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Digital Trends: If you own a 2018 MacBook Pro, you will want to maintain data backups

Originally published by Digital Trends
By Chuong Nguyen

If you recently purchased one of Apple’s refreshed 2018 MacBook Pro models, you’ll want to maintain backups of your files. Unlike previous models, if the logic board fails on your laptop, there is no way for Apple and its service technicians to access the solid-state drive and recover the contents stored on the system.

On older 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar, Apple had a special tool that could be used to transfer data in the event of a logic board failure. The tool connects to a special data recovery port on the MacBook Pro with a failed logic board to extract the data stored on the system’s solid-state drive. It can also plug into the USB-C port on a new MacBook Pro with a functional logic board to restore the extracted data.

Unfortunately, however, the 2018 MacBook Pro models lack the data recovery port on the logic board, so repair technicians won’t be able to plug in the data recovery tool if the logic board goes out. The missing port was initially uncovered by repair site iFixIt, which also discovered that Apple used a silicone membrane on the third-generation keyboard that debuted on the 2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, which helps dampen noise and keeps the keys free of debris.

While Apple’s move to remove the data recovery port could lead to frustrated users if the logic board on their laptops fail, the notebook’s stronger hardware security may have prompted the change on the 2018 model. “The data recovery port was likely removed because 2018 MacBook Pro models feature Apple’s custom T2 chip, which provides hardware encryption for the SSD storage, like the iMac Pro, our sources said,” MacRumors reported.

This latest data quirk affecting the 2018 MacBook Pro follows a recent data issue affecting Apple’s 2017 models. It was discovered that both the logic board and the solid-state drive need replacement when there is a logic board failure.

If users need data extracted from a 2018 MacBook Pro with a failed logic board, Apple recommends taking the notebook to a data recovery specialist. To recover the data, data recovery service DriveSavers informed Digital Trends that it needs access to the entire system. If your logic board fails, your likely plan of action would be to ship your laptop to a data recovery expert before you taking it into an Apple authorized repair facility or Genius Bar to get the logic board replaced.

“None of the changes mentioned in the iFixIt article regarding the MacBook Pro 2018 have had any affect our ability to recover data for our customers,” DriveSavers director of engineering Mike Cobb said in a statement. “This is due to our advanced capabilities in addressing the logic board. DriveSavers has been very successful in recovering data from the 2018 model as well as all others. It is worth noting that customers need to send us the whole device to complete the data recovery service.”

For now, owners of the 2018 MacBook Pro worried about lost data should maintain up-to-date backups of their systems, use a Time Machine, or utilize cloud-based services when possible.

Updated on July 23: Added statement from DriveSavers.

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