YouTuber Luke Miani discovered that while it’s easy to remove because it’s seamless, Mac Studio’s SSD storage isn’t currently user-upgradable due to software blocking.

Initial takedowns suggested that Mac Studio’s storage could be upgraded because it is not soldered in place. Each “Mac Studio” has two internal SSD slots, and the SSDs themselves can be freely swapped between connectors.

In a video on his YouTube channel, Miani tested whether “Mac Studio” storage is user-upgradable in practice. Miani has erased the SSD of “Mac Studio”, removed it from the machine, and inserted it into an empty SSD slot in another “Mac Studio”, but the Mac status light flashes SOS and won’t turn on.

‌Mac Studio‌ recognizes the SSD, but Apple software prevents it from booting, indicating that this is a conscious decision by Apple to prevent users from upgrading their volumes themselves. Apple claims on its website that the Mac Studio’s SSD storage is “inaccessible to the user” and encourages users to configure the device with sufficient storage capacity at the point of purchase.

It now appears that the purpose of the easily replaceable storage is to assist with repairs performed by certified technicians, who likely have software tools that enable Mac Studio to boot from a different internal storage. Since preventing a user’s upgradeability appears to be simply due to software blocking, Apple has enabled users to upgrade their volumes in the future with an update.

It was originally impossible for users to manually upgrade Mac Pro storage, but Apple continued to offer a Mac Pro storage upgrade kit in mid-2020, so a similar move for ‌Mac Studio‌ is out of the question, especially in light of Apple’s announcement of a self-service repair program.

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