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Apple Promotes New T2-Equipped Apple Data Recovery Process

October 4, 2018

Recently released internal documents from Apple show a new data recovery process for Macs equipped with the company’s T2 chip (specifically, the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro). The new process was necessitated by the T2 chip’s additional security features, one of which is a hardware encryption for SSD storage that’s not compatible with the data recovery methods Apple used for previous models.

As we discussed back in July, Apple’s 2018 MacBook Pro featured a few significant changes, one of which was the removal of a small proprietary port used to extract data from the SSD in recovery scenarios. At the time, a teardown by iFixIt led many to believe that the changes in the new models would make data on the SSD “unrecoverable. These new documents, though, make clear that the introduction of the T2 chip required an entirely new data recovery process, making the port unnecessary.

The new process, Apple notes, is to be utilized by repair staff in order to recover data from a customer’s machine when it needs a logic board repair and when the logic board is “partially functional.” The company also mentions that the process requires the system to be able to power on.

According to the document, Apple repair staff will use a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to USB-A or Thunderbolt (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), another host computer, and an external hard drive where the data will be transferred in order to complete the process. Then, the damaged machine can be switched to DFU mode, and the company’s internal diagnostics tool can be used to initiate the data recovery process.

Apple says the tool should take between 10 and 20 minutes to partition the external hard drive, though the data transfer time may take as long as two days, depending on the amount of data to be recovered.

The T2 chip that made the new process necessary provides users with a variety of new and advance security features including a secure boot and encrypted storage, as well integrating several controllers found on other Mac computers. The new security features significantly improve protection against potential security threats.

Notably, as a report revealed last month, the T2 chip provides protection against a newly-discovered cold boot attack to which “almost all” Windows and Mac laptops and desktops are susceptible—including Macs that have FileVault turned on.

As always, we recommend regular data backups on any systems containing crucial data. If you need to recover files from a damaged Macbook (or any other Apple computer, for that matter), contact for a risk-free quote.