M3 MacBook Air - Alternative to Apple’s crazy disk prices

Have you tried Maestral?

You lose the right clicking in Finder to easily share Dropbox stuff (which is absolutely significant for many!) and probably more - but you gain a much leaner Dropbox client, that can put your Dropbox folder on an external drive.

No. I don’t like unsupported/unofficial software for something as mission critical as my data and files and the guys on ATP first sung its praise but later they said they had some glitches with it.

I understand the philosophical complaint about the official DropBox client app being a memory/cpu hog, but in my use, I’ve never noticed any problem with it so really don’t care about how ugly it may be under the hood - it’s been rock-solid reliable for syncing and doing what I need it to do.


1 Like

I think my point still stands. The Air is targeted towards college students and average users. If you want 8TB of SSD storage on your laptop, you’re definitely an edge case.

My sympathies about the cloud storage stuff though, that sounds like a real pain in the ass.

I found a variation of this (i.e. gaffer tape) to be an acceptable solution. I never travel with a laptop so I use the drive with both my Mac and my iPad Pro.

Yeah, I totally get that!

Personally I’ve been struggling with hitting my 16 gb RAM ceiling - so it was nice to get some of it back by going to Maestral. I also use it on my band’s studio Mac Mini, so that we can keep the Logic files (that are on Dropbox as well) on a Thunderbolt drive.

But yeah, Apple has to stop the thing we’re they do stuff, for (sometimes legitimate) security reasons, that just happens to benefit themselves in some way. For instance by making Apple’s own services more compelling by comparison since the change makes their competitor’s worse, or making it harder to live with a lower storage option…

Reminds me of this excellent post (“What if password managers were never allowed on iOS?”) that I think I’ll link to many times in the future.


I’d suggest that password managers being native has actually given keychain the push to become quite good. It now has shared folders which makes it viable for a much larger group of people than the previous iteration.

1 Like

Apple Photos will complain that it cannot find the library and display an error dialog. You will need to plug the external device and launch Photos again.

Mind you I do not recommend storing your System Photo Library (the one that integrates with iCloud Photos) in an external device. When Photos is not running, macOS keeps running background services against the Photo Library (photoanalysisd and stuff like that). So you may not be able to safely unmount the drive even if Photos is closed. If it also happens that the drive is connected through an external display USB hub, and the display goes to energy save mode, the ssd device will suffer power loss and the System Photo Library will become corrupted even if Photos wasn’t running. Not catastrophic as everything would be in iCloud but downloading everything again is very inconvenient.


Yeah that’s what I was afraid of, sounds like it’s not worth it.

I did this for two years with 1TB M1 MBP. I never used my photo library. I’m now running an M3Max with 4TB of SSD.

Another caution, external disk can’t be used for cloud storage Dropbox, iCloud etc.

I finally solved it by using a Sateshi Dock for my Mac Mini and now the hub is always connected via TB to the Mini and I don’t get the sudden disconnections when the monitor goes to sleep so my iCloud Photo Library (and Thunderbird downloaded emails) are happily stored in a 2TB external drive. It gets a little warm to the touch, though so I will be keep an eye on it during the spanish summer.

Sadly the model I got only supports M2 SATA SSDs, it seems that newer models also support NVMe which would be more future-proof.

No problem with Photos, because I don’t use it for those that come from my “real camera”. They are ingested directly to Lightroom, which copies them off the card (leaving the card as a backup).

But… if the T7 is not connected, Lightroom won’t complain much. I could import my photos to a folder on the local drive (a benefit over using Photos) but then I would need to move them again later. So much easier if everything is local all the time.

I’m not sure I could bring myself to do that. It strikes me as problematic for travel, too. I’d be afraid of breaking the cable or connectors or both. Plus it ties up a port — something of a premium with a 2 port laptop currently.

Fair point. I’ve only ever owned devices that use SD in some version or other. I agree Apple will never add anything else because SD has been so dominant for all kinds of recording devices. I’ve had DSLRs, camcorders, and audio recorders which all use a version of SD.

I had this thread in mind when I yesterday stumbled upon this video:

It is from a YouTube channel that basically constantly is publishing “upgrade” videos of things I consider being impossible to do in order to get some attention. (It is a YouTube channel from a chinese company that apparently is in the business of supplying parts like replacement batteries for laptops.) And yes, it is impossible to do for me (and for most of us, I think). But, still… Interesting to see how components on Apple’s mainboards are being glued to, soldered, screwed together and what not.

If you are intending to waste a few minutes of your time: the video shows how the SSD on board could be replaced with a higher capacity one, if you have the tools, the replacement parts and the skills (and maybe the courage)… :slight_smile:


Amazing and scary in equal parts.

1 Like

In the video above, he’s placing two chips, presumably SSD, on a metal plate and then pour some liquid over it. But, where is the contact point? Maybe I’m not familiar with modern electronic engineering but I’d imagine it’s like a CPU with many pins. There’s no pins that I can see here!

All those little dots are apparently the contact points. I upgraded/repaired a handful of pc/mac laptops over the years and wouldn’t think of trying that upgrade.

That sounds flimsy. I am not sure how there’s no data loss on a laptop, which will see rough usage. No wonder he took so long to take them off.

1 Like

You’d need to discuss that with Apple. But I’ve never heard “thin and light” and “rough usage” used to describe the same device.