Before you start lecturing me on making backups, I'm happy no announce that 90% of my data is backed up. I did exclude some non-essential folders because my internet is garbage. Losing these are an inconvenience at most.

I have not opened my MacBook yet, still looking at what my options are before I start something I will regret. I simply want to connect the old SSD to a new MacBook once to copy some files. I have no interest in keeping the SSD after that.

I'm a bit lost because browsing google is mainly providing me with recovery services (a bit overkill? SSD should be intact) and products intended for converting the SSD into some kind of permanent external drive, but I'm only interested in a single copy. Fancy casings are not needed. It has also come to my attention that regular SSD adapters might not work because apple used a proprietary design. Is this true?

I don't have the old MacBook with me so I'm not 100% sure what model it is. I think it's a 2015 MacBook Pro (no touch bar). What type of connector do I need?

I'm sorry if this is a bit vague. Thank you in advance.

  • 1
    Take the drive to PC World/Best Buy/anything similar in your country & ask them for a USB adaptor to your new machine.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 6, 2019 at 18:43
  • @Tetsujin That might make a good actual answer. I hinted at this, but an answer or linking to how to decide to take in a computer for service might be a great canonical question here.
    – bmike
    Jun 7, 2019 at 11:36

2 Answers 2


The easy operation is to Use target disk mode to present your Mac as a pure storage device and connect it to another computer. Many broken Macs still work to this extent and since you didn't mention how it was broken, it's quick and easy if power and the storage controller work minimally.

From there, you can copy / image / perform repairs using Disk Utility or other third party data recovery / disk repair / disk imaging.

The article above shows what connectors are supported and you'll be using some flavor of ThunderBolt on a MacBook Pro. For target access - you can use any of the TB3 to TB2 adapters as they work bidirectionally. Same with USB-C to USB-A - the adapters generally work as long as you can make a physical connection.

Liquid damage is tricky and can break all sorts of things:

If you are intent on opening the case, the best I can offer is go to iFixit.com or a shop that sells mounting adapters / SSD upgrades for Macs. Without your exact model, we're shooting in the dark to know what tools and adapters would be needed and what bus you want to expose the storage to.

  • Thanks, was not aware that was an option. Do you think it will work on a MacBook Pro that won’t boot on itself anymore due to water damage? I don’t know the degree of the damage.
    – Lambda x
    Jun 7, 2019 at 11:25
  • 1
    @Lambdax - Get a quote if you send it in for professional data recovery. From there, you'll know the value. There's a slight chance you will break things further with liquid when you try to connect to power. It really depends which liquid - where - how long - which model. Where can be incredibly specific - over the A key might be bad and the space bar - not as bad. You probably want to get it in the hands of someone that's seen a few damaged Macs if you're willing to pay for the remaining data. If you just want to learn - have at it - take pictures and post an answer what you discovered.
    – bmike
    Jun 7, 2019 at 11:30

If it is a 2013-2015 MacBook Pro, you can open it and take the SSD stick out quite easily, and put in any 2013-2015 MacBook Pro or Air (yes the internal SSD connector is the same for all of those models) and access it there, either by booting from it (assuming the MBP/A you put it in has new enough firmware to support booting from the version of macOS on the SSD), or accessing it by putting the MBP/A you have put the SSD in, into target mode by holding down T on boot until the target mode icon(s) appear on the screen and then connecting it to another Mac with a Thunderbolt cable. This avoids trying to fire up the water damaged MacBook Pro at all.

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