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A2115 / 2019 / Processors from 3.0 GHz 6-core i5, up to 3.6 GHz 8-core i9. Released March 19, 2019.

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Can I install OSX on my full data SSD without losing data files?

I'll try to be more specific. My macbook 2011 is dead and I need to buy a new 2019 Imac, but choosing a HD/ssd from the web site it's too expensive so I was thinking if was possible re-use my old MacBook ‘s ssd (1 TB) , plug-in it on the IMac with an adaptor (ssd to usb) and reinstall the new OSX on it without losing all my data. Is it possible? Or am I forced to buy a good ssd from the beginning? If this is possible instead, do I have to format my ssd to install OSX ?

Thank you all

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I would try first with that adapter you mentioned, if you already have it. Removing the SSD from your old mac and installing it inside the new machine makes more sense to me, since there will be less bottle neck from the USB to SSD conversion, not to mention connections that with time, will wear and tear, even the USB ports suffers.

To start the machine with an external drive you would need to do the following:

*Startup Manager*

When you use Startup Manager to select a startup disk, your Mac starts up from that disk once, then returns to using the disk selected in Startup Disk preferences.

  1. Press and hold the Option (Alt) key, immediately after turning on or restarting your Mac.
  2. Release the Option key when you see the Startup Manager window.

If your Mac is protected by a firmware password, you can release the key when you're asked to enter the password.

  1. Select your startup disk, then click the arrow under its icon, or press Return. 
  2. If you press and hold the Control key during this step, your selection is saved in Startup Disk preferences, so it persists until you change it.

Now, installing the old SSD inside the machine directly, will give you less trouble in the long run. It’s possible that you will need a cheap adapter, but that’s not always the case. You shouldn’t need to reinstall OSX on the old SSD since it’s already there. However, I would strongly recommend that you back up all the important stuff on a different drive and proceed with a fresh install, then pass your programs and documents, etc. to the old SSD on the new machine. Preferably the latest version, unless you have a preference to a particular version of OSX. Of couse, I’m not sure if installing an old SSD in this machine might be possible if there is not SATA type connector, which I believe it does, since it shipped with a “Fusion Drive”, a fancy way of calling it a Hybrid drive, Small NAND and Big mechanic disks. Basically, crap. So check out the specs of the machine you wish to buy and check your options. I recommend pure SSD drives. Kingston has reliable and fast SSD’s for fair prices now a days.

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Thank you so much for your quick response FunkAddict!! Yes I have a Sabrent adaptor from SSD to usb that I've bought on Amazon, my intention was to avoid buying another ssd if already I have one ( 1tb by Crucial), now the other question is : Does an external SSD have the same/better performance as an internal one despite being connected with the adaptor I mentioned above? I just wanna save cash leaving the basic Fusion drive of the 27” Imac and re-use my old ssd. That's all. Thank you again for the reply


Your welcome Anthony! In your case, since you already have the Sabrent adapter and need to save cash, I'd take that route if I were you. The SSD's performance will be slightly reduced, but not too significant. You might not even notice it if your using USB 3. I hope you get it running and on track soon. :)


@Anthony Terribile I forgot to mention that the fusion drive might be faulty, if so, you MUST remove it from the motherboard or else it will cause many issues. Alternatively, you can try to fix the fusion drive with the following:

1) Boot the Mac and hold down Command+R (hold own Option key on some Macs)

2) Select “Recovery HD” from the boot menu

3) Choose “Disk Utility” from the Mac OS X Utilities screen

4) Click the hard drive that reported the error, click the “First Aid” tab, and now click on “Repair Disk”

Just don't trust that drive anymore and backup often. I hope this helps.


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