MacMost Q&A Forum • View All Forum QuestionsAsk a Question

Is It Possible To Use a USB Thumb Drive As a Substitute SSD?

I have an older MacBook Pro (2012) with a hard drive. USB Drives with high capacity are reasonably priced now, so I was wondering if it was practical or even possible to buy a 256 or 512 GB thumb drive, plug it into the side on my MBPro, then boot up and operate using it instead of the built-in hard drive. If so, exactly HOW would I go about doing that? Thank you.

Comments: One Response to “Is It Possible To Use a USB Thumb Drive As a Substitute SSD?”

    2 years ago

    There’s actually a big difference. I have used a Flash drive to install macOS so I can boot from it and experiment without affecting the regular drive on the Mac. It is very slow for two reasons. First, the speed of Flash drives is typically slower than SSDs. Second, you are connected via USB3 connection, which is quite a bottleneck too. That effects external SSD drives as well.

    I wouldn’t try to operate a Mac booted from an external USB3 drive unless it was a temporary emergency situation, or a test of some sort.

    If you wanted to do it anyway, it is just a matter of booting into Recovery mode. Then selecting that external drive as the drive to install macOS on. Then hold down Option when you boot to choose that drive as the one to use.

Comments Closed.