Safety precautions taken before sending an iMac to apple for service

Discussion in 'iMac' started by misho73, Nov 26, 2014.

  1. misho73 macrumors member

    Sep 26, 2014
    Hello Everyone,
    Unfortunately I will have to take may new iMac 5K retina to Apple store's Guinness bar on Sunday for a check up, since I am having a weird screen glitch that occur every now and then.
    I have few questions for those with past experience in regards to Safety and privacy issues:

    1- Should I trust them with my Machine with all private stuff on it? Pictures, Documents and passwords stored in Keychain and browsers (access to my bank accounts). Specially if they asked for my password. At the end Trust is a very subjective matter

    2- Would creating a new admin account just for them be sufficient and protective enough? but again, what if they for example they decided to have it replaced?

    3- Would just deleting all private information, clearing the passwords from browsers be good enough? but again, I do not know how to secure my keychain.

    4- Do i have to wipe clean my hard drive and reinstall OS X ?? would it interfere with diagnostics process??

    Appreciate your help.
  2. sonicrobby macrumors 68020


    Apr 24, 2013
    New Orleans
    Make sure you do a full backup! Simply putting an admin pass, and require it on logon should suffice. Maybe enable the guest account so they can get to a desktop and test it if they need to. Though Id recommend wiping it, because I believe they will also do that anyway. But if you do wipe it, make sure you set it up again before you take it in.

    Also, is this just a walk in walk out checkup? Or leaving your Mac there for repairs?
    If you're just doing a checkup, a guest account would suffice, no need to delete anything. If they need an admin account to access, create a second one. No need to wipe the ssd if you're justgetting it looked at.

    I took in my rMBP in for the ghosting issue. I backed it up, and just put on my admin password and enabled guest account. When I went to pick it up a few days latter, they said all they did was replace the screen. Though when I got home and turned it on, they actually wiped the ssd also. I think it's their standard troubleshooting solutions to reinstall OSX to assure it is a hardware issue and not a software issue. So just make sure you have your own backup before you bring it to them.
  3. misho73 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 26, 2014

    Thanks for replying.
    so wiping it out won't affect their check up process. Like no Log files they might want to look at. This is my first ever Mac and I remember one time when I took my iPhone for a check up they were anxious cause I restored it before bringing it in. They told me they needed the original status to check up logs. I guess it's different with Macs
  4. sonicrobby macrumors 68020


    Apr 24, 2013
    New Orleans
    Well that depends, back it up for sure, maybe wait on wiping it. Is the screen glitch part of the screen? Is it easily reproduce able? I guess the main difference would be if it is a hardware issue vs a software issue. I've never taken a Mac back to the store for software issues, so I can't really help much there.

    Though if you suspect it is a software issue, backup, reinstall OS X yourself, restore your backup, and see if the issue is still there. This doesn't eliminate the possibility of it being a software issue, but if it persists, it is likely a hardware issue (which means the logs and diagnostics wouldn't be much help to them). And as I said, I think their first option if they suspect it is software related is to reinstall OS X to see if the problem persists afterwards.

    If you are bringing it there to be looked at, no need to wipe it at all (actually don't wipe it unless you are sure you can reproduce the issue). They can take a look at the log files and whatnot, to run their diagnostics. But if they need to keep it and repair it, then I would say delete your sensitive information just in case. I tend to trust Apple employees more than other employees, but in the end they're all human, and someone is bound to have bad intentions.

    So as long as you're there with your computer, no need to do anything special to it. If you have to leave it there, I recommend either deleting your saved passwords and other sensitive information, or even ask them to wipe it and reinstall OSX prior to you leaving (I belive this is something they do while you're there also).
  5. nrubenstein macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2008
    Washington, DC
    Never, ever, ever hand over your private data to anyone else. Ever. Always backup and wipe before handing over a machine to someone else.
  6. TheBearman macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2008
    Cary, NC
    What they said. I have a strong encryption password and have enabled FileVault on all my systems. Even so, I'd wipe, re-setup and erase free space with most secure option (providing the drive is available) before giving anyone my system.

    To much personal and work items at risk otherwise.
  7. ZMacintosh macrumors 65816


    Nov 13, 2008
    definitely do a back-up. with it being so new, maybe an exchange is in order.
  8. one finger john macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2012
    I fully identify with the op's fears of identity theft (or unauthorized searches of files) when their computer has been sent in to Apple.
    I once walked into an Apple store (with a genius appointment) with my G4 (heavy mofo!) with a question about my operating system (3.1.2). The "genius" hooked everything up and then started going thru my history (with no explanation) and typing single letters into my address bar (A,B,C, ....). After I got home I realized that he was searching the computer, looking for possible illegal sites or storage of files of pictures. Are Apple employees acting as agents of local law enforcement (or even Federal law enforcement)?
    I do not feel comfortable with this type of scrutiny. Is there an unwritten rule that instructs Apple employees to perform uninformed "security" checks of customers computers? Also the fact that I had four hard drives installed ("Why ya have four hard drives in a G4?").
    Am I being profiled because I am a retirement age bearded male?
    Will I have to go thru a TSA type airport search?

    Thanks, One Finger John
  9. FreemanW, Nov 26, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014

    FreemanW macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2012
    The Real Northern California
    This is where an external hard disk drive and Carbon Copy Cloner (or SuperDuper) shine.

    Prior to your Apple service appointment . . . . .

    You execute a full backup of your iMac . . . . then you blow away your hard disk drive, nuke it from orbit.

    Create your user account, but you do not sign into your Apple I.D., the iCloud, NOTHING. You put a simple password (12345678) on your generic Admin Account and place that password on a post-it on the chin of the iMac and ensure that the Genius' at the Apple Store place that password on the Repair Order.

    Done and done.

    . . . . . . and yes, a fresh install is part and parcel of diagnostics. A fresh install may reveal the problem to be part of software issues. In other words, if the problem disappears with a fresh install, it was introduced by the user in the previous installation.

    I performed several fresh installs of Mavericks in April 2014 while chasing down a failed memory module.
  10. john.burn macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2007
    If there's a chance they are going to keep the machine for any sort of repair then take numerous pictures. My 2012 iMac came back scratched from Apple. Thru eventually replaced it with a maxed out 5K model.

  11. steve23094 macrumors 68020


    Apr 23, 2013
    One finger or not that does not excuse you from you using correct punctuation. I think I agree with you, but I'm not 100% sure because you're not making a clear point.
  12. IHelpId10t5 macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2014
    You need to:

    1) Clone your HDD to an external using SuperDuper

    2) Have at least one additional backup such as TimeMachine

    3) Boot from a bootable USB of Yosemite and use disk utility to do a secure wipe of the drive.

    4) Clean install Yosemite, create a single admin account with a simple password that you are willing to give to the Apple store staff

    5) Perform all updates, and reinstall the minimal apps that you are experiencing problems with.

    6) Make sure that the issue is now reproducible

    7) Take the Mac to the Apple store.

    The important this to realize is that anyone that can physically sit at your Mac has all of your data regardless of what account credentials you give them (unless you have properly encrypted it of course). Therefore, it's best to just be safe and give them a clean Mac if you are sure that they can reproduce the issue because it's a hardware or OS problem.
  13. iczster macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2014
    erm ..... I thought the whole point of apple care was they did all the work, did home visits or whatever?
  14. misho73 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 26, 2014
    The problem is i cannot reproduce the problem. it happens randomly every few days/weeks then goes away by itself.
  15. one finger john macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2012
    to Steve23094, I think I was frustrated with my computer being, what I feel, illegally searched. And this being done right in front of me with no asking for permission or anything.


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