Best way to expand storage on your older MacBook Pro

The Desktop image on Mac
The Desktop image on Mac (Image credit: Joseph Keller/iMore)

No matter how much storage you have on your older MacBook, as you collect more pictures, documents, games, and other files, you will probably find yourself craving more space. Sure, you could get an external hard drive or go as far as replacing the internal hard drive with something bigger, but that's not the easiest solution. What if I told you, you could expand your older MacBook Pro's memory with a microSD card?

BASEQI

The BASEQI microSD adapter is designed to slip into the SD card slot of your MacBook Pro allowing you to use it as extra storage space of up to 256 GB.

Unlike a normal SD card or microSD card adapter, the BASEQI will sit flush with the edge of your MacBook Pro, meaning you don't have to worry about losing it. Just plug it in and forget about it.

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Great microSD cards

If you want to go this root to upgrade your storage, you'll also need a great microSD card to go along with your BASEQI, here are some of our favorites.

Samsung EVO+ 256GB

Samsung EVO card

Samsung's very-highest-of-the-high-end microSD card isn't cheap, but you're also getting a winning combination of performance and storage capacity. This is the best card to get if you know you'll be downloading most of your Switch games from the Nintendo eShop, as it not only will hold the most games but will load those games faster than most other cards!

Plus, Samsung EVO+ is water, temperature, X-ray and magnetic proof, so you needn't worry about it getting damaged while you're out and about.

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SanDisk Ultra 200GB microSD

If you're looking to add a ton of extra storage at a relatively low cost, SanDisk's 200GB microSD card is the way to go. This card from SanDisk provides transfer speeds of up to 90MB/s and can record Full HD video. If you like to keep your digital library with you at all times, you'll want one of these.

We've seen the price drop significantly over the past year, and most of the times you can find it for under $80.

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PNY Elite 128GB

PNY

If you want a nice high storage capacity without breaking the bank, PNY's UHS-I 128GB card is a good option — roughly $40 gets you a staggering amount of storage, and with pretty fast read speeds to boot — up to 85MB/s. It's about the lowest price we've seen for a 128GB card and a great way to ensure you have lots of space for all storage needs.

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How have you expanded your storage?

Tell us how you went about expanding your MacBook Pro's storage in the comments below!

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 


Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.

5 Comments
  • Best? Hmm, depends on your usage. If you want more storage space, more application space, or more operating space, it varies.
    Personally, I'd consider updating that internal storage (assuming the device supports it) before going for SD card like a mobile device has. My old MacBook has a 500GB spinny hard drive in it, and I recognise that its performance is hurt by this, but for the cost of updating it to a similar-sized SSD, I would view this as better than an SD card update.
    Then, if I still felt hurt for space, I'd look into an external hard drive. You can get 2TB of space for the same cost as that 200GB SD card, and it'll probably perform better. Portability would hurt a little, but those portable USB drives are pretty decent if I'm not constantly walking around with my Mac in hand.
  • Retina MacBook Pros have only had SSD/flash storage since they were introduced in 2012. Traditional hard drives are not an internal option for these units. Additionally, upgrading the SSD in them is extremely challenging at best or impossible at worst, depending on the model. External hard drives are great, but require you to, you know, carry it around with the computer. This would be a great solution if you need some additional space (but not necessarily terabytes worth) but need/prefer to only carry your MacBook Pro by itself and not have to rely on an external HD. It's actually kind of amusing that you mention a use case for which this storage concept is a great solution (needing to walk around with your Mac in hand and at the ready), but dismiss it because they're not your usage. The way you use your computer is not representative of the way anyone else uses theirs.
  • I know, the rest of the world is unlike me. That would be a concerning idea if they were!
    I take it that this applies to you? Do you find yourself running out of space? What's your use case for this type of advice?
  • I did this with my MacBook Air by adding a 128GB Transcend JetDrive which sits perfectly flush in the SD slot. Sent from the iMore App
  • Just upgrade your internal hard drive from a HDD drive to a SSD. Problem solved! Also make use of your Google/Microsoft cloud drive if you have an account.