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Updating a 2012 MacBook Pro

Planted 02020-07-18

I recently picked up a 2012 13” MacBook Pro from a coworker. Why, would I take a 2012 MacBook Pro when I already own a 15” 2018 MacBook Pro?

Because newer does not equate to better. Starting in 2015, Apple introduced the butterfly keyboard. It got its name from the mechanical switches that gave it a slimmer profile.

The profile is so slim, it feels like the keys are repelling your fingers, and after a while, it gets almost painful to type.

And many people have issues with letters doubling or dropping with butterfly keys. A 15-inch MacBook Pro is pleasant to work on at a desk. But the moment you want to work outside of an office, it’s simply too big.

The other big caveat: Macs are expensive, and I messed up. I opted for the 250 GB SSD thinking I would get by just fine with external drives. That wasn’t very smart.

Enter the 2012 MacBook Pro. An absolute beast. The latest macOS still supports it even though it was released almost more than a decade ago. The first unsupported macOS release for the 2012 MacBook Pro will be the release of Big Sur.

The 2012 MacBook Pro is home to a simpler time. It has space inside offering customizability that modern Macs don’t offer anymore. This customizability also lets you repair parts for cheaper and more comfortably. The 13.3-inch (1280 x 800) screen is old but not worse. It’s softer on the eyes, without feeling pixellated.

The keyboard—oh the keyboard. With the 2020 launch of the 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌, 13-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌, and 13-inch ‌MacBook Air‌, Apple no longer uses the ‌butterfly keyboard. I haven’t tried out the new scissor mechanism, but I don’t have to.

The 2012 MacBook Pro feels fantastic. It makes me want to type instead of repelling me. Isn’t older technology slower, though? When I first picked up the 2012 MacBook Pro, it was running OS X Mavericks. And it was fast. I upgraded to macOS Catalina and not so much.

But that’s not a problem. It’s super easy to fix.

I received the 2012 MacBook Pro with 4GB of RAM and 500GB HDD.

I upgraded it to 16GB of RAM and 1TB SSD. And it’s quick again.

The hardest part? Creating a boot drive on my 2018 MacBook Pro. Instead of 4 USB-C ports, the 2012 MacBook Pro has:

  • MagSafe power port
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • FireWire 800 port (up to 800 Mbps)
  • Two USB 3 ports (up to 5 Gbps)
  • Thunderbolt port (up to 10 Gbps)
  • Headphone port
  • SDXC card slot
  • Kensington lock slot
  • 8x SuperDrive (Disks!)
    See all specifications

There are so many lovely things about this computer, from hearing the disk drive spin upon boot to the side’s battery indicator lights.

I miss things like this. Coming to you from my new 2012 MacBook Pro.