

Photos show removed RAM and SSD modules with screenshots showing upgraded storage displayed on macOS. However, it is important to note that this process is very risky and will of course void Apple’s warranty.

There is also the question of how durable / reliable the upgrades would be after forcibly removing the original soldered hardware and installing new components. And even if it’s successful, there’s a chance Apple could prevent unofficial hardware from working with a future macOS software update.

While this isn’t something that’s likely to become a top choice for upgrades, it’s an impressive technical feat nonetheless. It will be interesting to see if companies like iFixit and more will delve into the possibilities and concerns.

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