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Dead MacBook and Lost Data

Karl G


It's my blog, so I can whine if I want to, right?


Anyway, my 5-year-old MacBook Pro died suddenly in the middle of using it, and nothing would revive it. I figured I could extract the drive to retrieve my data from it, but apparently 2017 MacBooks and later have the drive chips soldered onto the motherboard, and cannot be removed. I took it to a Mac shop to see if they could save the data, and they were unable to power the board to read the data off of the chips. So, my data is probably still intact, but effectively completely inaccessible. Probably the only way to save it would be to have an identical MacBook, and swap the drive chips from mine to the other one. I neither have the equipment nor the electronics expertise to do something like that. I'll hang onto the MacBook in case another options presents itself, but effectively my data is gone.


While most of the blame for my data loss lies with me for not doing regular backups, I'll put some of the blame on Apple for their crappy design that makes it almost impossible to recover data in a situation like that. I did love my MacBook, but I've decided my replacement would be a Linux laptop.


So, what have I lost? The biggest thing is source code. Lots and lots of source code for projects in various stages of development. The good news is that since I've used git to track changes for my Penult project, I haven't lost that code. If I were to pick one project to save, that would have been the one I picked for certain.


I think I have really learned my lesson this time around, and I will be doing regular backups in the future.

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12 minutes ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Or just don't buy a MacBook. ;) 

Thaaaaanks.  ;-) 


See above though; my replacement is not going to be another MacBook.

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Many 2017 models do still have removable SSDs. The full switchover was 2018. Macbook Air from 2017 and non-touchbar Macbook Pros in 2017 should still have the removable SSD. Lucky you for having the touchbar Pro, as that has been soldered since 2016.


I wonder if Apple will ever reverse their decision on this, as due to the right-to-repair movement they are beginning to offer repair parts to end users and might offer a full line of parts in 2023. I would hope they would listen to the backlash as nobody anywhere ever wants soldered SSDs or RAM on their computer and you aren't the only one to stop buying Apple stuff because of it.



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There are some links in the web which promise to provide tips how to recover data. They all need some kind of power for the board.


But this one is interesting:


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