A few years back I had to send a Powerbook to Apple for hardware repairs (the optical disc stopped working and had to be replaced.)

I had FileVault enabled, and the tech at the time told me I'd have to disable that encryption in order for them to implement the repairs. So for privacy I just re-formatted the entire OS (having a backup, of course) before handing it off.

Is it still the case that Apple requires FileVault(2) to be turned off before they will repair a Macbook?


The response I got from Apple Support:

For many repairs, as well as quality checks after a completed repair, it is necessary that our technicians can boot the Mac. If FileVault is enabled, that means that we do need to note the password for the time of the repair.

A viable alternative is to wipe the Mac’s hard drive or flash storage prior to the repair and restore from a backup afterwards.

So either prepare to hand off your password to them, or empty your hard drive before giving the macbook for repair.


Firstly, I think this would be better handled by calling Apple Support directly. I do not see mention of this in any of the repair terms and conditions documents on apple.com.

Secondly, regardless of whether Apple requires FileVault 2 to be disabled or not, I would recommend that you follow the same process you did before - backup all the data, reformat it and install OS X afresh before giving it for repair. This would protect your privacy and also reduce (or prevent) wasting time with support if/when they inform you that they would have to format the drive and install OS X because it's encrypted with File Vault 2.

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    I can't speak to whether or not it's still required but as a former technician I can advise against wiping all of the data. Often when I've seen this practice it has ended with a diagnosis of "NTF" (no trouble found) and a disgruntled customer, who finds the issue returns when they've arrived home and restored their data. Choosing reputable service shops (Apple, Apple Authorized Service Provider, etc), rather than big box Best Buy types, is a better solution in my opinion. – Mr Rabbit Oct 23 '13 at 16:27
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    @Mr Rabbit - I'm a consultant and have client data on my laptop. I absolutely cannot ship it to Apple without securing it in some fashion. Even as a consumer I would be loathe to send personal data on a laptop to be repaired. – Caffeine Coma Oct 24 '13 at 14:57
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    @CaffeineComa how about a password? I don't see why you can't enable the guest account and secure your admin profile with just a password. Apple won't brute force your account to get their hands on you client's data. – user10355 Oct 24 '13 at 18:40

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