Keep receipts and old RAM when upgrading

RAMIconXDo you have a Mac that supports full RAM upgrades, and are you considering replacing your Apple-supplied RAM? If so, then there are many reputable third-party companies that offer quality RAM upgrades for your Mac; however, be sure to keep your old Apple-supplied RAM modules. In addition, be sure to keep all receipts for your new RAM.

In many Macs (especially laptops), when you upgrade your RAM you might have to replace your current RAM modules, instead of adding to them. When you do so, since you will not be using the old RAM you remove, you might be considering simply throwing it out. Alternatively, some companies offer buy-back or trade-in programs for your RAM, giving you as much as $40 for an old pair of 4GB modules.

While these options might seem reasonable, there are a couple of reasons you should consider keeping your old RAM instead:

  1. Apple will only provide warranty service on systems with original Apple-provided RAM in them. Therefore, if your Mac is still under warranty and needs servicing, to get this done by Apple you will have to swap out the new RAM with the old RAM.
  2. Generally if RAM is bad, then it is bad out the factory door and was only able to get past the factory’s quality tests; however, even though rare, good RAM can sometimes go bad with time and use. In these cases, you might experience a perfectly working system for a month, a year, or longer, and then begin to notice telltale signs of bad RAM: hard freezes, random application crashes, severe slow-downs accompanied by system logs that mention memory addresses, and data corruption.

For both of these reasons, having your old RAM around can be a lifesaver, especially if your RAM upgrade is showing problems. The ability to simply swap out the new RAM with the old can either get you up and running (albeit with less capacity), or allow you to get your Mac serviced properly.

Finally, having kept the original proof of purchase and packaging, if the new RAM is bad then you can contact the manufacturer and be able to fulfill most RAM warranties, which are at least lifetime replacement warranties. This can save you a good $150 for the price of a 16GB RAM upgrade in today’s market.

6 thoughts on “Keep receipts and old RAM when upgrading

  1. Greg

    Yeah, it’s good to have the old ram to test the ram if you suspect the upgraded ram is causing issues. I think apple will still fix your mac under AppleCare if you have 3rd party ram, they just won’t give you replacement memory (if the upgraded memory is bad) if the original ram is not installed when you bring it in.

  2. MaX

    Which is the best way to test the RAM? I mean, as much as possible of it, and even 100% of it, if possible.For instance, I know that memtest is better than a GUI for it like Rember because the latter needs some RAM for its GUI, and therefore tests less RAM. But is there a way to check 100% of RAM? Maybe switching used RAM in test 1 to test it in teste 2? How?

    1. Topher Kessler Post author

      Apple’s included hardware test and using Rember on a minimal boot volume are best. If your RAM modules can be swapped or otherwise moved around, then do so and run the tests again to ensure all address spaces are accessed.

      1. MaX

        Thanks. So, I understand that there is no method to test 100% of RAM when it is not physically accesible (to swap modules) or soldered (as in MacBook Air). In theory there could be a method in which an application rotates the checked modules…

  3. David Sewell

    I work for an Apple Authorized Service Provider In Dallas TX, this article is a little misleading,

    1. If the issues has nothing to do with the RAM then them we do the repair, now the Apple warranty will not cover the 3rd party RAM as part of the warranty repair, so make sure you buy good quality RAM. All the RAM upgrades we sell in our office come from a custom manufacturer and has a Lifetime warranty.

    2. If you’ve ever heard that you must use OEM memory to maintain your warranty, then you’ve encountered the biggest myth / lie in the computer industry. Since 1975, U.S. law has made it illegal to require purchasers to buy accessories from the original manufacturer to maintain their warranty (with some very limited exceptions). Popularly known as the Magnuson-Moss Act (after the two sponsors in Congress), the Act is designed to prevent manufacturers from over-reaching by “tying in” support and preventing consumers from having economical choices for upgrades.

    3. Don’t go to the Apple Store, I would recommend going to a Local Apple Dealer, where you will get much better and personal service.

    1. Topher Kessler Post author

      Apple’s hardware warranty can be found here:

      I’ll leave the legal interpretation up to others, but it does say Apple is not responsible for damage imposed by third-party hardware add-ons, and I know first-hand of people having had service denied when RAM upgrades from OWC were found installed at Apple stores, where techs claimed they could not say the problem was from Apple’s hardware while upgrades were in the system.

      Perhaps these were errors on the technicians’ part, but it is something that may happen, so instead of fighting with folks it may be best to simply hang onto the original modules and swap them out if the system needs to be brought in.

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