MacBook White (Mid 2009)

Completely unheralded, Apple quietly updated the MacBook White in late May. The updated model has a 6.5% faster CPU at 2.13 GHz, uses faster RAM (800 MHz vs. 667 MHz), and has a larger hard drive (160 GB) – and for the first time on a MacBook, a 500 GB build-to-order hard drive option.

MacBook White

It retains the FireWire 400 port present on all polycarbonate MacBooks. It retains the Mini DVI port instead of using the Mini DisplayPort found on other Macs. The battery is rated at 4.5 hours, and 2 GB of RAM is standard.

Build-to-order options include more RAM and larger hard drives.

Unlike early MacBooks, where every USB port could provide 500 mA of power, only one USB port provides full power – the port closer to the front.

Although it is not officially supported, the Mid 2009 MacBook can run macOS Sierra using Colin Mistr’s Sierra Patch Tool. See our macOS Sierra page for more details and a link.

Closed Lid Mode: All Intel ‘Books support “lid closed” (or clamshell) mode, which leaves the built-in display off and dedicates all video RAM to an external display. To used closed lid mode, your ‘Book must be plugged into the AC adapter and connected to an external display and a USB or Bluetooth mouse and keyboard (you might also want to consider external speakers). Power up your ‘Book until the desktop appears on the external display and then close the lid. Your ‘Book will go to sleep, but you can wake it by moving the mouse or using the keyboard. The built-in display will remain off, and the external monitor will become your only display. Since all video RAM is now dedicated to the external monitor, you may have more colors available at higher resolutions. The MacBook is designed to run safely in closed lid mode, but if yours runs hot (perhaps due to overclocking or high ambient temperatures), you may want to open the lid when in closed lid mode: The screen will remain off and the computer will more readily vent heat from the CPU.

To resume use of the internal display, you need to disconnect the external display, put the computer to sleep, and then open the lid. This will wake up your ‘Book and restore use of the built-in display.

Intel-based Macs use a partitioning scheme known as GPT. Only Macintel models can boot from GPT hard drives. Both PowerPC and Intel Macs can boot from APM (Apple’s old partitioning scheme) hard drives, which is the format you must use to create a universal boot drive in Leopard. Power PC Macs running any version of the Mac OS prior to 10.4.2 cannot mount GPT volumes. PowerPC Macs won’t let you install OS X to a USB drive or choose it as your startup volume, although there is a work around for that.


  • introduced 2009.05.26 at US$999; replaced by Unibody MacBook 2009.10.20
  • Part no.: MC240
  • ID: MacBook5,2

Mac OS

  • requires Mac OS X 10.5.7 Leopard through 10.11 El Capitan, macOS Sierra via patch tool – see macOS Sierra on Low End Macs. Broadcom BCM4321 WiFi module, if present, is not supported by Sierra. Sierra sees the trackpad as a standard mouse and will not change the trackpad orientation setting. macOS 10.4 Mojave and later are not supported.
  • Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard compatibility
    • Grand Central Dispatch is supported.
    • 32-bit booting only; cannot boot 64-bit OS.
    • 64-bit software is supported.
    • OpenCL is supported.
  • Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion compatibility
    • AirPlay Mirroring is not supported.
    • AirDrop is supported.
    • Power Nap is not supported

Core System

  • CPU: 2.13 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (Penryn), soldered in place, no upgrade options
  • Level 2 cache: 3 MB shared cache
  • Bus: 1066 MHz
  • RAM: 2 GB (using matched modules), expandable to 6 GB using 800 MHz DDR2 RAM
  • performance, Speedmark 5: n/a (previous version scored 186)
  • performance, Geekbench: 2904 (previous version scored 2708)
  • performance, Xbench 1.3 (2.0 GHz MacBook White in parentheses)
    • overall: n/a (98.74)
    • CPU: n/a (106.62)
    • memory: n/a (146.81)
    • Quartz graphics: n/a (127.20)
    • OpenGL graphics: n/a (115.26)
    • Hard drive: n/a (37.03)


  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 9400M with resolution to 1920 x 1200 on external display (mini-DVI port), supports extended desktop.
  • VRAM: uses 256 MB of system memory, very likely uses 16 MB more with an external display (MacBook Pro and MacBook Air with same GPU work that way)
  • Video out: DVI standard, VGA and S-video with optional adapter
  • display: 13.3″ glossy 1280 x 800 18-bit 113 ppi color active matrix
  • supports 1280 x 800, 1152 x 720, 1024 x 768, 1024 x 640, and 800 x 500 pixels at 16:10 aspect ratio; 1024 x 768, 800 x 600, and 640 x 480 pixels at 4:3 aspect ratio; 720 x 480 at 3:2 aspect ratio
  • allows mirroring to external display and extended desktop mode


  • Hard drive: 160 GB 5400 rpm SATA, 250, 320, and 500 GB optional
  • SuperDrive: writes DVD±R at up to 8x, DVD±RW and DVD+R DL at 4x, reads DVDs at 8x, writes CD-R at 24x, writes CD-RW at 10x, reads CDs at 24x


  • USB: 2 USB 2.0 ports, only 1 high-powered device device allowed
  • FireWire 400: 1 port
  • FireWire 800: none
  • Ethernet: 10/100/gigabit
  • WiFi: 802.11n AirPort Extreme built in
  • Bluetooth: BT 2.1+EDR
  • IR receiver: supports Apple Remote
  • Modem: No longer offered by Apple
  • ExpressCard/34 slots: 0


  • size: 8.92 x 12.78 x 1.08″ (227 x 325 x 27.5 mm)
  • Weight: 5.0 pounds (2.27 kg)
  • battery: 55 Watt-hour
  • AC adapter: 60W MagSafe

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