I have a 17" and a 15" Macbook Pro from about 2010. The 15" one recently has some problem with the speaker. Can I take its hard drive out and install it into the other 17" one? Would it work? The data I immediately want to work on is on the 15" one.

More detailed version info:

I looked up version information for my Macbook Pro by their serial numbers at https://selfsolve.apple.com/agreementWarrantyDynamic.do and compared to Apple's list of models http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4132 and determined

Macbook Pro 17", Mid 2010

Macbook Pro 15", Early 2011


This will work with the right toolkit (see links below) since the system software (Mac OS X) is almost hardware-agnostic, especially if you use a newer system than the original one. Actually some of the different MacBook Pro Mid 2010 models were sold with the same hard disks (the 500 GB serial ATA). The only thing you may have to adjust is the screen resolution.

Hard Disk Replacement/Swap:
MacBook Pro 15" Mid 2010 MacBookPro6,2
MacBook Pro 17" Mid 2010 MacBookPro6,1

But why don't you just use a Firewire 800 cable, start the MacBook Pro 15" in Firewire Target disk mode and connect it to the MacBook Pro 17"?

You may even start your MacBook Pro 17" from the Target mode MacBook Pro 15" by choosing the latter in System Preferences -> Startvolume.

Update: Hard Disk Replacement/Swap: MacBook Pro 15" Early 2011 MacBookPro8,2

The standard of the Serial ATA interface changed from 2.0 (MacBookPro6,1) to 3.0 (MacBookPro8,2). If the MacBookPro8,2 contains a SATA II hard drive it will work, if it contains a SATA III hard drive it should work (depends on the hd).

  • boom - best anwser
    – Macmaniman
    Oct 16 '14 at 21:48
  • What does boom mean here?
    – qazwsx
    Oct 17 '14 at 16:22
  • @klanomath I added corrected and more detailed info about my Macbooks. Does that change your initial answer? I don't quite understand the second portion of your answer about using Firewire. What does it achieve?
    – qazwsx
    Oct 17 '14 at 16:23
  • @qazwsx By starting the 15" MBP in fw target disk mode AND using it as the start volume you have a quick temporary solution for your problem. you may access your common 15" MBP app, user & data environment using the 17" MBP hardware (except the extra hard disk of course). In this case the 15" MBP acts as a simple external hard drive. Checking the system operability of the MBP15" system on MPB17" hardware is a side effect.
    – klanomath
    Oct 18 '14 at 1:59

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