Editors note: this post was originally published in April 2014 and was updated in July 2017 to reflect new reviews and experiences about MacBook Pro RAM.
If You’re Ready to Add MacBook Pro RAM, Read On!
RAM is one of the most crucial components of your computer. It provides space for your programs to operate and holds instructions in a temporary place for your programs to access. When your software requirements get too high your computer will slow down—meaning it’s harder to get your work done.
There are some ways you can upgrade the RAM in your older MacBook Pro, but you have to know which options are worth considering. If you have a MacBook Air or Retina MacBook Pro, for instance, the RAM is not upgradable. By the way, adding RAM isn’t the only way to speed up your Mac. In fact, speeding up your Mac with software is a more affordable option.
What is RAM?
RAM (Random Access Memory) or computer memory does the work for you while you’re actively using programs or apps. While you are working with Photoshop, for example, you need sufficient computer RAM to run the program. For the sake of keeping things simple, think of RAM as short-term, active memory.
How to install or upgrade RAM in your MacBook Pro?
There are many video guides that will instruct you on how to upgrade your MacBook Pro’s RAM. There is also this official Apple guide on how to upgrade your Mac’s memory. It is a fairly easy process and will usually take you just 10 minutes to carry out.
Best RAM for MacBook Pro 2012 (Summer Release) – Both 15′ and 13′ model
A maximum of 16 GB, DDR3, 1600MHz (2 X 8 GB). You can also upgrade your MacBook Pro with 4 GB or 8 GB of RAM, RAM with the above mentioned specs.
Best RAM for older versions of MacBook pro
- Mid 2010 MacBook Pro – 8 GB of RAM – 1066 MHz
- Late 2009 MacBook Pro – 8 GB of RAM – 1066 MHz
- Mid 2009 MacBook Pro – 6 GB of RAM – 800 MHz
- Early 2009 MacBook Pro – 6 GB of RAM – 667 MHz
- Late 2008 MacBook Pro – 8 GB of RAM – 1066 MHz
What about Apple’s 8 GB upgrade limit on RAM for MacBook Pro?
Even though MacBook Pros released after 2011 can support a RAM upgrade of up to 16 GB, Apple have strangely recommended or advertised 8 GB as the maximum RAM upgrade limit.
However, after our own personal experience in upgrading a mid 2012 4 GB RAM MacBook Pro model to 16 GB of RAM, we don’t see any reason why someone should cap their upgrade at just 8 GB. 16 GB of RAM is not all that more expensive than a 8 GB upgrade and it would be silly to miss out on the huge additional power boost that 8 GB of additional RAM can provide to your MacBook Pro.
Here’s an Apple discussions thread where several people have vouched for the fact that MacBook Pros made after 2011 do indeed support 16 GB of RAM and not just 8 GB of RAM.
Additional note about upgrading RAM on your MacBook Pro
When you install more RAM on your MacBook Pro, you are boosting computing power. This addition to computing power will mean that your MacBook Pro will generate more heat.
Therefore, it would be a good idea to avoid using your newly upgraded MacBook Pro in hot conditions, like by placing your MBP on a soft bed or on your clothes where the air blown out by the coolers get suffocated, slowly cutting off ventilation to your MBP’s insides. Invest in a good MacBook Pro cooling pad to allow your MacBook Pro’s newly installed RAM to work at optimal temperature, giving you greater reliability and stable high performance levels.
Will adding RAM to MacBook Pro void the Apple warranty?
The answer is no! Adding more RAM or even a new hard disk like an SSD for your MacBook Pro will not void the Apple warranty. Your MacBook Pro’s stock RAM will however lose it’s warranty.
However, since Corsair, Crucial, Kingston and other leading memory brands offer a lifetime warranty on their RAM chips, there really is nothing to lose as your MacBook Pro will continue to enjoy Apple’s warranty while your RAM enjoys the manufacturer’s lifetime warranty.