What Is Flash Storage on MacBook Air & Pro?

We used to be more concerned about the storage space we would need for our computers. But we moved on, and storage configuration types have now become an important thing to consider.

One of today’s popular storage configuration types is the flash storage drive type. If you have a flash storage drive on your MacBook Air or Pro and want to learn more about it, then you are in the right place.

We will take an in-depth look at this storage drive and help you understand how it affects your MacBook’s performance.

What Is Flash Storage on MacBook Air & Pro?

Flash storage is a solid-state technology that uses flash memory chips for writing and storing data. The flash storage on MacBook Air & Pro can also be referred to as a solid-state drive but in a different form.

Regular SSDs combine a Flash memory with a standard 1.8-inch or 2.5-inch hard drive enclosure. On the other hand, the MacBook Air & Pro flash storage consists of just a Flash memory fixed to the motherboard.

This allows Apple to conserve enough space to maintain a slim form factor on the MacBook Air & Pro.

Unlike traditional hard drives, flash storage doesn’t have mechanical parts. In other words, it has no moving parts, making it a good fit for storage in compact and mobile technology.

The flash storage disk is less prone to damage, boots faster, has lower access times, and is very quiet.

Is Flash Storage Good? Key Benefits/Advantages We Love

Yes, flash storage is good. It is faster than traditional Hard disk storage, consumes less power, and offers data protection functions.

On a quick note of comparison, a SATA flash drive requires just 50% of the power a Hard Disk Drive would need to function perfectly.

Key benefits/advantages we love about the Flash storage

  1. It is durable and secure: Since the flash storage has no moving mechanical parts, it is not as susceptible to damage as the regular hard disk drives. This makes it more secure to use flash storage for storing data.
  2. It consumes less energy: Flash storage helps conserve battery life because it barely consumes energy. Their lack of moving parts makes them require only little energy to function.
  3. Flash storage generates less heat than regular hard disk storage: Once again, the flash storage’s lack of moving parts helps it create little to no heat.

On the other hand, regular storage drives like HDDs have constantly spinning disks that cause them to generate more heat.

  1. Faster storage speeds: Flash storage is known to be incredibly fast. They generally have faster read and write speeds compared to older storage types.

What Are the Disadvantages of Flash Memory?

Below are some of the disadvantages of flash memory.

  1. They are expensive: Based on a price per gigabyte analysis, flash memory storage is usually more expensive than regular hard disk storage.

A significant reason is that flash memory storage is more expensive to manufacture compared to traditional hard disk drives.

  1. Although flash memory storages are more durable than traditional hard disk drives, they do not last forever. The higher voltages travel across their transistors, their lifetime decreases.
  2. Most flash memories barely have large storage capacities.
  3. They are not resistant to malware: If you are not careful, your flash memory storage can develop issues due to malware.

How to Clear and Free Up Flash Storage on Mac

Here are some ways to clear and free up the flash storage on your Mac.

  1. Delete media files like movies, music, and regular videos that may consume a lot of space on your Mac’s flash storage.
  2. Delete apps you no longer use:

If you are unsure how to delete apps you no longer use, here is a quick way to do that.

  • STEP 1: Go to “Finder” and select “Applications
  • STEP 2: Pick an app you no longer use and drag it to the “Trash

Here is another quick way for you to delete a useless app

  • STEP 1: Open “Launchpad
  • STEP 2: Click and hold the app’s icon
  • STEP 3: Click the X symbol that appears on top of the app
  1. Empty your Trash can:

The Trash on a Mac is similar to what we have as the “Recycle Bin” on Windows computers. Whenever you delete files, they are usually moved to the trash can just in case you change your mind and decide to retrieve them.

You will need to empty your trash can to remove such files. To empty your trash can, place your cursor on the Trash icon at the bottom-right corner of the dock and Ctrl-click or right-click on it. 

Then, select “Empty Trash.”

  1. ZIP or compress your files: If you want to free up space on the flash storage on your Mac, you can compress your large files.
  2. Store your files on iCloud: Storing your files on Apple’s cloud storage service will help you save space on your computer.

Follow these steps to store your files on iCloud.

  • STEP 1: Click the Apple icon at the top-left of your screen
  • STEP 2: Select “About This Mac
  • STEP 3: Click on the “Storage” tab
  • STEP 4: Select “Manage
  • STEP 5: Click on “Store in iCloud
  • STEP 7: In the pop-up menu, click on the types of files you want to store in iCloud.
  • STEP 8: When you are done, click on “Store in iCloud
  1. Delete the files you don’t need from your “Downloads” folder.
  2. Delete emails you no longer need from your Mail app.

How to Upgrade Mac Flash Storage

Before we go further to talk about how to upgrade the flash storage on Macs, you should know that you can’t upgrade all MacBook flash storage. This is because Apple’s manufacturing process doesn’t give room for possible upgrades.

Fortunately, you can still upgrade the flash storage on the Macs we’ve listed below:

  • MacBook Pro non-Retina up to late 2016
  • MacBook Pro Retina up to 2015
  • MacBook up to 2010
  • MacBook Air up to 2017

To upgrade the flash storage on your Mac, you must first confirm if it is SATA based or PCIe based. If your MacBook has a SATA-based flash storage module, you can use the Transcend JetDrive upgrade method.

If the flash storage on your MacBook is PCIe based, you can use Other World Computing’s Aura kit.

Transcend JetDrive

The JetDrive from Transcend is a viable option for upgrading your SATA-based flash storage. The JetDrive provides up to 960 GB storage upgrade variants.

However, the upgrade size you can get depends on your MacBook’s model. Below is an outline of the Transcend JetDrive’s configurations for each MacBook model it supports:

  • JetDrive 500 supports Late-2010 to Mid-2011 MacBook Air 11″ & 13.”
  • JetDrive 520 supports the Mid-2012 MacBook Air 11″ & 13.”
  • JetDrive 720 supports Late-2012 to Early-2013 Retina MacBook Pro 13.”
  • JetDrive 725 supports Mid-2012 to Early-2013 Retina MacBook Pro 15.”

The JetDrive will come with an additional external enclosure with which you can keep your MacBook’s original flash drive secure. In addition, you can use the enclosure case to convert your MacBook’s actual flash storage into a portable thumb drive.

Since the external case is built to be compatible with USB 3.0, you also get a USB 3.0 cable that can help you achieve a fast read-write experience.

Other World Computing (OWC) Aura

If your MacBook uses PCIe-based flash storage, you can upgrade it with the OWC Aura.

The OWC Aura comes with a kit that consists of the Aura SSD and an external casing for your original storage disk known as the Envoy Pro. It also contains a USB 3.0 cable and a screwdriver.

You can refer to the free installation guides and videos if you want to use the OWC Aura kit.

Is SSD and Flash Storage the Same? – Key Differences and Similarities

SSD and flash storage are two closely related technologies. However, they are not the same thing.

Experts usually use a common analogy to explain the relationship between the two. To help you understand clearly, we will use the same analogy, but very simply.

The relationship between the two technologies can be likened to that of eggs and an omelet. In this context, the eggs would be the flash storage, while the SSD would be the omelet.

In the same way, an omelet is prepared primarily using eggs; the SSD is mainly built with flash storage. Similarly, just like you can use eggs to make many other things, you can use flash storage to create different things aside from SSDs.

Lastly, in the same way, you can make an omelet without eggs, you can build an SSD storage without the flash storage.

Similarities Between SSD and Flash Storage

  1. They are both faster than HDDs.
  2. They both do not have moving parts like HDDs.
  3. Both flash storages and SSDs are forms of non-volatile memory. They can retain any information saved to them even after you shut down your computer.
  4. They are both easily rewriteable.

Key Differences Between SSD and Flash Storage

  1. The SSD and flash storage are very different in terms of form or type. Types of flash storage include Storage array, SSD flash drive, All-flash array, NVMe storage, Hybrid flash storage, and Hard drive storage.

Meanwhile, types of SSD include SATA SSD, PCIe SSD, M.2 SSD, U.2 SSD, and NVMe SSD

  1. SSDs have a longer lifespan than flash storage memory.
  2. You can use flash storage for many other purposes. For example, gadgets like phones, laptops, digital cameras, memory cards, and USB memory sticks all use flash memory.

On the other hand, only computers and laptops use SSDs.

  1. Flash storage is more expensive than SSD

Which Is Better, Hard Drive or Flash Storage?

Flash storage drives are better than Hard drives. For instance, flash storage drives consume much less power than HDDs and have much faster read/write speeds.

An average HDD doesn’t produce speeds faster than 120 MB/s. Meanwhile, many Flash drives can reach read/write speeds of 500 MB/s and above.

Read also: How to Create an INI File on Windows, Mac, and Android

How to Increase Storage on MacBook Pro – Tips and Things You Need to Be Able to Save More on Your Mac

Below is a general guide on how to increase storage on your MacBook.

  • STEP 1: Go to the “Apple menu” and click on “About This Mac
  • STEP 2: Click on “Storage.” It will display segments representing several categories of files.
  • STEP 3: Click the “Manage” button to open the storage management window.
  • STEP 4: Optimize your storage space by choosing from features such as “Store in iCloud,” “Optimize Storage,” and “Reduce Clutter

Below are some other ways for you to increase the storage on your MacBook Pro:

  • Delete the media files you no longer need. Your media files include movies, videos, music, and pictures.
  • Delete files that are no longer useful from your “Downloads” folder
  • Delete junk emails from your Mail app
  • Uninstall apps that you don’t use anymore
  • Compress your large files into a Zip folder
  • Store some of your files externally. For example, you can store them on iCloud Drive or keep them on an external drive connected to your Mac.


We hope this article has been able to help you understand what the flash storage on your MacBook is.

As a last piece of information, we would like to share that whenever you want to get a new laptop, always ensure you get the most storage you can afford. You will discover that it is always a good investment over time.