Though Apple has always been famous for their data security, sometimes it can be a double-edged sword, especially for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro introduced in 2018 and later. These notebooks have s special design, the T2 security chip. On one hand, it provides automatic full-disk encryption for your data on the SSD. On the other hand, if your computer is T2-equipped, it’s almost impossible to recover your lost data. What is the T2 data encryption exactly? If you want to recover the lost data, what can you do? Don’t worry, you will get the answers from this post.
Introduction to T2 Encryption
Apple T2 chip made its debut in the iMac Pro 2017. Then it can be found in a Mac mini, MacBook Air/ Pro model introduced in 2018 or later. The biggest highlight of Apple T2 chip goes to the data encryption. It enables automatically real-time full disk encryption for your data in the built-in SSD.
When the T2 chip automatically encrypts the files stored on the SSD, it will generate a random serial key that is unshown to the user. This means that you are unable to use one Mac’s T2 chip to decrypt another Mac’s T2-encrypted data.
What’s more, the T2 chip verifies two passwords to make sure you are permitted to access to the SSD. They are the FileVault password and the login PIN. By default, they are the same. If you fail to enter the password for limited times, the T2 chip will lock the SSD and you shall never decrypt the data within. If you remove the SSD, and use some equipment or software to scan it, all you can see is the unreadable ciphertext.
Needless to say, the designs of T2 chip definitely makes your data on the SSD much more secure than before. Meanwhile, it also makes data recovery much more difficult. So, how can you restore lost data from T2-equipped Mac?
How to Recover Lost Data From T2-Secured Mac?
So far, we can provide three solutions to troubleshoot this issue.
1. Use Time Machine Backup
Time Machine is a built-in backup tool on Mac computers. And things can be a lot easier if you have used Time Machine to back up your data before you lose it. You can simply restore the deleted or lost data following these steps.
Restore Files If Your Mac Turns on Successfully:
- Connect your Time Machine backup disk with the Mac.
- Go Apple menu-system preferences- Time Machine or Launchpad-other- Time Machine.
- Tick the box Show Time Machine in the menu bar.
- Locate the folder where you lost data.
- Click the icon of Time Machine in the menu bar and choose Enter Time Machine.
- You’ll see all the backups of this folder and you can click up and down arrow to find the file you want to restore. You can also use the timeline on the edge of the screen to locate.
- Select the file and click Restore.
- The Time Machine will copy the file back to its original location.
Restore Files in macOS Recovery Mode:
- Connect your Time Machine backup disk with your Mac.
- Turn on the Mac. Press and hold Command +R to boot the Mac into macOS Recovery Mode.
- You’ll see the macOS Utilities window.
- Select Restore from Time Machine Backup and click Continue.
- Select the Time Machine backup disk. Click Continue.
- You’ll be asked to enter the password if the backup disk is encrypted.
- Select the backup you want to restore. Click Continue.
- When it’s done, restart your Mac.
This solution is perfect for people who have set up Time Machine before actually losing the data. But what if you don’t back up regularly?
2. Recover Lost Data with Mac Data Recovery Software
As what’s mentioned above, most of the data recovery software on the market is not able to scan encrypted disk, not to mention decrypt it. However, there’s one exception. That is Mac data recovery software.
Special-designed Mac data recovery software makes great improvements in T2 chip data recovery. It can rescue deleted or lost documents, images, videos from MacBook internal SSD with easy operations. APFS data recovery, lost partition data recovery, and deleted file recovery are also possible. Overall, Mac data recovery software does great help for Mac users.
3. Recover Data with the Help of Apple Repair Staff
Based on the T2 chip’s advanced security features, Apple introduced new data recovery process. The repair staff can fulfill data transfer if they are presented with partially functional logic board of the T2-equipped Mac. Also, the Mac has to be able to turn on.
To transfer the data, the repair staff will use a Thunderbolt (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) or Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to USB-A cable and another host computer, plus an external hard drive where the data will be transferred to.
However, under some conditions you can do nothing to get your files back from a T2-equipped Mac. For example, the logical board is broken or severely damaged, or you can’t turn on your Mac. Also, if the T2 chip is physically damaged, you have no ways to recover your data.
Other Features of Apple T2 Security Chip
Besides the on-the-fly data encryption, the T2 chip has one more highlight which significantly increases the data security. That is the Secure Boot function.
It will verify the integration of the computer’s startup process. That means T2-equipped Mac computer will only allow itself to boot with Apple-trusted hardware. Otherwise, it will stop starting up. It prevents hackers from stealing your information when booting up with external hard drives.
Besides, Apple improves performance in other aspects. For instance, the T2 chip’s image signal processor greatly improved the quality of the picture. Face detection with the Face Time HD camera also becomes easier.
Apple T2 chip brings both data security and data recovery to a new level. Though impossible the mission sounds, you can actually have a way to recover your precious files from the T2-secured Mac. However, to prevent further data loss, you should never forget to back up your Mac.