Apple’s M1 MacBooks are impressive, but they come with what many PC users would define as an unforgivable caveat: they cannot be upgraded with more RAM or storage capacity. That was the belief, but it might actually no longer be the case if you’re willing to void your warranty.
As reported by MacRumors, a set of technicians from Guangzhou, China have actually found a way to do it without destroying the machine. They were able to detach the RAM and SSD chips and replace them with higher capacity parts and the computer does actually (currently) recognize them as official and compatible.
You’ll just have to void your warranty to do it.
Chinese maintenance engineers can already expand the capacity of the Apple M1. The 8GB memory has been expanded to 16GB, and the 256GB hard drive has been expanded to 1TB. pic.twitter.com/2Fyf8AZfJR
— DuanRui (@duanrui1205) April 4, 2021
In the tweet above, the multiple attached images show the process.
As expected with something like this, the process is not straightforward and full of pitfalls. Not only will you have to properly source parts that are compatible with the system, but you will also have to remove the RAM and SSD chips that are soldered-on — not something most people would recommend. That said, if the parts are successfully sourced, the previous parts correctly removed, and the new ones properly added, the technicians showed that they successfully expanded the computer from 8GM of memory to 16GB, and the 256GB storage drive was expanded to 1TB.
This isn’t the first example of experts tinkering with Apple’s very specific and un-upgradeable design. Earlier this year, Linus Tech Tips showed that the M1 MacBook Air actually can match — or even beat — the M1 MacBook Pro’s performance with a thermal pad upgrade. In that case, the modification also would void the MacBook’s warranty and for non-experts, even making slight adjustments like that are beyond the comfort levels of the average MacBook owner.
As Engadget says, it’s nice to see that an M1 MacBook is technically more upgradeable than Apple wants you to believe, but given how restrictive the company has been around repair, this seems like a situation it would consider an exploit and if it becomes popular enough, something it could patch out via software or make infeasible due to restricting part availability. In actuality, however, it is unlikely this method will become popular because of the level of skill it takes to successfully pull off mixed with the risk. It is very easy to destroy the MacBook in this process, and that’s a financial coin flip most who enjoy MacBooks just won’t take.