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Released June 2012, Model A1278. Intel processor with Turbo Boost, Up to 512 MB DDR5 Video RAM

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My start up disk broke, can I use an external drive instead?


I recently reset my 2012 MacBook Pro, my start up drive named Macintosh HD broke, and I can't install Mac OS anymore.

My question is:

Can I use an external drive as startup disk instead? And install Mac os there and use my computer normally? Will it be as fast as my Mac was before?

I was thinking buying this one : http://www.amazon.es/Western-Digital-WDB...

As you can tell I'm a bit unexperienced in this matter so I don't really know whats good or what is not, any suggestions welcomed.

PD: so sorry about my poor level of english :S...

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Ty myfriend, so if u use an external drive it will go slow right? what internal hard drive should i buy?


The speed of the external drives interface becomes the limit as a reference here is the current specs that work with your system:

- USB 2.0 - 480 Mb/s

- FireWire - 800 Mb/s

- USB 3.0 - 5.0 Gb/s

Your internal HD's SATA port is SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) as you can see its faster!


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Выбранное решение

To start with the internal drive will be faster than the external drive.

Are you up to fixing your own system here? Review this IFIXIT guide to see if you can do it: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Mid 2012 Hard Drive Replacement|MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Mid 2012 Hard Drive Replacement]

Update (03/03/2016)

There are three kinds of storage devices:

  • Hard Disk Drive (HD/HDD)
  • Hybrid Hard Disk Drive (SSHD)
  • Solid State Drive (SSD)

HD's are the cheapest and the slowest drive you can buy. SSHD's are a bit more in cost but are faster than a HD. SSD's are the fastest drives but are the most expensive given their size. All of these drives are 2.5" laptop drives.

In addition there are a few different SATA standards. To make this simple your system uses SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) which is the newest version. Just make sure it states 6.0 Gb/s on the package or spec sheet.

I would recommend going with a SSHD if you need a lot of storage as its cheaper than a SSD and yet faster than a HD. If you can afford the cost, a SSD is a great solution. You may want to look at the amount of storage you need as the smaller drives are cheaper.

But keep in mind you'll want to leave 1/4 to 1/3 of the drive free for virtual RAM and application swap files no matter which drive you go with.

IFIXIT offers drives, so does other stores so depending where you are you might find a local store or may need to go online.

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I saw the guide and i think i can pull it off but i have this questions

where can i buy the internal hard drive? Can i get one faster than my previos one or my mac woudnt handle it? Can i get also my ram improved?How much?


The amount of free space to leave on your disk is rarely, if ever, stated as a percentage as the size of disks vary so widely. On a 1.0 TB hard disk, leaving 250-330 GB of "free space" would actually be *wasted* space.

If you have more than 10 GB of disk space available, you should be more than ok. Keep more available if you have resource hungry apps or less if you don't.


I over simplified things a bit as there are other things at play besides V-RAM and swap files.

This gets into how the OS saves files and how the files get fragmented. We have found by experience better performance when we have 120 GB of free space still available on a 500 GB drive. As you start using this last 1/4 of disk the files get more and more fragmented. One factor here is the size of the files we are working with are large so that has to be taken in account. Besides you want to have some wiggle room to have in reserve.

In any case the smaller SSD's really need the space more so than larger 1 TB or larger drives. Which is why I push for 1/3 of the drive be set aside.


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Please verify if you have the 2011 or 2012 model. Your text states the 2012, the icon you picked is the 2011.

Go to the link Dan gave you and see: Relevant Parts List for recommended hard drives.

I would also replace the hard drive cable with one from a 2012 model.

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable Изображение


MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable


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My bad Mayer I picked the wrong one.


Ty mayer i will need that 2 i got my mac in 2012 in the apple store i think


Let's not guess. Please go here and enter the serial number from the back of your machine and tell us exact which machine you have: http://www.everymac.com/ultimate-mac-loo...


here you have :MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.5 13" Mid-2012 2.5 GHz Core i5 (I5-3210M)


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Since you have a hard disk (not an SSD or a hybrid) in your Mac, I would consider getting another hard disk, simply because you can get a 1.0 TB disk pretty cheap and it will have more capacity than your current one.

As you see in the guides, it's actually pretty simple to replace the hard disk:

  1. open the case
  2. unscrew two screws to release the hard disk
  3. carefully remove disk and then detach cable
  4. transfer four screws from disk to new disk
  5. re-attach cable, re-fit hard disk into its space
  6. replace bracket
  7. close case


From another computer, you can also download the OS Install from the App Store and then copy it to a USB (8 GB or more). Then you can plug it, turn on the Mac, and install.

I've done this hundred's of times, it takes about 10 minutes to replace the disk, 30 minutes to install the OS.

Good luck!

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But i was talking with a repair tech guy and he told me that if i put a hard drive on my mac it wont let me install Mac os cuz is not verify by apple. Is that entirely right?


@juan That is total BS. Do not go back to this ignorant guy!


ahh thanks good to know he scared me :D


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Juan будет вечно благодарен.
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