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I have a new MacBook Pro 13" Retina (Late 2013) which works flawlessly. It has a factory installed 512 GB SSD, which also works flawlessly. Then I bought basically the same type of 512 GB SSD, 2nd hand but new, which I intended to install in another MacBook Pro Retina Late 2013.

The seller told me it is compatible with the MBP Retina Late 2013, but when installed, the known to be good MBPR doesn't boot. Not from that SSD, not from an attached USD HDD which has two perfectly bootable Mavericks partitions. When pressing the alt-Key on booting, I can however see two partitions on that SSD (Mac OS X 10.8.4 and a Recovery Partition), yet it is not booting at all, thus also doesn't allow me to inspect or treat this SSD with Disk Utility or other tools.

All I get is the grey screen with the striked through circle sign (see attached image). I've tried both, PRAM reset and SMC reset, no change.

Here comes the interesting part: Although both SSD look absolut identical, they have slightly different model and part numbers (see attached image).

Working, factory installed SSD: Model MZ-JPUS512T/0A6. Part No. 665-1805D

Non-booting, 2nd hand SSD: Model MZ-JPUS512T/0A2. Part No. 665-1805A

Any ideas what’s going on here and how to solve this?

Both SSDs compared. Note the minor differences at the end of Model ID and Part Number.

This is basically all I get...

  • Hopefully the non-booting one isn't simply broken. Also, are there any EEE codes listed on the front or back of the parts? Apple often sources components from different suppliers and you need an exact match due to different motherboards or other parts in the system. Also, getting the OS up to date sometimes helps with issues like this. You could install an OS on an external drive to see if getting the latest possible OS running lets you use the "broken" SSD. – bmike Feb 14 '14 at 20:47
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Stupid me! A fellow over at Apple Discussions pointed me into the right correction: Mac OS X 10.9.1 just doesn't equal Mac OS X 10.9.1.

The Mac OS X 10.9.1 on the external USB HDD had been installed using a different, older MacBook, thus just wasn't compatible with this MBPR. Back in the bad old days of Mac OS X Install DVDs, I was aware of the fact that there where different versions of the OS X Installer testing against the Mac ID to make sure that bundled versions gets only installed on those Macs which the DVD came with. And the DVD where clearly labeled in that sense.

Now in the days of Internet download and installation from USB sticks, SSD and HDD, one completely forget about this. On the other hand, with Mavericks being free, I don’t understand the need for such limitations, and not at least the recovery partition allows booting any Mac which supports Mavericks.

When you boot with the alt-Key pressed and you see at least one partition with Mac OS X 10.9.1, one just doesn’t understand why the heck the Mac doesn’t boot. Now I do. Apple would be well advised to simply add a short info line, like „This version of Mac OS X is missing components to boot this Mac. Please re-install from the AppStore using this computer“. It would take out A LOT of guesswork.

Anyhow… I booted the MBPR using the working SSD, installed Mavericks from the AppStore on the external USB HDD, switched the SSDs, booted from the external USD HDD’s now bootable 10.9.1 Recovery Partition, wiped the suspicious non-booting SSD and installed Mavericks. No further problems. Another option would be to simply boot into Internet Recovery Mode by pressing CMD-alt-R when powering up.

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If you boot in to recovery mode you will be able to use your Disk Utility in order to check your drive, should be as simple as that!

cmd + r as soon as you hear the start up chime, or your screen is gray

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