Mid-2012 Macbook Pro HDD Cable Problems

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by looneylizzie, Feb 8, 2017.

  1. looneylizzie, Feb 8, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017

    looneylizzie macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2017
    I have a 13in mid-2012 macbook pro that has served me well until about 9 months ago when it would start up with the flashing "?" folder (unless I held it at the right angle for some reason). After a lot of research, I concluded that it must have been the hard drive cable that was the problem, not the hard drive itself.

    So I went ahead and ordered a new cable on Amazon, figuring that for $15 and what looked like an easy replacement, I couldn't do too much damage, and lo and behold, it worked! That cable lasted me a good six months, and when it started having the same problem, I figured that I was getting what I paid for - a $15 cable that wasn't meant to last all that long in the first place (in my defense, it totally looked that way when I received it as well - bent in weird places and it didn't fit perfectly).

    Figuring that I should try and find a better quality cable, I ordered one from iFixit for $45. This one seemed to be a much better quality when I installed it, but it's been three months and my poor little computer is having problems again.

    Just to make sure, I pulled out the hard drive and have plugged it into my computer using an external hard drive reader and it seems to be working just fine (a little slow perhaps, but otherwise fine), so it must be the cable again.

    The problem is, I'd rather not be replacing the cable every few months if I can help it. Is it possible that I'm missing something else that could be wrong, or do I need to just keep trying new cables?

    I haven't tried plugging a different hard drive into the cable I currently have to make sure that the physical connectors on my hard drive aren't the problem, as I don't have a HDD that's the same size available. Should I look into finding one to see if my HDD is the problem, or is it likely that the cable is still the problem?

    Thanks to anyone that can help! :)
    (And sorry for rambling - this is probably way more info than needed. Oops.)
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Not sure if this helps, the problems with the Mid-2012 13" SATA cables are a documented issue. Apple have a silent repair program for them, so if you pop into any Apple Store, they'll sort it out for free, even if you're out of warranty.

    Even if you don't have an Apple Store local to you, the cables you've already bought should have a 1 year warranty, so worst case scenario you just return them rather than buying new ones.

    I guess that's stepping around the issue though; the problems with the SATA cables are widespread. However you certainly should expect more than a few months' life from a replacement. I'm wondering if possibly the hard-drive might be on its way out too. Have you ever replaced the drive (with an SSD)? You can verify the HDD health by running SMART Utility in macOS: https://cloudfront.volitans-software.com/smartutility323.zip
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Well your hard drive is pushing 5years old it's probably getting to the end of its life wether it's dead yet or not.

    Honestly replace it with an SSD whatever you do, it really is the best thing you can do to improve your computing experience on any computer.
  4. looneylizzie, Feb 11, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017

    looneylizzie thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2017
    Thank you both for your replies!

    Since I've already replaced the cable twice, will the apple store really replace the cable again? I mean, it's one thing to have the original cable in and take it to be replaced, but to have a third party cable... I feel like they'd be more likely to reject it. And I don't have the original cable to plug in. ;)

    Granted, it doesn't cost anything to go in and have them look at it, so there's that. :)

    If the apple store doesn't replace it, I could always see if ifixit will - it's still within warranty -- my biggest worry with that is if the problem is my hard drive and not the cable, then I'd have to pay a restocking fee or the full price of the new part (not entirely sure which).

    I'm figuring that I should replace the hard drive regardless - SMART Utility won't work for me, or any other hard drive health status apps. I'm running my hard drive externally, since it won't start up at all when it's plugged in internally (or show up when I start up in recovery mode), so I can't check the SMART Status (which, according to the internet, is supposed to warn me if the drive is failing). But I'm just going to assume that I need to replace the hard drive and get a new one before going about replacing the cable. With luck, replacing the hard drive will solve the issue and I won't have to replace the cable... yet.

    But alas, I am a poor college student with a limited budget, so any recommended SSD drives I should get? I'd like to get 1TB, but I can live with a 500GB one.

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3 February 8, 2017