Can Findmymac work if the thief clean installs the newer OS?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by techcen, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. techcen macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2012
    Yesterday my MacBook Pro stolen from me and when I am trying to track it from find my mac it doesn't show anything. My friend told me that if the thief clean install the mac with newer OS ( I had 10.6, my friend told me if the thief clean install mountain lion). then even if he uses the mac, I wont be able to track the mac. Again some post in random site suggested that until and unless I take out the mac from my icloud i will be able to detect the location of the mac by using the mac addres even if it is clean installed.

    So my question is, if the thief clean installed the newer version of MAC OS. Is there any way I can track the mac. will apple notify me if the thief tries to use that macbook after clean install and tries using the icloud again( from his account), since I believe that icloud is sync through the mac with its mac address.

    Any help from your side will be really helpful. I am just browsing different sites to get the hint of how to trace my mac.
  2. ideal.dreams macrumors 68020


    Jul 19, 2010
    If he upgrades the Mac all of your data will still be in tact and you will still be able to track it.

    However, this is not likely, as most theives will delete all personal data right away, in which case your iCloud data will be removed from the Mac and you won't be able to track it anymore.
  3. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008

    All he needs is to stick a new hard drive in there and BAM, any Find My Mac, lojack or whatever you want is rendered completely useless.
  4. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Also remember it has to be connected to a wifi network for it to show a location. Most thieves sell on without even powering up.
  5. SpyderBite macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2011
    In most cases the computers are never even powered on. Only a very stupid thief would steal a computer for their own use.

    Regardless, FindMyMac is designed to be used for lost devices, not stolen devices. It may be helpful when you file a police report as you can report its last known location. But one should never attempt to track down a stolen computer on their own for their own safety.
  6. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    I'm confused. You had 10.6. There was no way for you to have turned on Find My Mac in the first place.

    In general, wiping out the main drive partition and reinstalling the OS does not disable Find My Mac, although upgrading might since it would replace the Recovery Partition. It's completely irrelevant here, though, as you could have had it turned on anyways.

  7. techcen, Nov 14, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012

    techcen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2012
    I was able to have find my mac so I believe the OS has the version which will support the find my mac. I was just wondering that, if some how the thief didnt change the hard drive and just did the clean install I would still be able to track it in matter or a week or two when he finally connect it to internet.

    Every body is telling me that if they do the clean install I still have chance to track my mac. Since it will be in recovery partition. SO my question is , if the thief is clever enough to do the clean install wont he also delete the recovery partition???? will there be any chances if the recovery partition is also deleted or wiped out.

    Any suggestions on that..

    And thanks for all your queries..
  8. techcen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2012
    but even the thief sells it, i will still be able to track it to the new user who ever he sold it to.
  9. peeaanuut macrumors 65816

    Sep 10, 2007
    Southern California
    you might get lucky in that most thefts are opportunistic and the person stealing doesnt understand the overall item they are stealing. Many people will steal something and then try to play with it without knowing what it does. Its why the find my mac and lojack stuff will work. But if it was stolen by someone with experience, the first thing they would do is remove, change or wipe the hard drive.

    on a side note, is there no hardware solution to this? some sort of onboard electronics that could be applied either end user or at manufacturing?


    as far as the recovery partition, sure, that is possible if they dont know macs specifically. But if they know enough about upgrading/reinstalling the OS, they would most likely know about that.
  10. techcen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2012
    So let me get this clear, if they wipe out the hard drive and install the new OS I have my chances of tracking my MAC how ever if they are clever enough to delete/wipe out the recovery partition as well which saves the find my mac. I have no luck finding it???? As of now I M not been able to track my mac. :(

  11. techcen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2012
    can i get any help on this!!!!:confused:
  12. Irock619 macrumors 68000


    Sep 16, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    It has to be connected to the internet for iCloud to find your mac. You can't track it now because either the thief took out the HDD or it is not connected to the internet.
  13. techcen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2012
    I am hoping that they wont do that!!!!!:confused: Because HDD itself cost a lot of money. What I am hoping on is that besides changing the HDD. what ever he does from wiping the HDD and recovery. Will I still be able to track the mac if he ever gets connected to internet.

    At first I was confident about finding it, but reading all the blogs, it seems like there are lots of way you can make the mac not track able even with out changing the HDD.
  14. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    A hard drive can be had for less than $100, so no, definitely not a lot of money if you can offload the computer for $1500 or so.

    Since Find My Mac is tied to the iCloud account and is not hardware based at all, the thief would simply have to turn on your computer with no internet, disable iCloud completely and he'd be on his merry way.
  15. sealman 7900 macrumors newbie

    sealman 7900

    Aug 31, 2016

    here is somthing to think about the computers serial nr is connected to apple so if the thief trys to uppgrade to a newr version of os the serail nr wont clear the werifacation by apple if it is reported stolen
    here is what apple s support wrote on the subbject
    When you download OS X using OS X Recovery, your computer's serial number is sent to Apple to help authenticate your request.
  16. tubeexperience, Aug 31, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016

    tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    Not sure what's up with people bumping these super old threads.
  17. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    Imagine the OP has moved on, as he posted on Nov 2012 :)


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