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I currently own a 15 inch MacBook Pro with retina display model ( early 2013) . My Mac was working fine and all of a sudden my Mac won't boot up. I see a flashing folder with a question mark symbol on my screen.

I took my Mac to a technician who diagnosed the issue and said flash disk has to be replaced. He said "Reseted SMC and PRAM. Still same issue. Tried to erase the SSD by booting with known good OS. still same issue. tried to erase the SSD using terminal mode same issue. tried to repair the SSD found not getting repaired. Reseated the SSD and tried to erase the SSD still not able to erase the SSD".

Is there any other way to fix this issue without replacing the SSD?

Or could you suggest any other SSD for this model of Mac?

  • The tech was right, but you can try the repair. use external disk to boot and use disk utility disk repair. You could also try to restore your OS X installation by holding cmd+r during boot. – Ruskes Mar 23 '15 at 19:23
  • No bootable OS. – OzzieSpin Sep 16 '16 at 15:56
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Take a look at EveryMac's Retina MacBook Pro page here. There is valuable information regarding compatibility (or lack thereof) of SSDs between different models, options for 3rd-prty upgrade offerings and lots of stuff you generally need to know about SSDs for Retina models.

Dealing with your actual problem at hand, SSDs aren't difficult to test, and any decent technician should be able to diagnose the issue. If your technician says it's died then by all means get a second opinion but SSDs have the capacity to fail like any other electronic or mechanical component.

If you're an EU resident you may have a case for a free replacement from Apple as EU-wide consumer law forces companies to offer a 2-year minimum warranty period. Getting them to honour a warranty may not be easy but it's another option. You never know, you could get lucky and find someone sympathetic to your plight who's willing to swap out the defective SSD.

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The flashing folder with question mark means that it cannot find the OS to boot to. When you boot from a CD/Flash/USB Device it means that your MacBook is still functioning and the problem is limited to the drive and its related subsystem.

So, you are down to two distinct components that could be the problem with your Macbook: the SSD or the SATA controller.

The SATA controller is part of the whole logic board and cannot be individually replaced so if that is the problem, you will need a new logic board.

What the tech is saying is a little "half-arsed" in my opinion. He is basing his diagnosis on the fact it is the easiest thing to replace. To know this for sure, he needs to swap out your existing SSD into a known working machine and/or a known working SSD into your machine. That will tell you if it is your machine's logic board or its SSD.

Throwing parts at a problem is just expensive and fool hardy. Depending on the age of the MacBook and your AppleCare warranty, this all may be covered. If not, it will be a moderate cost to replace the SSD (if possible) and almost monumental to replace the logic board.

If it is the SSD and it can be replaced, now would be a good time to upgrade to a larger size.

  • Depending on the specific model of MacBook, the SSD could be either connected to a SATA controller or be directly connected to the PCIe bus. After 28 years of working with Macs I've yet to come across one with a failed storage controller - it could happen but the SSD is far more likely to have failed. I do agree with your sentiment about throwing parts at a problem, but I've witnessed this from Apple themselves over the years with several quotes for "logic board replacement" when the actual fault has been something simple (and very repairable) like an LVDS display cable that's failed. – ScunnerDarkly Mar 23 '15 at 20:32
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    Off-topic but your comment "half-arsed" amused me, spoken like a true Brit! – ScunnerDarkly Mar 23 '15 at 20:34
  • Thanks, but my mother was the "true brit." I am just a "bloody yank." :-) – Allan Mar 23 '15 at 20:51
  • It's probably (meaning most likely) the SSD, but who knows what happened to cause the issue. I have had Apple techs on location spend DAYS reproducing the logic board failure when they insisted it was user error. I had 500 Macbooks (the white ones, remember those) that would literally lock up for no reason. The wanted me to swap literally every part and no insistence on my part that it was the logic board would persuade them. The engineer finally said it was the logic board. I guess 40% same symptom failure rate wasn't enough for them. – Allan Mar 23 '15 at 20:57
  • Who knows indeed? It could be a stray cosmic "ray" that's done untold damage to the SSD (which would of course be preferable to the particle hitting the MacBook owner). One thing's for sure, make enough of something and you're going to have a proportion which fail. With modern manufacturing at the nanometre level it's quite astounding there isn't a much higher failure rate with electronic goods. Unless of course there is and everybody's keeping quiet about it... – ScunnerDarkly Mar 23 '15 at 21:10

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