Mac Studio teardown points to an upgradable SSD

Mac Studio standing on its side next to soda cans
(Image credit: Future)

When you come to buy a Mac Studio, one of the decisions you have to make is how much on-board storage you want, with options ranging from a basic 512GB all the way up to a substantial 8TB; if you’re happy to add an additional $2,400 to your upfront cost. 

Apple wants you to think hard about this decision. If you click the “how much storage is right for you” link, a pop up cautions that “Mac Studio storage is not user accessible," and that you should spend more now if you think you might need more space in the future.

But the first teardown video of the new Mac Studio suggests that there may be some semantics at play on the meaning of “user accessible." 

Max Tech recently opened up the new desktop computer to see what’s on the inside and discovered two SSD ports, and you can easily physically move the included storage between the two. Contrary to what Apple says, this doesn’t need that much disassembly to access — you can see for yourself at around the 5:45 mark in the video below.

So why does Apple say it’s not user accessible? Well, the company probably doesn’t want your average layman cracking open their Mac Studio. But that doesn’t mean it might not allow professionals and authorized resellers to upgrade the computer at some point down the line. Note that there is precedent here, with the company introducing an official upgrade kit for the Mac Pro back in 2020

Even if that is the case, you shouldn’t scrimp on other areas with the hope of upgrading later. As previously made clear by Apple, the unified memory is soldered onto the chip itself, so that’s one area where you need to plan ahead.

Elsewhere, early adopters have been confused with the small hole in the corner on the bottom of the computer. It’s likely that this is for a lock to secure your new purchase, and a memo seen by MacRumors seems to confirm this. The memo states that Apple will soon be launching a “lock adapter” that customers can attach to keep their Mac Studio “physically secure without modifying or damaging” the hardware.

Apple’s latest desktop is out now and impressing critics. In our Mac Studio review, we praised the “blazing-fast performance” of the M1 Ultra, its huge selection of ports and whisper-quiet operation. In fact, our only real criticism was the high cost of entry.

That doesn’t seem to be putting off buyers, though. At the time of writing, those looking to buy a Mac Studio directly from Apple today are facing a wait of at least three-to-four weeks for delivery of the M1 Pro model, rising to six-to-seven weeks for the M1 Ultra version. The accompanying Studio Display is in equally short supply, with orders showing a three-to-five week delay.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.