Data recovery on an Apple Macbook Pro Touch Bar with liquid damage – January 2019


Apple is always ahead of the game when it comes to innovation. Over the years their Macbook models have impressed us with their design and performance. In order to make a thinner design possible along with faster data read and write speeds, they have had to develop hard drives that meet this requirement. Go back a few years and Macbook and Macbook Pro laptops used normal, spinning hard drives. SSD technology became the new norm and Apple, instead of using what was available to the rest of us, designed their own range of SSD interfaces. These SSDs were not made by Apple, but rather by Samsung, Toshiba etc. Either way, the connectors were proprietary Mac designs. Below is an idea of the variations we’ve had:


Things continue to evolve in the Macbook space and now, for certain models, the hard drive is soldered onto the mainboard of the Macbook itself. This 2016 Macbook Pro Touch Bar model A1706 is a culprit, having no removable SSD. This client’s Macbook Pro suffered a coffee spill which rendered the machine dead. It wouldn’t turn on or even charge. If it were an earlier model we could remove the SSD, test it and recover the data by using the relevant adapter. That’s not the case with this model. However, a tool does exist which allows us to bypass the mainboard and access the hard drive separately.



We bypass the rest of the Macbook Pro completely, tap into a special port on the mainboard that connects directly to the internal storage. We do this through a host Mac over Thunderbolt 3. The host Mac, in this case a Mac Mini, allows us to mount the Macbook Pro’s hard drive and recover the data.



For this example, we are choosing to recover the entire drive, not just user data, by using the restore function in disk utility. In just under an hour we’ve got a successful recovery of a liquid damaged Macbook Pro with data copied to a new external drive for the client to collect.
















Do you want to see some more interesting data recovery articles? Have a look here.



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