Hardware

If your 2018 MacBook fails, it may be nearly impossible to recover data: Here's why

The Apple T2 chip found in MacBook Pros is meant to improve security and encryption, but makes it harder to save your data from the system.

In June, Apple announced a surprise update to its MacBook Pro 2018 lineup, with new laptops featuring updated 8th-generation Intel processors as well as upgrades to RAM, storage, and battery life.

However, the rollout has not been completely smooth. One expert noted a design feature in the 2018 15" MacBook Pro that may throttle its CPU performance—Apple later confirmed these issues and released a bug fix in the macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Supplemental Update.

Now, another problem has surfaced, according to a Digital Trends report. Apple installed its T2 chip into the MacBook Pro with this line. The chip is responsible for the Secure Enclave coprocessor, to improve security and encryption—allowing the machine to perform real-time data encryption.

SEE: IT hardware procurement policy (Tech Pro Research)

While this is a useful security feature, it comes with a compromise, according to a teardown from iFixit. Older MacBook Pro models gave technicians access to a data access recovery port on the logic board, which allowed data from your SSD to be saved, even if the logic board failed. This was the only way to save data if something went wrong with your computer, since Apple added memory onto the board in 2016.

But with the inclusion of the T2 chip, there is no data access recovery port on the new MacBook Pros, iFixit found. While Apple may have another backup plan for data recovery, it has not yet shared it with users, Digital Trends noted.

Since business users frequently save important data on their devices, this omission may make them reconsider the 2018 MacBook as a primary device, or encourage them to more heavily invest in a cloud backup solution.

According to Apple's internal 2018 MacBook Pro Service Readiness Guide, obtained by MacRumors, technicians are advised to encourage customers to backup to Time Machine frequently. This appears to be the only way to preserve your data if your laptop fails, the site noted.

It remains to be seen if Apple will address this latest issue, or if the various problems with the new line of MacBook Pros will impact their adoption among enterprise users.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • The 2018 line of MacBook Pros does not include a data access recovery port, making it more difficult to save data in the event of a logic board failure.
  • Apple recommends users backup data to Time Machine frequently to prevent loss during an outage.

Also see

24-apple-macbook-pro-15-inch-2018.jpg
Image: Sarah Tew/CNET

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox