Engineers in China have successfully been able to expand the RAM and storage on M1 Macs. Despite M1 integrating the processor, I/O, security, memory, and graphics on a single chip, engineers with a soldering iron, DRAM memory chips, and NAND flash storage chips have been able to replace the existing modules on the chip to upgrade them.
Unofficial method shows that upgrading RAM and storage on M1 Mac is possible
The process involves carefully desoldering the DRAM memory and NAND storage, and replacing them with higher capacity components. However, the catch is that these components are not usually available for purchase for the average consumer. The process was carried out by Chinese maintenance engineers, as per DuanRui on Twitter. As per the tweet, the upgrade process was carried out on an M1 MacBook Air. The memory was increased from 8GB to 16GB, while the storage capacity was increased from 256GB to 1TB.
Chinese maintenance engineers can already expand the capacity of the Apple M1. The 8GB memory has been expanded to 16GB, and the 256GB hard drive has been expanded to 1TB. pic.twitter.com/2Fyf8AZfJR
— DuanRui (@duanrui1205) April 4, 2021
For those wondering, it seems that replacing the RAM and storage modules did not cause any issues with the security features in the M1 chip. These security features are also part of the T1 chip in Intel Macs and have been known to sometimes cause problems with component upgrades.
Apple sells M1 Macs with specific storage and memory capacities, without any user-upgradable option, similar to how it sold Intel Macs. Intel Macs also required some knowledge of soldering and access to particular The new M1 Macs have a unified memory architecture, which means that the RAM is shared between the entire system, including the graphics chip.
If you have access to a soldering station, and compatible DRAM and NAND modules, you can read further details on the upgrade process here. However, it goes without saying that doing so will void your M1 Mac warranty, and there is a high possibility that something could go wrong and you might end up with a non-working product.