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personal data recoverable on dead macbook?

jmgm

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 23, 2017
3
0
I'm thinking of trying to sell my water damaged MacBook Air (probably on ebay, though I know it's rife with scammers...). This is a pretty basic question, but do I need to be worried about people getting personal information that was saved on that computer? Background: I spilled water on it, it turned itself off, I turned it on a week later and it seemed to be working fine except that it wouldn't charge. It's now completely dead and won't turn on. The folks at the PC place I took it to said they couldn't fix it, but I'm not sure if they meant they couldn't fix it/recover my files or that no one could (they were speaking Japanese...). Thoughts?
 

saulinpa

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2008
937
396
Most likely the drive is still readable if you pull it from the machine and put it in another. So unless you had a password and used FileVault it would be easy for someone to see everything that you had on the machine.
 

teidon

macrumors 6502
Dec 22, 2009
439
201
As saulinpa said all your data is still there. All models of MacBook Airs have an SSD disk and they often have non-standard connectors. If you want to recover your files or empty the disk, you'll need to buy some kind of adapter to attach the disk to your computer. You can google to figure out what kind of connector the SSD disk in your MacBook Air has. Optionally you could just take out the disk and smash it to pieces if you don't care about the files or the money you could get by selling the disk. I think most MacBook Air models have pentalobular screws so you might need to find a proper screwdriver for the task.
 

saulinpa

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2008
937
396
The older Airs used regular screws. But, yeah. Good idea to smash the drive.

I wonder if you took it to an Apple store they would be nice and pull the disk for you?
 

saulinpa

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2008
937
396
Personal information on the drive is worth a lot more than a few bucks. Even if the passwords aren't there I would not want to give away bank account info. Old emails would make identity theft easy. Auto-login to Twitter, Facebook, etc. and you are toast.
 

Audit13

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2017
5,739
1,483
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I didn't mean to say sell it right away. I should have said to remove the drive and hang onto it until the OP has an opportunity to examine the contents of the drive, copy off the data, and then format/erase the drive before selling it.

If it's a pci-e ahci drive, it is worth something.
 

Banglazed

macrumors 68040
Apr 17, 2017
3,463
3,902
Cupertino, CA
With any hard drive, data can be recovered using data recovery software even if such data was deleted. To properly erase the drive, it will need to be securedly wiped to make any data unrecoverable or a quicker solution if you don’t need these data then you can run a magnet over the drive:p
 

Starlights

macrumors regular
Jan 22, 2011
133
39
With any hard drive, data can be recovered using data recovery software even if such data was deleted. To properly erase the drive, it will need to be securedly wiped to make any data unrecoverable or a quicker solution if you don’t need these data then you can run a magnet over the drive:p

Magnets (degaussing) works with platter based magnetic drives (hard drives) - won't work with SSDs. Additionally, erased data will not be recoverable from SSD once the SSD has had time to purge (garbage collection process) data.

If the OP is able to extract the drive and find the right connectors then the drive can be used as an external usb drive.
 

jmgm

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 23, 2017
3
0
Thanks, everyone! I'll see about getting the disc out...
 

Mrbobb

macrumors 601
Aug 27, 2012
4,989
194
How old is this Air? only very old 1st-2nd Gen? Airs had mechanical drives, newer have soldered on SSD?

How exactly private are the data? You have no backup? or do you fear someone may use it, bank account info? Nobody cares about your family members birthdays or even your tax info unless you are multi-millionaire, they can get a a lot more by hacking into corporations.
 
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