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Apple removes the Customer Data Migration Tool connector in the the 2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

The Customer Data Migration Tool connector as seen in the 2016 MacBook Pro. (Source: MacRumors)
The Customer Data Migration Tool connector as seen in the 2016 MacBook Pro. (Source: MacRumors)
iFixit has discovered in its recent teardown of the 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar that Apple has removed the Customer Data Migration Tool connector from the logic board. The connector helped in transferring data to a functioning MacBook in the event of a logic board failure but it now looks like customers should use inbuilt backup options such as Time Machine on a frequent basis to safeguard their data.

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If you've been contemplating about purchasing a 2018 MacBook Pro, apart from the keyboard and throttling issues, there's one more fact to be wary of. iFixit's recent teardown has revealed that the new logic board forgos the Customer Data Migration Tool connector, which means you need to start paying more attention to taking regular backups as a precaution against logic board failure. 

In all MacBook Pros with Touch Bar, the SSD is soldered on to the logic board. The 2016 and 2017 models provided a connector on the logic board, which can interface with the Customer Data Migration Tool. So in the event of a logic board failure but the SSD still intact, a Genius Bar or an Apple Authorized Service Provider can simply connect the tool to the logic board and recover user data using the Migration Assistant onto a functioning MacBook. 

Now, in the 2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Apple seems to have removed this connector making the tool incompatible. MacRumors says it has contacted multiple sources who have confirmed that data recovery is not possible if the logic board has failed. As long as the board is functioning, data can be recovered using Target Disk Mode. The sources say that the connector had to be removed because the 2018 models feature the T2 chip that provides hardware encryption for the SSD. 

An internal 2018 MacBook Pro Service Readiness Guide also prompts service centers to advise customers for frequent Time Machine backups to safeguard data in the event of a logic board failure. While it goes without saying that periodic data backups are highly recommended, the removal of this useful fall back method will mean that for an unforeseen logic board failure can prove to be very dear in terms of data loss.

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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - Managing Editor - 1390 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
Though a cell and molecular biologist by training, I have been drawn towards computers from a very young age ever since I got my first PC in 1998. My passion for technology grew quite exponentially with the times, and it has been an incredible experience from being a much solicited source for tech advice and troubleshooting among family and friends to joining Notebookcheck in 2017 as a professional tech journalist. Now, I am a Lead Editor at Notebookcheck covering news and reviews encompassing a wide gamut of the technology landscape for Indian and global audiences. When I am not hunting for the next big story or taking complex measurements for reviews, you can find me unwinding to a nice read, listening to some soulful music, or trying out a new game.
contact me via: @Geeky_Vaidy
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 07 > Apple removes the Customer Data Migration Tool connector in the the 2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2018-07-25 (Update: 2018-07-25)