The MacBook Air is definitely a thin laptop — there’s no denying that. But arriving at that level seems to have involved some cutbacks, specifically that of the presence of a128GB SSD (solid state drive). Few who enjoy using this Apple laptop can say with certitude that this is more than enough storage space that will ever be needed, but once you buy it you’re stuck. Or are you? Not if you got the OWC 480GB Aura SSD, because it’s all about crashing past that storage limitation.
The 480GB Aura SSD is designed to replace the drive of a mid-2013 or later MacBook Air. But even better is that it can be installed by the same person who bought it without the fear of messing things up. Sure it can be taken to a service center instead, but why pay more than the $449.99 retail for the kit containing the tools and an external Envoy Pro enclosure that you can put the drive taken out into ($379.99 alone)? Regardless of which route one goes, the result will be a more superior machine to use.
While the Air doesn’t look all that user-friendly for being taken apart (especially as the battery has to remain inside), the procedure is absolutely simple. There’s little to fear since not only are all the tools needed provided, but OWC provides a comprehensive online video to follow (and one you can watch on a mobile device while you’re actually doing the installation so memory retention doesn’t have to come into play). So for those who have never done this kind of thing before, the most important take-away first is to make sure to properly ground oneself against static electricity before handling the SSD or touching any interior parts of the Air. The ways to do this include getting a static electricity strap, avoid walking on carpets beforehand/doing this on a carpeted area and other procedures readily found on the Internet. The main thing is to approach this not with fear but sensibility.
With that said and the laptop shut down and the AC power connecting cable removed, the Air is turned upside down and a series of screws removed using the special screwdriver provided (put these into a pillbox or on a small plate to avoid losing them). The bottom of the Air can then be lifted off, a connection plug pulled out of its socket and the screw holding the factory SSD drive removed. The drive is then pulled out of its socket, the 480GB drive replaces it and the screw returned. The plug is then reinserted, the back of the Air returned and the screws once again inserted. Turn the Air back over and you’re done. With the exception of the screws on the back, it takes about as much time to do this installation as to have just read about it.
But lost in all this might be how to get all the contents from the factory drive onto the new one now in the Air. There are a number of procedures that can be used and OWC kindly includes one on their site in the Tech Support/FAQ area (others solutions are available to discover with a little digging online also). Once you are done doing the installation, your MacBook Air now has a top-of-the-line SSD drive with oodles of free space so fears of not having enough room are gone. Plus you’ve a fast external drive available so regardless of whether it will be used with the Air or instead make its way over to an iMac or a PC, OWC is giving you more bang for your buck.
OWC’s 480GB Aura SSD is designed to not just replace the Apple drive but to ensure a quality use over time. And should you be so inclined, there’s a 1 Terabyte version available too, as well as SSD drives for mid-2013 and later MacBook Pro with Retina display models.