Why you should consider buying a MacBook Pro with higher SSD storage or not buying it at all

Back in late 2016 when I was about to buy the shiny new MBP, I opted for the 256 GB variant.

My intention was to use the internal SSD for the system and the apps, while storing all my user-files on an external drive.

I used a similar approach previously, when I had my iMac late 2012, which I upgraded with an SSD drive, while still keeping the HD inside and mounting it as my home directory. Being a long-time Windows user, who had to deal with lost data due to missing backups, I considered this to be an ideal solution for setting up a system, that can easily be recovered in case something breaks down — which thankfully never happened ;-)

You can change the home directory in System Preferences -> Users & Groups, right click the user and select “Advanced Options” — you have to unlock this setting in the bottom left corner first

After setting up my fresh new MBP, I quickly found out, that the approach of mounting the home directory to an external drive, was a bad idea. And yes, I know: I should’ve kept in mind, that I’m dealing with an portable machine now, and that re-plugging external hard-drives will become a pain in the a** — but hey, we all learn from our mistakes, right?

So I set everything back as it was before and only stored my project-files, photos, videos etc on the external SSD. I thought I can live with that, having this stuff stored externally, and knowing that I should be able to access it reliably each time I need it. — As it turned out, this wasn’t the case.

Which brings me to my main point of this story, or let’s say my next big mistake:

I opted for an MBP late 2016 with 256GB of storage to save money!

It’s now over a year since I use it as my daily machine for work, and I’d be lying if I wouldn’t admit, that I had more struggles than I ever had with any Mac before (iMac late 2012, MBP…etc.)

Besides the usual flaws I had with my shiny new machine, and I’m sure you’ve heard of most of them:

  • loosing fingerprint on Touch ID

There’s one major issue that really annoys my daily workflow — and it’s this little notification, which pops up a bunch of times, depending on how many external drives (or partitions/volumes) you have connected.

Some notifications disturbing my workflow!

Yes… the system keeps ejecting all my external drives, during my workflow.

One can imagine how annoying this really is, especially when you’re in the middle of a project, which uses files that are located on an external drive. As a web developer, using Docker, this is not reliable at all.

Additionally I have another hard drive which serves as a TimeMachine backup. Right now, I’m afraid, that all these “re-pluggings” may corrupt some backed up data, which I might rely on in the future. — Only God knows, and maybe the guys at Apple.

Well, with that being said:

If you expect to store more than 256GB of data, which you’ll need for your every-day-usage, like project-files, photos, videos, etc… go at least for the 512GB option or maybe a bigger one, if you want to be on the safe side. And if you think that this might be too expensive for you, well then, don’t buy a MacBook Pro at all.

Unfortunately, I had to learn it the hard way, so therefore I’m sharing my experience with you, saving you from making the same mistake I did.

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Digital Entrepreneur & Developer. Based in Vienna/Austria.

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Adis Durakovic

Adis Durakovic

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Digital Entrepreneur & Developer. Based in Vienna/Austria.