You have decided to buy a flashy, excuse the pun, SSD for your Mac. Maybe you have already bought one!? Whatever may be the case, you must know that most of the increased potential that your Mac’s SSD can deliver can be delivered only if you move your OS X installation from your Mac’s HDD to your SSD, so OS X runs out of your SSD and not your conventional HDD or spinning hard disk.
This tutorial will show you a step-by-step guide about how to clone your hard drive or OS X partition onto your new SSD.
First of all, here is a very pleasant surprise that you might have not been anticipating. Your Mac’s hard drive can be cloned onto an SSD using just Disk Utility, yes, just Disk Utility, a utility module that comes default in your Mac’s OS X.
That should allow you to breathe easy, now that you don’t have to worry about using suspicious third party software to get the job done.
Steps to clone OS X to SSD on your Mac
1. First of all, you will have to connect your SSD while the HDD is also connected. This can be done with the install kit that would have included SATA or USB cables. If your Mac doesn’t have an extra internal bay, you can just position your new SSD close to your Mac so you can temporarily clone your HDD onto your SSD, before completely substituting your HDD
2. Boot up your Mac like normal and open up Disk Utility.
OS X 10.4 and higher – Utilities – > Disk Utility
OS X 10.2x through 10.3 x – Installer – Open Disk Utility
3. Choose your old HDD from the devices listed in Disk Utility
4. Click on the partition tab
5. Does your new SSD have the same storage space or more storage space than your old HDD? If you answered “Yes”, please skip to step number 8
6. Resize your OS X partition so it is either the same size or less than your SSD’s capacity
Example – If your HDD is 1 TB in capacity and your SSD only has 512 GB capacity, you must resize your HDD OS X partition to 512 GB or less (preferably less)
7. To resize, simply drag the adjustable box on your partition to a point where it shows the size you desire
8. With all these changes made, keep both your hard disks connected and shut down your Mac
9. Restart your Mac and press the Option key
10. Wait for Boot Manager to open up
11. Select “Recovery-10.x”
If your OS X is a version older than Snow Leopard, you will have to select “Installation CD” instead of “Recovery-10.x”
12. Choose Disk Utility from the on screen options
13. Select your start up disk or your HDD OS X partition once inside Disk Utility
14. Choose the Restore tab
15. Click and drag your Mac’s HDD with the OS X partition to the field that says “Source”, in a drag and drop motion
16. Click and drag your new SSD partition to the field that says “Destination”, in a drag and drop motion
17. Click on restore at bottom of screen
18. Restart your Mac
19. When it restarts, press down the “Option” key
20. Wait for Boot Manager to open up
21. Choose to boot from SSD
22. Wait for a successful restart
23. If your restart was successful, your OS X cloning was also successful
24. Shut down your Mac and remove your HDD or go to system preferences and make your SSD the default boot up disk, if you want to keep both your SSD and HDD
25. Enjoy the burst in performance speeds, especially with the way OS X reboots your Mac from your new SSD!
Please ensure that Time Machine doesn’t run in the background when you begin the cloning process with Disk Utility.
Once you have successfully cloned OS X to run out of your SSD, you can change your SSDs partition sizes or create additional partitions as you like.
This method cannot be used to clone all of your HDDs partitions. In other words, if you want user installed apps, programs and data files to also be cloned, you will not be able to use Mac’s Disk Utility module. You will have to use a third party solution. We plan to write a post about that in the future as well.
Please understand that your SSD partition will typically need to be larger than the OS X partition on your HDD. This is because, when you set a partition, not all of the allocated disk space is available as free disk space. Some space will get allocated to write some system information that can then ruin your cloning process. When in doubt, always go with a higher capacity SSD.
Moreover, just like traditional hard disks, SSDs also generally work at their best when part of their storage capacity is available as free disk space.
If you found this tutorial useful to move OS X from HDD to SSD on your Mac, please drop a comment so others can see that these are working instructions 🙂 Also, if you have additional tweaks or more efficient ways to clone your OS X, please comment about those as well. We look forward to hearing about it.
Lastly, if you still haven’t made your SSD for Mac purchase, we would recommend that you check out the link just given to you, to learn more about the best Mac SSDs available in the market now.