How to Upgrade your MacBook or MacBook Pro Memory

Today I realized something that seemed kind of obvious. I should upgrade my laptop’s memory.

I have been running a MacBook Pro as my main computer for the last 2 and a half years and it has been awesome: portable, powerful, versatile, and very stable. Apple’s fantastic customer service doesn’t hurt either. My MacBook Pro had 4gb of memory (or RAM) since I bought it in 2009 and it was great. I recently realized just how cheap third party RAM has become and I had a great idea.

After some research, I went to the nearest NCIX and picked up 8gb (2x4gb) of Mushkin brand memory for $39.99 that was marked Apple compatible. I found a video online on Other World Computing that showed how to open the cover of my MacBook Pro and swap the old memory sticks for the new.

Now here’s the great idea part. Erica has a similar computer to mine – the rare 13″ aluminum unibody MacBook (not pro). It uses exactly the same memory as mine and she only had 2gb of RAM in her computer. I think you can see where this is going – I was able to double my computer to 8gb AND hers to 4gb, all for $39.99.

Best. Upgrade. Ever. Now Lightroom and Photoshop run a lot snappier and I’m sure I will be able to get stuff done faster.

How to Upgrade


If you want to know how much memory is in your Mac, just click on the Apple logo on the top left of the menu and then click “About This Mac.” This will bring up a dialog like the one on the right that will show you how much memory you have installed.

Then you can head over to EveryMac.com and lookup your computer to see what the maximum amount of memory it can have is.

Now you can will need to choose a brand of RAM. By searching the internet, I was able to find that OWC, Crucial, and Mushkin are usually the top rated for Macs. As far as I can tell, you need to buy OWC from their website, but you can get the other two from many computer hardware stores.

Most MacBook Pros (and non-pros) have two memory slots, so you should look out for a dual-channel kit when you buy your RAM. Basically, just look for a kit that has two matched pairs. (Like 2x4gb sticks for a total of 8gb)

Head over to OWC’s YouTube Instructional Series for instructions on how to install your new RAM.

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments below.

Happy upgrading!

About Tim

Tim is a passionate photographer who runs Firefly Photo. He has over ten years of experience photographing weddings, couples, families, business, dance, sports, and more. He attended SFU for graphic design & Douglas College's Self Employment Program for business.

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