Apple SSD Drive Data Transfer GuideTransferring or cloning your Mac's data onto a new SSD drive requires a bit of forethought before your SSD purchase. Very few solid-state drives provide the convenience of a built-in mini USB port that could ease data migration. You'll likely need additional hardware for formatting, cloning, and testing the SSD before you perform the drive swap.
ThunderBolt SSD EnclosureThe absolute fastest way to transfer data onto a Mac is with ThunderBolt interface. At this point there are no stand-alone ThunderBolt drive enclosures on the market. A good alternative though is using a Seagate Thunderbolt Adapter that's ideal for 2.5" laptop SSD drives. Though not technically an 'enclosure', the standard protable hard drive dock features a standard SATA connector for 2.5" drives. Just push the drive onto the SATA connector and you're ready to go. (Note, a ThunderBolt cable is sold separately!)
SATA 2.5" ThunderBolt Dock
TBolt Cable NOT Included
USB 3.0 SSD Docking StationsAlternately there's a growing number of SuperSpeed USB 3.0 drive docks that are a forward-thinking way to help migrate your data onto a SSD. Often costing only $15-$30 they're a cheap solution for a Mac SSD drive swap, and the dock can be repurposed and used with your old mechanical mechanism for a Mac backup drive after the SSD upgrade to your MacBook, iMac, Mac mini, or Macintosh Pro is complete.
USB 3.0 SATA Drive Dock
2.5" & 3.5" Drives
Note that even if you have an older Mac, USB 3.0 is BACKWARD COMPATIBLE with USB 2.0 ports. So you can use a USB 3.0 case regardless - and be ready for the USB 3.0 SuperSpeed future.
USB 3.0 Transfer CablesAnother excellent piece of hardware than can help with an Apple SSD drive upgrade is a Universal transfer cable with SATA (and IDE) interfaces for both full-size and laptop drives and devices. Again, your money's best spent on a USB 3.0 - and NOT an older USB 2.0 model to make sure the Mac transfer onto SSD goes as fast as possible - with an eye towards usability in the future.
USB 3 Transfer Cable
Laptop SATA Dual-Interface Drive CasesMore versatile - and faster than a simple USB 2.0 laptop disk enclosure - This dual-interface USB 3.0 + FireWire 800 bus powered portable 2.5" SATA drive case might be the right solution for some users.
Combo Drive Interface Case
USB 3.0 + Dual FireWire 800
ICY-DOCK Full-Size 3.5" SSD Adapter For iMac or Mac ProFor Mac SSD upgrades in models with a standard, full-size 3.5 hard drive, the most elegant solution is a $20 IcyDock converter. Simply open the lid, plop in a 2.5" SATA SSD and close it! It's now ready to perform an SSD upgrade in a Mac Pro or iMac. It has standard 3.5 screw mounting holes for the guide screws or grommets.
Laptop to 3.5" SSD Converter
No Tools Needed!
3.5" SSD Combo CasesIf you're doing a solid-state drive upgrade in a Mac Pro or iMac, you may want to repurpose the old drive as a backup solution for use with TimeMachine or as an auxillary storage drive. Here a combo interface 3.5" full-size drive enclosure may come in handy. Check out this state of the art full-size drive case with not only USB 3.0, daisy-chain dual FireWire 800 ports - but an eSATA connection as well:
Combo Drive Case For Mac
eSATA, FireWire, USB 3.0 Ports