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I need to change the SSD of my MacBook Air 11" mid 2013 and I was wondering if the one of a newer MacBook Air 2017 would be compatible. I researched online and I think that the ports remain the same (12+16 pins) but I was wondering if there would be any drive issue, and if so if it can be easily solved.

How can I research what controllers or compatibility exists between OEM storage on various Mac?

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    MacBook Air (Early 2015 - Mid 2017): "... The drives were the only of Apple’s product lines to keep the PCIe 2.0 x2 technology from the previous generation, but the drives were still modified with firmware changes that rendered them incompatible with earlier MacBook Air laptops..." – klanomath Jan 7 at 0:27
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No. These SSDs are not compatible.

The 2015 through 2017 MacBook Air laptops use the exact same interface, so, those are compatible. Also remember that you're comparing the 11" to the 13" model and those are different with respect to space.

From iFixit.com, I was able to find an excellent image showing the difference with the interfaces. While it implies that the 2013 through 2017 MBA interface is the same (it is physically), one has two channels (2013) while the other has 4 (2017). They also go on to say that it's possible to use an M.2 SSD with the use of an adapter, however, I can find no test results so YMMV.

This MacBook Air uses a proprietary storage drive connector, and is therefore not compatible with common M.2 drives without the use of an adapter

enter image description here

From the link provided by klanomath in the comments...

Despite the two channel drive, the 11″ MacBook Air actually supports four channel PCIe connections, and they can be upgraded with the Gen. 4A drives found in other devices. In fact, if the 11″ MacBook Air was configured with a 512GB SSD from the factory, it already included the same Gen. 4A drive found in the other Apple computers of the era.

This implies that the drives from the 13" 2017 MBA will fit physically into the 2013 11" MBA, but because of the firmware, they won't work.

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  • According to another site (check the link in my comment to the question) PCIe 2.0 x4 SSDs are compatible to MBA 2013 11" - except the firmware of Apple's blades in the 2017 MBAs prevents them from working in older 2013 MBAs. OWC offers a PCIe 3.1 x4 blade which apparently works in both (the MBA 2013 11" and the MBA 2017 13"). – klanomath Jan 7 at 3:54
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I'm the author of the Apple SSD article that klanomath linked to in their comment and I wanted to clarify some things that seem to have been misinterpreted.

First of all, the Mid 2013 release of the MacBook Air 11" absolutely can use the faster PCIe 3.0 x4 drives from the 2015-2017 MacBook Air 13", which I refer to in the article as the Gen. 4A SSDs.

Allan's answer mentions that the 2015-2017 MacBook Air 13" drives are PCIe 2.0 x4, but they're in fact PCIe 3.0 x4 drives. It's the PCIe interface of the MacBook Airs logic board that is limited to PCIe 2.0 x4.

And the quirky firmware changes that prevent compatibility with earlier MacBook Airs were only present in the 128GB and 256GB PCIe 2.0 x2 drives (referred to as Gen. 4C in the article) found in the Early 2015 release of the MacBook Air 11". All of the drives found in Early 2015 and later MacBook Air 13" laptops are 100% compatible with earlier Mid 2013 and Early 2014 MacBook Airs, as is the 512GB drive from the Early 2015 release of the MacBook Air 11".

Everyone in this discussion missed this paragraph from the article:

Despite the two channel drive, the 11″ MacBook Air actually supports four channel PCIe connections, and they can be upgraded with the Gen. 4A drives found in other devices. In fact, if the 11″ MacBook Air was configured with a 512GB SSD from the factory, it already included the same Gen. 4A drive found in the other Apple computers of the era.

Despite all the good info in that article, it's a bit dense to read in places and I think much of the information could have been conveyed in a better way. I've recently started working on some improvements that should make it easier to quickly grasp the most important details and should be publishing those changes in the next couple weeks.

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