There is a widespread perception that installing third-party upgrades can void your warranty. My consulting clients are sometimes hesitant to use non-Apple memory, or 3rd-party hard drives to upgrade their Macs.
In the United States, federal law protects consumers who want to use 3rd-party parts. Upgrading your computer does not void your warranty. You can buy your RAM, hard drive, or other parts from any third party. Likewise, you are not required to use an authorized service provider to install those upgrades.
The law in question is known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Passed in 1975, this federal law prohibits requiring that only branded parts be used. The Federal Trade Commission’s website explains the so-called “tie-in” provision thusly:
Generally, tie-in sales provisions are not allowed. Such a provision would require a purchaser of the warranted product to buy an item or service from a particular company to use with the warranted product in order to be eligible to receive a remedy under the warranty. The following are examples of prohibited tie-in sales provisions.
In order to keep your new Plenum Brand Vacuum Cleaner warranty in effect, you must use genuine Plenum Brand Filter Bags. Failure to have scheduled maintenance performed, at your expense, by the Great American Maintenance Company, Inc., voids this warranty.
So if your Mac or PC is still covered by the original warranty (or an extended warranty like AppleCare), and you want to upgrade your RAM or hard drive, go ahead. Better yet, pay me to do it for you!
Note: If you accidentally damage your logic board when you’re installing an upgrade, that probably will void your warranty. Accidental damage is usually not covered, and it doesn’t matter if the accident was spilling water in your keyboard or breaking a connector while installing a new hard drive. So if you’re not confident about your skills, you’re probably better off paying someone else to handle it for you.
Disclaimer: Magnuson-Moss is a US law, so of course it doesn’t apply outside of the United States. I’m not familiar with warranty laws in other countries.