Apple seems to have released a data recovery tool for the 2016 MacBook Pro's non-removable solid state drive. According to a report, the device is not commercially available since it is only going to be used by Apple support staff.
The tool emerged days after folks at iFixit began poring over the internals of the new 2016 MacBook Pro and found that the SSD has been soldered into the laptop's logic board. Apple is believed to have integrated the module in order to achieve the laptop's thinness as well as some design enhancements.
Along with key downsides such as the inability to upgrade as well as challenges to repairability, there is an emerging fear that once the logic board is damaged, user data stored in the SSD will suffer the same fate.
It seems that Apple have anticipated the SSD concern. In the iFixit 2016 MacBook Pro teardown, a curious connector was discovered. The team was not able to identify it because it just juts out there, not connected to anything. Now, that connector is being reported as a way to access the SSD using the dedicated data recovery tool.
Special Data Recovery Tool
The new device, which 9To5Mac referred to as the customer data migration tool, includes a logic board holder and an adapter that will allow an Apple technician to connect the logic board with another MacBook Pro. It is important to remember that the tool will only work with the MacBook Pro.
The migration tool will purportedly be offered as an additional service to dead MacBook Pros under warranty or AppleCare. The fate of dead 2016 MacBook Pros outside of the warranty coverage is not yet clear at this point.
Users will also be offered the data transfer service for failure involving the SSD, Touch ID and wireless card failures. These components are all integrated in the logic board.
One For All, All For One
The emergence of the data transfer tool will certainly appease jittery MacBook owners. However, it also highlights a potential flashpoint. Since the SSD, Touch ID and wireless card modules are all soldered into the logic board, a failure of one of the components could entail the replacement of all modules.
That significantly increases the repairability challenge several notches higher since it will translate to more expenses.
One should note that, as of this writing, Apple is yet to confirm the existence of the special data recovery device.