Can You Upgrade Processor on MacBook Pro?

You love your Macbook Pro but you have noticed lately that it just doesn’t have the processing power that it seemed to have when you first bought it. This happens with most technology devices, especially computers. As they age, they don’t perform quite as well with newer apps.

Since you like your old Macbook Pro so much, you might be wondering if you can upgrade the CPU (central processing unit) so that it can keep up with newly designed applications and technology. 

Sadly, the answer is no. Processor upgrades are not really possible with a Macbook Pro.

My name is Eric. I am an engineer and have been working with computers since the late 1970s. I’ve done many computer upgrades over the years and now I would like to pass some of that experience on to you.

Most modern Macbooks are not designed to be upgraded, especially when it comes to the processor. If you would like to find out more, keep reading and we will discuss this a bit further.

Why Can’t I Upgrade My CPU?

If you have been around computers for a while like me, you are probably wondering why we can’t just go out and purchase a more powerful processor, open up your Macbook, unplug the old one, and then plug in the new one. 

Even if you haven’t been around computers for long, this probably still sounds pretty simple. Right! Well, there was a time when it was that simple, and if you are a PC user it can still be done. 

Although opening up any laptop computer is a little more complicated than we may have led you to believe, with older laptops it was much easier. The biggest problem with newer Macbooks is that the processor is soldered into the motherboard or main board of the computer.

This means that the processor cannot be simply unplugged and then the new one plugged in. The solder material permanently attaches the processor to the board. The only way that it can be removed is with a special tool known as a soldering iron or gun.

The new processor must then be soldered back into the board. Even if you have the tools, it does require some professional experience to know how to do this. It’s not an easy job and any small mistakes can ruin the processor and the entire motherboard.

If you would like to see what soldering components to a circuit board are all about, take a look at the video below.

The person that does this must have great knowledge of the processor’s pinout which is the mapping of all the contacts that must be soldered back to the board and each has a specific function for your Mac. 

The pinout for the new processor may be different than that of the old. If it is different, this can make things much more complicated.

In the end, if you don’t know what you are doing, you will probably end up needing to purchase a whole new computer plus you will have already lost the money and time that you have spent on the new hardware and tools.

Can I Have A Professional Do This For me?

So you love your old Macbook so much that you still want to find a way to do this. You’re probably wondering if it is possible to find a professional technician to do this. This is a good question and for starters, you won’t be able to get this done at the Genius Bar.

Apple does not support this so you would have to find an independent techie who could do this. If you have any warranty left it will most likely void your warranty, but if your Mac is old enough you may not have one left anyway so it might not matter.

It will be hard to find someone to take this kind of job on, and if you are lucky enough to find someone, it is going to cost you. In the end, you will have an old Macbook with older hardware and a new processor and doubts about whether it will run smoothly without glitches.

Putting all this information together and knowing the risks and cost, you will be much better off to just purchase a new Macbook. You will get all new hardware that will be under warranty, with the latest macOS and you can choose the best system for your needs.

Just the way that Apple planned it. Are you surprised!

Why Doesn’t Apple Make the Macbook CPU Upgradable?

I know what you’re thinking. Apple does this so that you cannot upgrade your system and you have to buy a new one. Therefore they can continue making money from you. I’m not going to lie, this is a big part of it but it is not the only reason.

  • Money. By preventing you from upgrading your machine, Apple forces you to buy a whole new system. This time you will probably spend more money on a more powerful system so it will last longer.
  • The soldered-in or onboard components such as the processor and memory allow the Macbook to be manufactured with its slim and sleek design. They take up much less space than their removable counterparts.
  • These machines are made with incredible technology. Inside of them are parts that are very sensitive and fragile. Apple probably doesn’t want the average person going into their laptop machine and trying to change out a CPU. 
  • Apple also wants you to use their latest technology so your system can keep up with and run their latest macOS and other apps. Older hardware will not be able to make use of many new features.
  • Apple would rather you make upgrades upfront when you first buy your system. This again has to do with money but it can also help your system have a little longer lifespan but it won’t guarantee it. Technology can change fast.

Final Words

Upgrading a processor in a Macbook is not necessarily impossible but it is very difficult in the best of situations and in the end probably not worth the time, effort, and money. Although you can’t upgrade the processor there are other components that you might be able to upgrade.

In the long run, you will be much better off investing in a new Macbook which will not only give you a new processor but all-new hardware that will perform better in the long run. Besides, if you still love your old Macbook, you can always keep it around as a spare or to use for fun.

I hope this article has provided you with the information you were looking for. If you know of stories about successful processor upgrades, let us know. We would love to hear from you.

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