How to Clone and Replace the Mac HDD with SSD (Without Losing Data)

I was trying to replace my HDD with a new SSD on my Mac and decided to show how we can clone the existing hard drive to the new Solid State Drive. The process is fairly easy and you can easily do that without losing and data.


  1. SSD drive of your choice, my recommended brands are Samsung, Crucial with the storage capacity of your choice.
  2. Drive enclosure to clone the drive, I recommend SABRENT 2.5-Inch SATA to USB 3.0. You might have a different SSD drive, you can find an external enclosure that is compatible with your drive.

Why SSD Drive

If you are still using a hard drive on your Mac you should consider it to upgrade to SSD, because it’s much faster than the regular drive and after seeing the SSD performance this is the best you can do with your computer. I am going to use Crucial MX500 SSD which costs me around $58. You can buy one from Amazon for your computer.

Clone the hard drive and replace it with SSD

Plug in the new SSD

  1. To transfer all the data from the current drive to the new SSD, you need an External Enclosure.
  2. Insert your SDD in the external enclosure and plug in the USB to your computer.
  3. You might see an error message on your Mac screen “The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer.” Don’t worry, just click the Initialize… button so we can format it to use on Mac.
  4. This will open up the Disk Utility application. You will see the connected internal or external drive listed on the left side.

Note down the disk format

  1. Select the old drive from the left side and it will show you the drive information.
  2. Note down the file format “e.g. macOS Extended (Journaled)” as we need to format the new SSD drive according to that format.

Format the SSD

  1. Now, select the new SSD drive from the left side.
  2. Click the Erase option from the top to enter the required information.
    • Name: Give a name to your new drive.
    • Format: Select the same format that you noted down in the step-2.2 above. In my case, it was macOS Extended (Journaled).
    • Scheme: leave it to the default value “GUID Partition Map.”
  3. Click the Erase button to format the drive. Let it complete the formatting process and after that, it may ask you to use the drive for Time Machine, click the Don’t Use button.
  4. Click Done to close the formatting screen. Now your new SDD is ready to use on your computer.

See also: Format a drive to use on Mac and Windows


Clone the old drive

  1. To clone the drive you need to restart and go to the macOS Utilities. Restart your Mac and press and hold Command+R keys from the keyboard while booting up.
  2. You will see the macOS Utilities screen where you need to select the Disk Utilities option.
  3. Here, select the new SSD from the left side and click the Restore option from the top.
  4. Now, you need to select the drive that you want to restore.
    • Restore from: Select the old drive from the drop-down and then click the Restore button. The restore process may take some time and it depends on the size of your data on the drive. So, be patient and let it do the work.
  5. Once the Restore process completed click the Done button to close the window. You will notice that the new SSD drive also got the same name as the old drive.

Replace the Mac drive with SSD

  1. Till now you were using SSD as an external drive to Colne and transfer the data. It’s time to use the SSD as an internal drive for your Mac.
  2. Turn off your Mac, Eject the drive enclosure, take out the SSD from that enclosure and replace it with the internal old drive of your Mac.
  3. Boot up your Mac and you will see all the old data on the new solid-state drive.

I tried to explain the process so you can understand it easily. In case if you having any problem understanding it please leave a comment below and we will happy to answer your questions.

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