Found Macbook - Best way to find owner?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Nutzz, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. Nutzz macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2009

    I've been given a black macbook that was found by a friend on the side of a road, they want to return it but have no idea how to contact the owner. They gave it to me being the only :apple: geek they know, hehe.

    What would be the best way to make sure it gets back to its rightful owner? I've considered;

    oh by the way the screen is cracked and does not work.

    Contacting apple and seeing if they would help track down the original owner (is this something they do?), but this got me questioning if it would be the person that actuality owns it now.. it might be secondhand?

    Buying a DVI adapter so that I could plug another screen into it and at least get a name (if not more depending on if he/she has auto login on), but this would cost me £20

    Taking out the hard drive and trying reading it, I've not looked up yet how realistic this is to be honest (only doing this with windows in the past, guessing it works in a similar way?)

    I'm also slightly concerned that looking through someone's computer to find personal info might be a bit rude, what do you think?

    If anyone here has an idea please post and let me know, thanks in advance.
  2. techfreak85 macrumors 68040


    Jan 13, 2008
    apple might be able to do a serial number look up, and see who its registered to/sold to.
  3. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus


    Oct 8, 2002
    The Bamboo Forest
    Maybe write down the serial, give the laptop to the police, and phone apple and let them know you found the laptop with that serial and gave it to the police. Then if the owner contacts either place they can get it. Since the screen is busted and you don't have a good way to find out who it might belong to that might be your best option.

    Or even just call Apple prior to giving it to the police. In case they know who it belongs to.

    Or if you have an Apple store (or Apple repair shop) nearby they might be able to help you get onto the machine to find out who owns it.
  4. wfoster macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2009
    Plymouth, UK
    If I was in your position, I would keep it but that is because I am greedy. But seeing as you're not me.. I would buy a adapter and hook it up to another screen.

    Then get the serial number on the bottom of the laptop and ring Apple and explain what has happened. They'll then ask for the serial then find the owners details.
  5. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816


    Oct 8, 2008
    guys I don't think he can read the serial number without an adapter to get an external display working.

    does the computer even start up?

    I would contact apple, see fi they can get you an adapter for this purpose or go to the apple store. try and get the serial there. Then you should drop it off at the police station and leave it there. depending on your jurisdiction's laws, you may get to keep it after 30 days. But you should still make an attempt to contact the owner with info you get from apple and/or the computer.
  6. wfoster macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2009
    Plymouth, UK
    He can read it if he turns the laptop upside down and read the little print on the bottom.
  7. Nutzz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2009
    I did this and have the serial number, checked it against apples site.. it has no warranty and made in early 2008.

    Please keep the suggestions coming, thanks

    Contacted Apple, no owner info registered with the serial number :(
  8. phas3 macrumors 65816

    Oct 5, 2008
  9. killerrobot macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2007
    If you're really that concerned, turn it into the police.

    They'll hold it for 30 days. If no one claims it, it's yours to keep.:)

    EDIT: Consumer laws prevent Apple from giving you the owner's info or even telling you if it were registered to someone.
  10. ddeadserious macrumors 6502a


    Jul 28, 2008
    Plymouth, MI
    Do you have access to another Mac?

    If so, here's what I'd do. I'd hook the blackbook up to your Mac with a Firewire cable. Boot the blackbook into Target Disk Mode(holding the T while booting) and reboot your Mac and hold alt/option, and select the Blackbook's HD. Then it will boot your Mac up off of the Blackbook's drive and you can try to find some relevant data to find the owner. I know I have my resume on my drive, which has my address on it, and I'd hope if I lost mine, someone would do that for me.

    Good luck, that's a fine thing you're doing here. I'd even be tempted to keep it.
  11. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    Wirelessly posted (iPod touch 32GB: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7C97d Safari/528.16)

    I think you need to report it to the police and hand it in. Not only is it the right thing to do morally (and you seem to be good on the morality side) it will also protect you:

    at the moment you have, in your possesion, a laptop of unknown origin with unknown contents. What if this laptop contains terrorist material or kiddie porn?

    You should report it to the police to assert it is not your responsibility. If the rightful owner reports it lost they will get it back and everyone is happy. If they don't then the

    laptop will become legally yours after a period of time and you can do what you want with it with a clear conscience. (although the first thing I'd do in that case would be to wipe the disk without looking at the contents...)
  12. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    Apple store serial and use the police to protect yourself.
  13. toolbox macrumors 68020


    Oct 6, 2007
    Australia (WA)
    How many apple stores are closest to you? You could take the serial number into them and see if they sold it to anyone?
  14. Fleetwood Mac macrumors 65816

    Fleetwood Mac

    Apr 27, 2006
    If you have a firewire cable and another Mac you can boot it up in target disk mode. That way you can take a look at address book file and probably get the persons email or phone number.

  15. wywern209 macrumors 65832


    Sep 7, 2008
    do you rly want to know?
    couldn't you also do this via ethernet?
  16. Pixellated macrumors 65816

    Apr 1, 2008
    That is transferring data to a new Mac.
  17. OscarTheGrouch macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2007
    G' Vegas South Carolina
    i have kittie porn on my computer..

    here, ill share porn/Capitol_Girl/Super Art/KittyPorn.gif
  18. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601


    Feb 27, 2005
    Turn it over to your local police department.

    Sounds to me like it's stolen... "Side of the road" suggests something sketchy was going on there.
  19. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    If you do decide to keep it make sure you do not use the hard drive in it. It could contain illegal stuff even if you do not see it. If there was ever anything bad like that on there ever the police might be able to find it. I would take it to the police and see if they find the owner. If they don't you get to keep it. But still get a new hard drive for it if you keep it after the police give it back. Then get rid of the original HD using a method of data distruction.

    I recommend:
    1. 35 pass secure erase (use disk utility)
    2. Smash or scrape off the chips with screwdriver of the logic board on the bottom then trash the parts on different days at different locations (restaurants, parks and public restrooms)
    3. Take it apart and throw the platters around like frisbees on concrete or similar rough surface
    4. Throw the platters away on different days at different locations (restaurants, parks or public restrooms)

    But do not just throw the platters out the window of your car as this is littering.
  20. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

    Jul 12, 2008
    Columbus, OH
    I was totally going to say the same. lol.
  21. spillproof macrumors 68020


    Jun 4, 2009
    Thats is what I was thinking.

    Take pictures of it, including the serial number, and turn it in to the police.
  22. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816


    Oct 8, 2008
    to the OP:

    you never know what the story with the computer is. More than likely it was stolen or somehow maliciously damaged. Imagine the relief that the owner will feel when they are again able to access their files, records, even their memories! Someone's collection of photos ever since their childhood could be on that computer. It's your duty to let the police know you have it and hope that the person claims it. If not, it's yours.
  23. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    Place an ad on Craig's List.

    To The Dumbass Who Left His MacBook on His Car Roof. :D
  24. Vulcan macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I lol'ed :D

    OP, you've done your part. You don't know what's on the MacBook and it's best to turn it over to the police.
  25. acfusion29 macrumors 68040


    Nov 8, 2007
    Why do people assume Apple can just "look up" the owner based on serial number.

    1. Not everyone pays with a credit/debit card
    2. Not everyone buys from the Apple Store
    3. Not everyone buys Apple Care (in which your obligated to give your info to Apple).

Share This Page