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2017 iMac Pro Data recovery

I have a 2017 iMac Pro that has a dead motherboard. It has 2 512 SSD that were visible as 1TB when the computer was working. Are there any ways to rescue this data? I was thinking about removing the drives but I am not sure if the T2 chip makes this impossible. Even so, I cant seem to find any adapters for them. Thanks! Any help appreciated!

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Sadly you are in a bit of a pickle! Apple uses RAW flash modules not true SSD's which can confuse people. A true SSD has a controller and RAM besides the Flash storage modules.

For reference here's what a iMac Pro or the current MacPro uses

Block Image

The Red marked chips are the Flash and that little tiny Orange chip is the ID and buffer chip no Controller or RAM!

Now lets look at a Samsung (Apple custom) blade SSD

Block Image

Here the Red Marked chips are the Flash and the Blue marked chip is the Controller and also has the RAM within it.

Unlike the Samsung SSD the iMac Pro uses the T2 chip as its controller! And as you also guessed the T2 if left on default will encrypt the data held within the Flash chips.

So sadly you can't remove the Flash units and install them into a different system (another iMac Pro or anything else). You'll need to visit an Apple Store who has in-store staff who know how to service your iMac Pro if you really need to retrieve your data. There is a small (and I do mean very small) possibility they can gain access to the data if you had altered the setting so the drive is not encrypted.

Otherwise unless you don't backup religiously and/or work off of an external dual sync drive your toast!

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Unfortunately apple has been useless on this, would you be able to point me in the right direction for an adapter? Very good information

@iloveapplekinda _ - Adaptor?? No such animal sorry ;-{

I think you need to find another Apple Store who has the staff to help you. But as I explained there is DFU mode via a second Mac system which might be able to salvage your data but that is only possible if you turned off encryption. If you haven't the data on the flash units is locked in never to be accessed again!

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Realistically, your only option on these for data recovery is to get the board working again or replace the board through Apple. Which is quite pricey. The problem, as Dan mentioned, is that these are not really true SSDs. They do not contain a controller for the storage, so putting them into another iMac pro, or a USB adapter (which as far as I know was never made) would not work, because all of the data as to what information is stored where, is within the T2 chip on the logic board for the iMac.

It would be like looking at a map with no street names or designations for anything. All the data is still there, but there's no way for the machine to know what is what. And with the iMac Pro, there are 2 drives paired together, so there is the additional complication of that.

Depending on what is wrong with the logic board it may be an easy fix for someone who is competent at board level repairs, but I know there is not a lot of information available for those.

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Getting the board fixed is the only way to salvage the data as long as the T2 chip is logic is not altered.

Replacing the logic board is an option but your data is in never - never land ;-{

As a new logic board, T2 will not have the same encryption key as your original board had (unless you had disabled encryption when you got the system.

@danj I don't recall whether or not these flash modules are able to be paired with another board without wiping the data via Apple's repair process, I no longer have access to those documents. But that would be the sort of replacement I meant, certainly cannot be done without Apple's intervention.

@flannelist - If the flash boards are > Not encrypted < one could place them into a second system and then via a DFU connection from a second Mac you could get the data off. Finding a shop with an iMac Pro and the skills on how to use DFU and willing to do it is still a big reach!

And this still won't help if the system was not altered before hand disabling encryption which is less than .001% possibility! ;-}

I told the woman I was helping to cry profusely when she talks with the genius, they felt guilty enough to do it, her husband didn't like his stuff encrypted so she was lucky!

Many people don't realize all of the Apple systems now are even harder if the logic board has a failure! The storage is soldered!

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The SSDs can be plugged in to an adapter and connected to another computer, therefore allowing data access. The T2 chip just doesn't allow the computer to run on another SSD

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Which adapter would work for these SSD's?

@iloveapplekinda An iMac Pro SSD to USB adapter would work, but none are on eBay right now. Dan said that this would only work if you disabled drive encryption on them.

Yeah, I know I would like to try and rescue the data via adapter if I could find one.

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