Picture of Upgrading RAM in your MacBook Pro 13

It is becoming increasingly popular to regularly upgrade the RAM (memory) in your Mac laptop to accommodate a constantly growing appetite for web intensive browsing or for running multiple instances of virtual machines. Programs like Excel and Autocad run more smoothly when they have more RAM to work with.

This instructable describes the process of upgrading (or replacing) RAM in unibody Apple MacBook Pro 13” and 15” models. I used a 15" model in my photos, but the process is very similar in 13" MacBook Pros.

I did this at TechShop because they have a whole bunch of really convenient, well-lit large tables in the common area.

Let's get started!

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Step 1: Acquire RAM for upgrade (or replacement)

Picture of Acquire RAM for upgrade (or replacement)

RAM is cheap these days, so you can afford to buy more of it for less. I've been lately purchasing RAM for my Macs at macsales.com, as they seem to have a good balance of price and quality. Here is what new RAM looks like in packaging. For this process this is the only part you are going to need.

Step 2: Prepare your workspace

Picture of Prepare your workspace

Having a large space to work on is very convenient. For best result and safety I'd recommend using one of those anti-static mats and laying it on a large flat surface.

Step 3: Connect the ground

Picture of Connect the ground

Connect the ground wire of your anti-static mat to a ground prong of any electric plug.

Step 4: Ground yourself with anti-static wristband

Picture of Ground yourself with anti-static wristband

This step is important. When working with electronics, have yourself well grounded with a wristband. Very little static electricity can send electronics of your computer into knock-out.

When wearing the wristband, make sure it's not too tight. Wear it the entire time that you're working on the internals of your computer. Even though you're well grounded, I would recommend not touching any electronic parts with your hands, as you're leaving natural oil behind. Washing your hands before this job is highly recommended.

smcmasters129 days ago
Will this affect any saved files in anyway? I'm a little lost as to the difference between the RAM and the Hard Drive. Both memory- but yeah just lost. All I know is my Mac needs a boost
toddecutter11 months ago

I see in other instructions online to disconnect the battery. What is your thoughts on that?

Doctor Jazz (author)  toddecutter3 months ago

As long as you properly shut down the computer, you should be safe with battery plugged in. If you still want to unplug the battery, be sure not damage the battery connector -- it's kinda fragile.

srspring5466 months ago

Be sure to use removable thread locker, not the permanent type!

sstirling2 years ago
Hi Doctor Jazz, what is it you're plugging you anti-static wrist band into? I have a band but nothing to attach it to in my work area and something like that could be very useful.
Yllyndra sstirling10 months ago

There's a slot for it on the mat (the black plastic thing on the corner; need to remove the alligator clip first). If you're not using a mat, you can also clip the wrist band to the chassis (the metal case) of the computer (in which case leave the alligator clip on). The anti-static mat is the better way to go, though. All mats should have a place to plug wrist bands in on one of the corners. If you live in a dry area, use a water-based lotion on your wrist first to increase the electrical contact with your skin. Hope this helps.

Capt Nemo3 years ago
Great, well done Instructable. Clear,concise, well illustrated- couldn't have been done better! Thank you.
elimasmx3 years ago
Great instructable, thanks!
Doctor Jazz (author)  elimasmx3 years ago
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!