do you trust your data with Apple (repair)?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by btownguy, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. btownguy macrumors 6502a

    Jun 18, 2009
    I am now using my first ever Apple computer - a 15" MacBook Pro. It's perfect so far. However, I'm used to PC's and just easily swapping out a part myself if it goes bad. On my MBP, if it goes bad I'm assuming I'll have to take the whole thing in and be without it for a few weeks likely.

    I've never had to just give my computer over to anyone - I've always done repairs/part replacements myself. I have alot of sensitive financial data on my laptop and I would prefer to not hand that over to anyone. Is there any reason to be concerned if I were to take my laptop in to Apple for repairs? What do others do? I could see myself going so far as to get a spare laptop hard drive and swapping it out with mine (the one with the data) any time I had to take the laptop in for repair. Is this taking things too far?
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Depending on the sensitivity of the data I'd be encrypting the data on the drive anyway, regardless of whether it's going to Apple or not. I'd look at using either File Vault (look at it carefully first), or an encrypted DMG that you only mount as and when you need it.

    I'd also expect to get back the drive wiped with a new install of the OS if you leave it with them for a while. A lot of the time this won't happen, but sometimes it will.
  3. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    I've always backed up my HD to an external drive and loaded a clean OS install if I've ever had to leave my computer for repairs.
  4. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601


    Nov 19, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    When I've taken my Apple computers in, I've always deleted all my sensitive data from the hard drive. You're supposed to make a backup of your hard drive before you take it in anyways, so deleting the sensitive data before you take it in, and then putting it back on the drive when you get it back shouldn't be too bad.

    I've taken in a PowerBook, a MacBook Pro, and an iMac, and none of the hard drives were wiped. I know that they say it could happen, but my guess is that they only do this if the problem is with the OS or the hard drive itself.
  5. Toppa G's macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2003
    The exurbs, MN
    This happened to me with a laptop that went in to AppleCare for a completely unrelated hinge repair. A little bit surprising, and possibly frustrating if one doesn't have any backups.
  6. uaecasher macrumors 65816


    Jan 29, 2009
    Stillwater, OK
    depends, if just porn I would trust them. If cracked apple apps I won't :D
  7. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    yes, that's taking it too far

    Just delete the sensitive files before you take the computer in and then copy them back once you get it back

    DO make sure you backup your computer before you take it in....they warn you to do that so make sure you do
  8. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    I've setup a second account with account name/password Apple, which seems to be reasonable enough.

    Obviously anything that is confidential is probably worth putting in an encrypted disk image and the free space is probably worth wiping with a single pass.
  9. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Happened to a friend of mine for a non-harddrive problem...
  10. tekio macrumors regular

    May 31, 2009
    I don't trust anybody, I wouldn't take a computer anywhere for repair without first wiping the hard drive.
  11. dubels macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2006
    Just back up everything and delete everything that is sensitive. Time Machine will do or you can use SuperDuper
  12. Dan73 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2009
    I'd probably make a clone and wipe the HD or encrypt the whole drive.

    I don't have anything worth hiding but I just hate the thought of someone else going through my stuff.
  13. fredwiz macrumors newbie

    Oct 3, 2009
    my macbook has just died and is going to need to go in to apple to repair, but i do have one or two cracked apps that i'd rather not let them find.

    without being able to start up the macbook i cant get to the data to backup/delete so what can i do? replacing the hd would void the warranty wouldnt it?
  14. pdjudd macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2007
    Plymouth, MN
    No, replacing the drive is not warranty voiding - its considered user replaceable, however I have never known Apple to look at your apps to see if they are legit or not. They are not the police, they are a repair shop.

    When my Moms MacBook went in due to a bad board, I specifically told the Genius that the data contained my mom’s business data which is healthcare related. I created a second account so that they could log in and verify everything, but I refused them the main password for that reason alone. The tech was very understanding and they said that as long as I had a backup in case the drive had to be replaced (there was), they did not care saying that their policy was not to look at user data (apparently they take the idea of HIPPA very seriously). If the applications have nothing to do with the problem, they could care less about your data. As a tech myself, I take the same stance - I do not look at anything that you do not explicitly allow me to.

    If your problem is hardware related, they only replace the necessary hardware and then they test to see if the machine works. If it’s software - well they are probably going to do it all in store or they will tell you what you need to do.
  15. dazey macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2005
    My experience with apple repair was that they seem to wipe the disk as soon as a machine gets in the door, partially load a system and then give it back to you in a half working state. My G4 powerbook went in for a screen replacement with no software issues and came back with my data gone and a partially loaded OS. I was not impressed (as well as the hassle I lost some (not vital) files that were too large for me to back up at the time).
  16. pdjudd macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2007
    Plymouth, MN
    I had to bring my Moms Macbook in twice (two different problems) and each time I brought it in they never touched anything on the hard drive - they warn you to have a back-up in case the drive has to be replaced, but if the drive is unrelated to the problem, they don’t mess with it.

    Your experience sounds rather unusual and atypical.
  17. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Jeez. Create another admin account for them when you bring it in.

    They have better things to do than to snoop around.

  18. pdjudd macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2007
    Plymouth, MN
    Exactly. When I work on people’s computers, I tell them outright that I have better things to do with their computer like fixing it rather than to look at their data. I leave that kind of work to law enforcement.
  19. couto27 macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2008
    best anser:)
  20. iPhone 62S macrumors 6502a

    iPhone 62S

    Aug 18, 2009
    That's what I did when I took a iMac in for the screen condensation problem, made a seperate account for Apple.

    If I really didn't want people to see stuff though, I'd stick the files into a .dmg or back them up and delete them while the computer's in as others said.

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