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Apr 12, 2001
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Technicians in China have reportedly succeeded in upgrading the memory and storage of the M1 chip, suggesting that Apple's integrated custom silicon for the Mac may be more flexible than previously thought.

new-m1-chip.jpg

Reports of maintenance technicians being able to expand the memory and storage of M1 Macs began circulating on Chinese social media over the weekend, but now international reports have started to clarify the situation.

Technicians in Guangzhou, China have discovered that it is possible to detach the RAM from the M1 chip and its nearby SSD module and replace them with larger capacity components, which are correctly recognized by macOS, without breaking the device.

m1-chip-upgrade-ram.jpg

As proof, a large number of images showing the process of a base model M1 MacBook Air with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage being upgraded to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, and this change being correctly shown in macOS Big Sur, have been shared online.

The RAM and SSD components on Apple's M1 Macs are soldered in place, making the procedure extremely challenging, and there is reportedly a high chance of failure. This invasive unofficial upgrade also undoubtedly breaches Apple's warranty.

m1-chip-upgrade-ram-ssd.jpg

Apple has made it increasingly challenging for users to upgrade their own Macs over the years, and it was thought that the M1 Mac represented a final solidification of this move, with all of the M1 Mac's computing components being heavily physically integrated. The possibility of upgrading the memory and storage of M1 Macs, albeit in an invasive and risky procedure, therefore seems to be a significant discovery.

m1-chip-upgrade-ssd.jpg

Due to the difficulty of upgrading the RAM or SSD, almost all M1 owners will likely still have to rely on the memory and storage configuration that they chose at the point of purchase, with upgrades being confined to a minority of enthusiasts, although it has been suggested that M1 Mac memory and storage upgrades in Asia will be available through unofficial channels.

M1 Mac owners may be keen to see if the process behind these upgrades is refined over time and becomes a more viable option.

Article Link: M1 Mac RAM and SSD Upgrades Found to Be Possible After Purchase
 

diamond3

macrumors 6502a
Oct 6, 2005
854
305
My concern with some of the reports of really high ssd usage due to memory swapping is the longevity of that drive. I’d hate for the drive to fail in under 5 years and require an entirely new motherboard. Time will tell how big of an issue that will be.
 
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Carlson-online

macrumors regular
May 27, 2004
154
362
Extremely misleading title. It's a bit like saying robbing a bank is possible, given you have an experienced crew, inside information and a pass from law enforcement. This is not something the average user will ever be able to do.

Technically Possible !== Possible
 
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walnuts

macrumors 6502a
Nov 8, 2007
529
158
Brooklyn, NY
I thought the SSD couldn't be replaced in the post-T2 Mac era due to the security lockout. So are they saying that with the switch from Intel to M1, that security feature is removed? I guess there could be made easier somehow with the M1 performing the T2's former functions.
 
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Mc0

macrumors regular
Nov 6, 2017
128
280
They are entry level machines so naturally they lowered their specs. I just can't imagine limiting their maximum supported specs then creating a whole new HW design to support higher capacity.
 
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CJ Dorschel

macrumors 6502
Dec 14, 2019
399
786
Berlin
I thought the SSD couldn't be replaced in the post-T2 Mac era due to the security lockout. So are they saying that with the switch from Intel to M1, that security feature is removed? I guess there could be made easier somehow with the M1 performing the T2's former functions.
Oooo excellent catch! I missed that point.

on another note, how will this impact silicon Mac Pro’s? With discrete GPU’s, RAM, etc being user upgradable, how will discrete GPU’s work with ARM SoC?

@antiprotest What’s the deal? It’s a question, not a statement. Explain.
 
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RedTheReader

macrumors regular
Nov 18, 2019
135
176
That’s nice. Of course, it’s not going to give end users more flexibility; in fact, the level of complexity with the RAM portion makes me question whether it’ll even give repairmen more flexibility.

But… cool, I guess?
 
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JackHinkle

macrumors newbie
Jan 8, 2021
7
5
Guys, this changes literally nothing. It's the same as RAM and SSD upgrades on other MacBooks with soldered memory and storage. It's possible, but not for the average user. Technically, you could upgrade iPhone storage this way if you really wanted.

However, it would become an issue if they locked the SSD and RAM chips to their respective machines, similarly to how they do that with Touch ID sensors. But, they don't, so... no issue.

Anyway, it is "possible" to upgrade the storage and memory on these new computers using this method, although it is incredibly risky. Also, I assume only people with a lot of experience in microsoldering could get this done without breaking something. You know, like Louis Rossmann or something.
 
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obamtl

macrumors 6502
May 24, 2010
323
482
My concern with some of the reports of really high ssd usage due to memory swapping is the longevity of that drive. I’d hate for the drive to fail in under 5 years and require an entirely new motherboard. Time will tell how big of an issue that will be.
High swap memory use is actually not new to the M1 Macs. It's just been noticed now because people are paying more attention.

The arguments I've seen are that whilst concerns about that extent of read/write could become a concern for SSDs in general, Apple source high quality components that are less likely to have issues in so few read/writes.
 
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CJ Dorschel

macrumors 6502
Dec 14, 2019
399
786
Berlin
The article I read didn't say anything like that, unless you're suggesting that Apple could have made 16GB the base, in which case we all knew that already.
I dont think Apple ever claim that, only those who keep saying the memory "is on the chip"! So the only thing that is good from this misleading title was to set the record straight.

Ah, apologies. I did not know that Apple was upfront about their limitations on RAM configurations.
 
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hugodrax

macrumors 65816
Jul 15, 2007
1,044
324
My concern with some of the reports of really high ssd usage due to memory swapping is the longevity of that drive. I’d hate for the drive to fail in under 5 years and require an entirely new motherboard. Time will tell how big of an issue that will be.
My 2012 Macmini 24/7 fusion ssd has worked even today thats 9 years. So not concerned
 
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