According to YouTuber Luke Miani, the Mac Studio‘s SSD storage is not currently user-upgradable due to a software block, even though it is not soldered down. Because the Mac Studio’s storage is not soldered in place, first teardowns suggested that it may be upgraded. Each Mac Studio features two internal SSD slots, and the SSDs themselves can be easily switched between the connectors.
In a video on his YouTube channel, Miani examined if the Mac Studio’s storage is user upgradeable in practice. Miami erased a Mac Studio’s SSD, removed it from the machine, and installed it into an empty SSD slot in another Mac Studio, but Mac’s status light flickered SOS and refused to turn off.
The SSD is recognised by the Mac Studio, but Apple’s software stops it from booting, implying that Apple made this decision to prevent people from updating their storage on their own. Apple states that the Mac Studio’s SSD storage is “not user-accessible” on its website, and advises customers to set up the device with sufficient capacity at the time of purchase.
The objective of the easily replaceable storage currently appears to be to facilitate authorised professionals performing repairs, who will most likely have software tools that allow the Mac Studio to boot from other internal storage. Because the lack of user-upgradeability appears to be due to a software limitation, Apple may provide an update that allows users to upgrade their storage in the future.
Users couldn’t manually update the storage on the Mac Pro at first, but Apple later offered a kit to expand the Mac Pro’s storage in mid-2020, so a similar move for the Mac Studio isn’t out of the question, especially given Apple’s Self Service Repair Program announcement.