Have you ever bought a second hand computer/phone and found stuff on there?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Reecedouglas1, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. Reecedouglas1 macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2016
  2. Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    No, I haven't.

    But, then, I have not bought a second hand computer in 20 years, and anytime I myself have either given an old computer as a gift to a sibling, or - sold it - I have made sure it was completely wiped, usually by having had that done in the Apple store where I usually make my purchases.
  3. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two

    A 17" PowerBook G4 HD DLSD in early 2010. From a college student on eBay who'd dropped it on a corner. Still functional and I fixed the dent.

    What I found on his hard drive was far more than I ever wanted to learn about him - in pictures. OMG!!!!

    I wiped the drive as fast as I could at that point.

    When I emailed him about a year later to let him know the laptop was still going he asked me if perhaps I'd made a backup of the drive that I could send him…

    Uhhhhhh…no. I. Did. Not.

  4. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    I was given an old Mac Color Classic that had once belonged to my now-deceased mother-in-law. Upon searching the machine, I discovered a few recordings of her voice that she had made decades ago while playing around with the computer. My wife and her sister were delighted that I found those.
  5. JackieInCo Suspended

    Jul 18, 2013
    I Bought a 2012 Mac Mini base model open box at Micro Center. Got home and everything the original buyer had on it was still on it including their iTunes login and all apps. I restored it and used it. I ended up returning it after I restored it of course before returning it for the 2012 i7 open box that they got in about 13 days later which I would have bought had they had it to begin with.

    I get home with the i7 Mac Mini and the same thing happens. All the original buyers apps and iTunes logins were there.

    Micro Center just accepts the returns and puts then back in the shelf as open box and sells them at a reduced price. I don't mind myself to get a good deal but people have to be careful and restore before they return these things.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The very first thing I did was wipe a computer clean, so even if it did have stuff on it, I didn't notice because it was gone after reformatting.
  7. Tech198, Jan 25, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017

    Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    lol.. paranoia sets in if u "confessed" and owe up to the fact "oh by the way, did you know i could know allot about you" ?

    Best efforts for me would just erase and keep quiet..

    A lesion perhaps in eduaction/or teaching others, but at the risk of wondering what a potential buyer would now "know" would possibly keep ? ummm... I wouldn't favor just keeping quiet.

    To me, the act of even knowing is enough.. to make my hair stand on end.

    Never happened to me, and never will as i don't tech 2nd hand... and would never sell it without wiping hard drive..... I don't even trust companies that say they do it as a convenience,
  8. curmudgeonette macrumors 6502

    Jan 28, 2016
    I've bought numerous use Time Capsules. Two of them came with working non-wiped drives! They contained the last backup plus every other weekly snapshot back to when the Capsule was put into service. This means they contained everything that ever existed on their Mac long enough to get into one of the weekly backups.

    I poked around enough to figure out that neither owner was a power user. Hence, the drive(s) hadn't been used heavily. Then I erased them with the "zero every block" command.
  9. elf69 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2016
    Cornwall UK
    yes bought an ipod 3rd gen from cash converters.

    took it home charged it up and found it full of porn.

    phoned the store and returned it next day.

    it was adult porn not kiddie porn.
  10. yaxomoxay macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2010
    No, but once a couple I met at the park asked me to take a picture of them. I erroneously clicked on the photo gallery and here you go... I now know what they do in their private, intimate moments.
  11. elf69 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2016
    Cornwall UK
    LOL, that was one thing i liked about android you could hide a folder in the file manager app so gallery could not see it.
    Was good for hiding my photos from my grand niece.
  12. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    I haven't given it that much thought, but it kind of brings up the idea of using the locksreen version of the camera in situations like that.
  13. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth

    And that's the problem,,, You poke around *before* u wipe it.... you just don't wipe it and not look... I'm sure glad no one here wants to stick anything up online :)
  14. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    Just because they failed to mention it doesn't mean they didn't do t, or have the thought.
  15. bunnspecial macrumors 603


    May 3, 2014
    By virtue of collecting Macs, I get a lot of computers with stuff already on them.

    In many cases, I've been sold/given the computer with the owner's full blessing of prowling the stuff left on the hard drive. Usually it's something like "I know you're a chemist-there's some good software on there like..." or something along those lines.

    I've also bought/been given computers with officially unsupported OSs installed and have received a warning to not wipe the hard drive if I wanted to keep running that OS due to the amount of work required to get it working. There are also special cases-like late G4 OS 9 Macs-where getting a fully functional OS 9 install can be tricky and I generally won't wipe those. I do "depersonalize" them, something that's fairly easy to do in OS 9.

    As a general habit, though, I usually wipe and install my preferred OS and set-up for the computer.

    I have found some interesting things, though. I bought a black MacBook with a "dead" hard drive once. It would hang on the Apple when booting. After I had installed an SSD and set it up the way I like, I attempted to repair the drive using some other utilities. I actually was able to repair it to the point that the computer would boot. The computer had belonged to a college professor, and had student records including full SSNs(it's beyond me why the school used those for ID purposes rather than student IDs). As I'm in academia and serve as a part time lecturer, I know the FERPA laws and how serious of a violation this is. I started to let the seller know, but on second thought took the drive out and shot it. Rendering it physically unreadable was the quick and dirty solution to holding what I considered a "hot potato" and I also had no motivation to do anything extravagant(like a 7-pass zero) to save a dying 250gb SATA laptop drive.

    Fortunately, I've never found child porn or really anything of the like. If I found child porn, I'd be torn between shooting the drive or turning it over to the police(with details of the seller). Honestly, I'd probably do the latter for several reasons. The only thing mildly indecent I've found on a computer were what I'd term fine art nudes.
  16. SoggyCheese Suspended


    Nov 5, 2016
    Barcelona, España o Londres, Reino Unido
    My first Mac, a second-hand Performa 630CD, came pre-loaded with a load of info about international business deals, including letters sent to members of the House of Commons asking for help to smooth the deals along.

    Also the accounts of a small lobbying company in Westminster.

    Interesting reading all in all.
  17. D.T. macrumors G3


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
    I make a +point+ of leaving something special for the next owner ...

  18. Teodora Saylor macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2014
    I bought a 2nd hand phone that I gave to my assistant as a gift. I told him it was 2nd hand so he immediately checked the gallery for owner's previous images and true enough we found some photos, nothing malicious though :D
  19. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I was in charge of accepting donated PCs at a nearby school and delivering them to teachers. A parent at the school donated a PC and I was installing the software to be used in the classroom when I discovered that he hadn't bothered to clean off the adult-only girlie pictures he favored. This PC was about to go into a classroom, so I gave it a thorough data cleanup. I hadn't been as thorough before, and that experience taught me how much it mattered.

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18 January 24, 2017