Experts at the venerable teardown site iFixIt have weighed in, and the Mac Studio storage is not upgradeable…with one major caveat.
The Mac Studio was unveiled at Apple’s Peak Performance event in early March, and finally brought a professional grade Mac powered by the M1 line of chips. In fact, high-end Studios are powered by the M1 Ultra, the fusion of two M1 Max chips. Early adopters quickly noticed a second storage slot, upon disassembly, leading some to believe it might be possible to upgrade the storage. Turns out, that’s not the case.
iFixIt did one of their comprehensive teardowns of the new Mac, and came to the conclusion that upgrading the storage is not possible at this time. Yes, the new machines come with a second storage slot, but that is primarily for configurations that include 4GB or more of internal storage. Simply throwing another SSD into that extra slot doesn’t work and results in DFU restore errors. In fact, the only way to get the Studio to recognize a new SSD was to make sure it was the same capacity as the one that shipped with it.
No matter the configuration, we haven’t gotten two base model drives to boot simultaneously in a single machine. However, when we swapped the spare Studio’s drive for the one in the teardown unit, and used Configurator to do a DFU restore … it worked! Storage swaps are possible, at least between two drives of the same size. But the jury’s still out on upgrades. Hopefully a software update will make the spare slot worthwhile, but it’s always a bummer to see repair and upgrades at the end of the priority list.
It’s unfortunate to see the Studio crippled by such an arbitrary limitation, and hopefully a future software update will fix the issue and add some additional longevity to the machine.
Overall, iFixIt gave the Mac Studio a repairability score of 6 out of 10.