Revealed: the MacBook Pro 2016′s soldered-on SSD has a data recovery lifeline

Melissa Riofrio
25 November, 2016
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There’s some help for the MacBook Pro’s maddeningly non-removable, non-upgradable, soldered-on SSD. According to a report from 9to5Mac, Apple has a tool for pulling data off the drive in case of emergency.

The 2016 MacBook Pro is even harder to repair than its predecessor. An iFixIt teardown revealed that the SSD is soldered onto the laptop’s logic board, along with the RAM and the CPU. Even the battery is glued on.

If the SSD on the 2016 MacBook Pro, or the MacBook Pro itself, runs into trouble, Apple’s tool provides a data lifeline. Based on the image provided by 9to5Mac, the logic board is first removed from its laptop. Then, a dedicated port on the board lets the recovery tool transfer data from the SSD to a working MacBook Pro’s drive, via one of its USB-C ports.

Don’t go running to Amazon to buy this tool online. The report from 9to5Mac also seems to indicate that this tool will be used only by Apple support staff to attempt data transfer in case the laptop doesn’t boot. This service is available (9to5Mac says) to users whose laptop is still under warranty or who have an AppleCare service plan.

Why this matters: This recovery tool is a consolation prize. Because the new MacBook Pro’s key components are stuck on the logic board, the failure of any one of those parts could require replacing the entire conglomeration. Now we know how data will be transferred if disaster strikes.

2 Comments

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  1. Jamie says:

    That’s all well and good but you still cannot simply replace the SSD if it fails you have to effectively replace the entire machine which is not only damaging to the pocket but also to the environment on more than one level. There is the cost (both physical and economic) of the replacement part, its manufacture, shipping and storage which are all SUBSTANTIALLY more than that of a replacement component.

    To me this is purely and simply greed on Apple’s part and shows that they no longer care about either their customers or the environment (or their long term customers)

  2. Macworld Australia Staff says:

    The problem is, I think, the use of the term SSD. I think it implies a standard form factor lke a 2.5-inch drive. Apple is not alone in using hard wired storage in their devices. I’d prefer they call is solid state storage and make it clear that it is not really upgradeable.

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