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Reader Question: 2018 MacBook Pro Soldered -On Storage vs Data recovery

Thanks to B&H Photo for making this top-line Apple MacBook Pro available for testing. As this was written B&H Photo was offering it at a $100 discount( $100 e-gift card).

Don H writes:

If the motherboard or RAM fails on a 2018 Macbook, it will be extremely difficult (and expensive, and time-consuming) to recover the data from the soldered-on SSD:

https://tidbits.com/2018/07/24/last-ditch-data-recovery-more-difficult-on-the-2018-macbook-pro/

"Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro laptops have always featured solid-state storage soldered to the logic board, making it impossible to remove for data recovery, as was possible with hard disk drives. For these Macs, Apple enabled last-ditch data recovery through a special port on the logic board, combined with a custom tool for Apple Authorized Service Providers.

Unfortunately, in its teardown, iFixit discovered that the 2018 MacBook Pro models lack that port, and MacRumors learned from internal Apple documents that Apple’s internal Customer Data Migration Tool does not work with these Macs.”

The comments for this entry provide a little more detail. What’s not clear is what happens if your T2 chip fails, which holds all the keys and is non-replacable.

Proper backups, as always, are critical, but are those guaranteed to work in the user’s favor a decade from now? What if a future T2 chip requires end-to-end encryption for backups which themselves become dependent on that same chip?

How many different ways will be locked out from our own data in the future? If I lose the ability to completely *own* my data (including the ability to migrate it to another computer or storage device without restrictions or Internet connectivity) then I will simply stop using computers altogether. More realistically, I will stockpile acceptable computers and tailor my life around their limitations as if we were in a post-apocalyptic environment. They work for me now, and they will continue working for the rest of my lifespan in that same capacity until the hardware dies. If I need Internet connectivity (which I have been narrowing down more and more as time goes on) I will do that on a current ‘disposable’ computer and carefully silo my personal data accordingly.

We’re not at that stage yet, but the trend is pretty ominous.

...

Connecting more dots (I’m in a paranoid mood this morning):

https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/08/04/apple-chip-manufacturer-tsmc-factories-taken-down-by-computer-virus

Ok, so this item is really only about the industrial controls for a production line, but what happens if/when the T2 chip itself becomes compromised with a trojan or other latent malware? Unless the entire process from design to fab is under bullet-proof control with independent auditors reviewing each step, who’s to say the linchpin for our data security can’t be successfully attacked at some point? The NSA itself has been breached at least twice (that we know of) - this isn’t just idle speculation.

DIGLLOYD: it’s not a good trend—disposable Macs is where we stand now. Backup.

2018 MacBook Pro

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