Skip to main content

Model A1286. Released February 2011 / 2.0, 2.2, or 2.3 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 Processor

661 Questions View all

New SSD won't boot my 2011 15" MacBook Pro

I have seen a similar question show up a million times but I have not seen a straight forward simple answer. My hard drive failed so I have decided to make an upgrade I picked up a new SSD (Samsung 860 with 500gb). I installed it into my computer but when it is starting to boot up I will get about 25-30% through the loading bar and then it goes black for a second and then a white screen.

I took it to the Apple Store to get OS-X installed but they said it was not working and the Apple technician told me to replace the SATA cable inside my computer.

I did some digging and it seems that a good chunk of 2011 MacBook Pro’s are not compatible with SATA III SSD’s.

There are no clear answers on if replacing my SATA cable in my computer would resolve this problem, some places kind of hint that getting a 2012 cable would work but won't fit 100% perfectly, others have hinted that getting a 2011 cable will work because the later models resolved this issue.

I would be happy to record (and speed up) my boot up process if anyone believes that the issue I am describing is something other then a outdated sata cable.

TLDR: early 2011 MacBook won't boot with SSD would upgrading my SATA cable inside my computer to a 2012 cable resolve this issue.

Answer this question I have this problem too

Is this a good question?

Score 0


For reference: Samsung 860 EVO spec sheet. Review the 'Interface' line: "SATA 6 Gbps Interface, compatible with SATA 3 Gbps & 1.5 Gbps interfaces"

Which basically stating it has auto sense technology so if you used it in a SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) system it would still work!


The older 2011 models needed a replacement cable as the cable was not able to support SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) which these systems could support once they got their firmware updated.


I have had spotty booting with a SSD on MacBook Pro Mid 2009 15" 5,4. I get the no entry with brief flashes of the apple logo, boot times vary but it does boot. What are my options? I assume it's down to the drive is 6 GB/S and my interface is 3 GB/S. Thanks


Add a comment

2 Answers

Most Helpful Answer

Your 2011 system IS a SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) system! So I have no idea where you got that idea it wasn't! For reference review your systems specs here: MacBook Pro 15" 2.0 GHz i7 (Early 2011) I grabbed the lowest model in the series here as they are all the same. Jump down to 'Storage Interface' where it clearly states 6.0 Gb/s

So lets see if we can figure out why your system is having problems. First you really need the newer SATA cable (2012 model) MacBook Pro 15" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable as its the better cable. Even still I place electricians tape on the uppercase when the cable rests as the rough aluminum surface of the uppercase wears the cable! I also take care not to over do the fold bends as that can fatigue the thin foil pathways of the conductors. Follow this IFIXIT guide: MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Early 2011 Hard Drive/IR Sensor Cable Replacement. I'm sure your cable is damaged or if this is a new cable its defective, needs replacing!

Did you create a bootable OS installer? How to create a bootable macOS Sierra installer drive You'll need to boot up under it and then run Disk Utility to create a GUID Journaled partition. You'll note I gave you the Sierra instructions I don't recommend using High Sierra on SATA based SSD's! Apple still needs to makes fixes for SATA based SSD's If you install High Sierra you'll encounter queueing issues within the Finder.

At one point I maintained over 200 MacBook Pro's all of them had upgraded drives from SSHD's to SSD's (Samsung 840 EVO's) so I can tell you first hand this is a very workable config and I often end up replacing the cable as it does breakdown from all of the abrasion against the uppercase.

MacBook Pro 15" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable Image


MacBook Pro 15" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable


Was this answer helpful?

Score 1


Why do I need the new cable if it already supports 6gbs? I got no problem swapping it out but what would I gain from having the new cable?

I have not installed anything onto my new hard drive, when I took it into the Apple Store they tried installing 10.10.5 and they did not succeed. I have never been able to make it to the installer/disk utility. I have tried booting up my computer off of a time machine, internet recovery, and in the Apple Store with their installation of 10.10.5.

I don't mind installing a new version but I was using 10.10.5 before so I thought it would be best to start from there instead of upgrading.


You mixing things up here. The issue you are facing is a worn cable which has nothing to do with support of SATA III Vs SATA II the older 2010 models had.

Things wear out! In this case is the constant rubbing against the uppercase which is like sandpaper is why I put tape down to help protect the cable. Re-read what I wrote.


Gotcha I will order a new cable just to be safe


So a small update I was able to plug both my new and old hard drive into a Mac through a SATA USB adapter and my old hard drive is "working" I am able to read and write files off of it without any issues so I am not sure why it showed up as failing in the apple store.

Does this point to the internal cable being the most likely suspect?

I still plan on upgrading to a SSD even if my drive works.

Also I already ordered a new cable and it will be here tomorrow.


I would say that just adds weight the cable is bad.


Show 5 more comments

Add a comment

Actually the reason behind your MacBook Pro booting up to a white screen is not at all related to the SATA III SSD.

In fact I've had the same issue and fixed it myself without spending a penny

See the problem is with the GPU in the 2011 MacBook Pro .the GPU is defective due to which the MacBook starts booting up to the white screen

If I'm not wrong I think this is what's happening right now. When you start your MacBook it boots up to an Apple logo and a loading bar pops up below it.

At this point ur entire screen seems to be pixelated like in blocks. Then the bar loads for a while and half way thru it goes to the blank white screen and shuts down. This process repeats itself or its stuck at the white screen indefinitely.

If that's the case then its definitely the problem is with the GPU so watch this video link. It’ll give you great insight into the problem and also shows you how to fix it: 2011 Macbook Pro Dead GPU Reflowing Fix Overview

All you have to do is heat the GPU with a heat gun or blow dryer so that the connections inside the card that have been disconnected reconnect. With this your GPU is as good as new.

Keep in mind this is only a temporary fix.

It'll stay good for a few months or weeks and then you may encounter the same problem again. A permanent fix is that you can disable your GPU permanently and use the internal graphics of the intel CPU and you won't have this again

After doing this and fixing the dead GPU your MacBook Pro will boot up as usual and then you can install your SATA III SSD without a problem

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0


A strong possibility!

But! Lets look at what was being done at the time swapping out the drive and how the system responded "installed it into my computer but when it is starting to boot up I will get about 25-30% through the loading bar and then it goes black for a second and then a white screen."

This looks more like the OS was loading and failed from a SATA cable failure. Its also possible Levi is facing both issues!

Here's a bit more Your Hard Drive Cable Is A Ticking Time Bomb


Add a comment

Add your answer

Levi will be eternally grateful.
View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 3

Past 7 Days: 8

Past 30 Days: 27

All Time: 6,036