I want to install a new Solid State Drive (SSD) into the Mac. Can I just build in the SSD, start the MacBook in Recovery Mode and install OS X from there on?

After reading a lot on the internet I still have some doubts…

My HDD crashed, I can't repair it using disk utility or the fsck methods as mentioned on the internet.

According to New Macbook Pro 2012 Operating System onto new SSD? it should be possible.

I know how to replace the HDD with the SSD. I would go for the Samsung 850 EVO SSD - 500GB. My Mac is a MacBook Pro Mid 2012, model A1278.


The answer is "yes."

I want to install a new Solid State Drive (SSD) into the Mac. Can I just build in the SSD, start the MacBook in Recovery Mode and install OS X from there on?

It's called Internet Recovery. You basically hold ⌘ Command⌥ Option R to launch an installer sourced from Apple over the Internet.

OS X Daily has a good write-up about it.

I have done this personally on several MBPs. One caveat to keep in mind is that it will install the latest version of OS X that is linked to the account/machine. If it was Mavericks or Yosemite, that's what you will get. If you didn't have El Capitan, you will have to upgrade to it once the install is finished.

Internet Recovery is also a bit slow (dependent on your Internet speed/bandwidth). What I have done is create a USB installer of my image and then put it away for safe keeping. When I have to fix someone's Mac and reinstall, instead of going though the hassle of installing an out-of-date OS X then upgrading to the latest, I just install the latest from scratch via USB.

Create a USB Installer

After downloading the Installer Application, Using a blank USB flash drive (8GB or larger for El Capitan, 16GB or larger for Sierra/High Sierra), issue the following command (replace "Untitled" with the name of the volume that gets mounted if different):

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app

The example above uses Sierra as the Installer. The instructions are the same for El Capitan and High Sierra with the only exception being the path; modify accordingly.


Hold down the Command ⌘OptionR keys at startup to boot to OS X Internet Recovery. From there you can at least install the OS X that came with your computer. You may be able to install the latest version of OS X that you purchased through the Mac App Store. See "OS X: About OS X Recovery" for more details. Before installing OS X, you may need to run the Disk Utility to create a installation partition on your new drive.

If you have installed OS X and it is not the latest version, you may want run the App Store application to download the latest version. Once OS X downloads, you have two options.

  1. Run the installer and upgrade to the latest version of OS X.
  2. Quit the installer and copy the installer to a flash drive. The instruction are given at "Create a bootable installer for OS X". You can then hold down the Option key at startup and select to boot from the flash drive. You can erase your SSD and install a clean copy of the version of OS X stored on the flash drive.

Creating the USB flash drive has the following advantages.

  • You can also use the flash drive to install OS X on other Macs.
  • You use the flash drive as a substitute for the hidden OS X Recovery partition stored on your internal SSD. Both provide the same functions. If your internal OS X Recovery partition is damaged, you can still use the flash drive.
  • If Apple removes the version of OS X stored on the flash drive from the Mac App Store, you will still have the installation files stored on the flash drive. For example, Yosemite OS X 10.10 currently is currently not available in the Mac App Store.

One can find stories posted on the internet similar to the following.

An individual owns a older model Mac that can run Yosemite but not El Capitan. Their computer crashes and they have to reload. They can install the version of OS X that came with their computer, but this version is to old to be useful. They go to the Mac App Store just to learn Yosemite is not available. If they had created the flash drive when they first installed Yosemite, then reinstalling Yosemite would not be a problem.

Another alternative would be to have saved the Yosemite installer file, download from the Mac App Store, in a safe location.

protected by bmike May 6 '17 at 2:29

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