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MacBook Pro Retina "Function Keys" External Hard Drives and SSDs

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MacBook Pro Retina "Function Keys"

The first MacBook Pro 15" with Retina display was introduced in June 2012, followed by the 13" model in October. Its defining feature over the previous "Unibody" model is its very high resolution display (15": 2880x1800, 13": 2560x1600). The DVD drive was also dropped as obsolete, allowing the machine to be slimmer and lighter. Thunderbolt 1, 2 or 3 is present on all these machines, giving excellent external connectivity and video output. USB 3 is standard as well, along with HDMI in models up to 2015.

This model marks Apple's introduction of soldered in, non-upgradeable, RAM to the MacBook Pro range. From this point RAM upgrades after purchase would no longer be possible on any Apple laptop. While no non-Touchbar MacBook Pros have soldered in internal drives, Apple no longer used industry standard drives on this model, making drive upgrades significantly more expensive since third parties needed to develop a product specifically for these machines. The last models where third party drive upgrades were actually made are the 2015 revisions. The 2016 and 2017 use drives that are removable, so data recovery is possible in cases of a dead board, and refurbished parts can be sourced to replace a failed drive. But there are no third party drive upgrades available for them.

These machines fall into 3 broad groups.

  1. 2012/Early 2013. These first generation models were sold alongside the last of the older MacBook Pro Unibody models. They all have Thunderbolt 1 ports, use internal mSATA blade SSDs which are of a custom type but third party upgrades are available, and have a maximum operating system of macOS 10.15 Catalina.
  2. Late 2013 - 2015. These middle models were the main line of MacBook Pro, before the introduction of the Touch Bar versions in 2016. They have Thunderbolt 2 ports and use internal PCIe blade SSDs which are of a custom type but third party upgrades are available, and can run the current macOS 11 Big Sur.
  3. 2016/2017. These last models, released only in the 13" form factor, were an alternative to the MacBook Pro Touch Bar with a lower (though overlapping) range of specs available. These all have Thunderbolt 3 ports and use internal PCIe blade SSDs which are of a custom type for which third party upgrades are not available, and can run the current macOS 11 Big Sur.

We offer extensive repair services for the MacBook Pro Retina, including component level logic board repair which can often resurrect machines after liquid spills or component failures (including re-soldering the problematic U8900 GMUX chip on the 2012/Early 2013 15" models).

The MacBook Pro Retina Late 2016 2xTB3 13" is known to suffer from the so-called "Stage Lights Effect" fault, also known as "Flexgate". Apple is offering a service extension program.

A limited number of MacBook Pro Retina Mid 2015 15" machines may have defective batteries and are classified as a fire risk - serial numbers can be checked with Apple here and a free replacement arranged. Some 13" models manufactured between October 2016 and October 2017 also have a battery issue, though Apple say this is not a safety issue. The serial number checker for this repair extension program is here.

Some MacBook Pro Retina Mid 2017 2xTB3 13" models which were sold with 128GB or 256GB drives, have defective SSDs. A serial number checker for the repair extension program is here.

MacBook Pro Retina "Function Keys" External Hard Drives and SSDs

  -  Fully compatible with 2016 and 2017 models.  -  Earlier models that have Thunderbolt 1 or 2 can use it with an adaptor (speed will be limited to the speed of the machine's Thunderbolt port).

  -  Fully compatible with 2016 and 2017 models.  -  Earlier models that have Thunderbolt 1 or 2 can use it with an adaptor (speed will be limited to the speed of the machine's Thunderbolt port).

  -  Only 2016 and later models have Thunderbolt 3.

  -  Models up to 2015 - can be used on the 2016 and later, but would require an adaptor.

  -  Models up to 2015 - can be used on the 2016 and later, but would require an adaptor.

  -  This enclosure can be connected to revisions up to 2015 to access a 2.5in SATA drive. But this Mac does not use a 2.5in SATA drive internally.  -  Can be used on later models which have USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports with an adaptor.

  -  This enclosure can be connected to revisions up to 2015 to access a 3.5in SATA drive. But this Mac does not use a 3.5in SATA drive internally.  -  Can be used on later models which have USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports with an adaptor.

  -  Models up to 2015 - can be used on the 2016 and later, but would require an adaptor.

  -  Models up to the 2015 - 2016 and later would require an adaptor to USB-C.