This article is for MacBook logic board component-level repair professionals, written by IT-Tech Online, the MacBook repair specialist in Melbourne, Australia.
Mac data recovery from a malfunction MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or iMac used to be a simple task as all those Apple computers come with a removable HDD or SSD drive. We can remove the HDD or SSD drive from the faulty Mac and put it into a working Mac and start the data transfer process straight away. Sometimes we need some data recovery software to assist the data transfer process. In extreme cases, we need to replace the data read-write head or the control board inside an HDD drive. Armed with these tools and techniques, we don’t have to know how the HDD/SSD internal circuitry work and still can achieve a high data recovery success rate. Unfortunately, these Mac data recovery methods will not work on the new MacBooks.
Started in 2015-16, the new MacBook logic board designs have shifted from the removable HDD/SSD drives to the none-removable SSD chips. According to Apple, integrated SSD chips on the logic board will increase the data transfer speed, data security of the new devices. On the other hand, retrieving data from these logic boards with onboard SSD chips becomes a challenging task, especially from a water-damaged MacBook. Nowadays, we have to understand how the SSD circuitry works in order to achieve a certain success rate.
The Mac data recovery technique we discuss below can be applied to 2016 to 2017 MacBook Pro touch bar models including the 13″ A1706 and 15″ A1707 MacBooks. IT-Tech Online provides leading Mac data recovery services in Melbourne and offers mail-in services all over Australia.
The customer has spilled a glass of water on the keyboard of this 15″ MacBook Pro A1707 with touch bar. The MacBook worked for a while and then powered off automatically. Since then the customer could not power up the MacBook any more. He took the laptop the Apple store. The genius bar technician told him the logic board of this Macbook Pro is faulty and there is No Way to retrieve the data from the dead MacBook Pro. He has got the same story from six other computer repair stores before coming to us. The data in this MacBook is very important to the customer. Unfortunately, he did not have a backup of the data. This is the reason why he didn’t give up searching for help.
The logic board CPU core power supply is shorted to ground. The CPU has been killed due to a high voltage directly applied to it. The CPU core power rail MOSFET QA640 and lifeboat port J9600 has been burned. The screen and keyboard are also damaged. This mac is not economically repairable. Our task is to recover all the data from the onboard SSD chips of this dead logic board. This is a 15″ MacBook Pro touchbar A1707 manufactured in 2016 and the logic board part number is 820-00281.
There is a port named lifeboat on the logic board of this 2016-2017 MacBook touch bar model. The port is designed to recover data from the dead logic board. We don’t have to repair the whole logic board as replacing the damaged CPU is very difficult and expensive. Instead, we only need to repair the SSD circuit section of the logic board. Once the SSD circuit and the lifeboat port are repaired, we can connect the data recovery tool to the logic board and retrieve the data, hopefully.
Below is the electronic diagram ( Apple schematics 820-00281) of the lifeboat port in a MacBook Pro touchbar A1707. In a working Mac logic board, there is a special cap covering the lifeboat port. So the PCH (Platform Controller Hub) on the left-hand side can communicate with the SSD chips on the right-hand side via the lifeboat port. We have a separate article “How does the PCH communicate with the SSD circuit in a Mac logic board” on our blog to discuss the working principle of the SSD circuit. Here we emphasise on how the Apple data migration toolkit (076-00236) works.
As long as the SSD circuit of the dead logic board is not damaged, we can remove the cap of the lifeboat port and insert the Apple data migration toolkit to the port to retrieve the data. Once we power on the toolkit and connect it to a working Mac ( the one we use to read data from the dead Mac), the toolkit will perform the following tasks by sending these control signals and power rails to the dead MacBook. Then the toolkit will finally take control of the SSD NAND chips on the faulty logic board and we can start the data transfer process.
J9600, u9300 etc. are the chip number on Apple logic board electronic circuit diagrams (schematic 820-00281).
If you are in need of mac data recovery, get in touch now to find out how the team at IT-tech can help you.
This article is written by IT-Tech Online, the MacBook repair specialist.