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I have a 1.5 y.o. Macbook Air A1466. Today i left it turned on on charger and went to work. Got home and found it hung. Reboot with powerbutton resulted in a question mark of death.

I tried disconnecting all cables, did PRAM reset and tried internet recovery. There's simply no SSD in the disk utility, only a recovery partition. Hardware test showed no errors, but had no single mention of hard drive either. I had no backup (I know).

Is there any way to recover my data? Is this something apple geniuses will be able to help with?

Laptop still under warranty, but Im worried about files on the HD. Are they gone forever?

EDIT: Visited genius bar today - they ran a couple of tests and said that SSD is dead. All other components passed the tests. They recommend I contact a 3rd party data recovery company and agreed to replace the disk under warranty after recovery is done. They won't give me back the faulty disk, but would sell it to me for $545+GST - price of a new working SSD if bought from them. (This is the hard way to learn importance of periodic backups. Easy way - learn from my mistakes).

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More than likely the files ARE recoverable but the difficulty & cost to do so could either be a little or a lot. My first step would be to start a case with Apple, either by calling AppleCare (1-800-APL-CARE), visiting an Apple Retail Store’s Genius Bar (be sure to make an appointment beforehand) or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP). This link can help you find an Apple Store or AASP in your area.

With the age of your Mac and the issue you describe it might be tied to the MacBook Air SSD REP that Apple announced a few months ago. Once they evaluate the issue, which will likely be fairly quick since it's possibly a known issue, they can provide you with info on repairing the Mac and recovering the data. Apple’s policies prevent their staff from assisting (aside from recommendations) with data recovery but AASPs may be able to provide onsite data recovery or more budget friendly recommendations.

The only other thing you might attempt on your own before seeking data recovery from a specialist is to try and browse your Mac from another Mac. You can do this by using Target Disk Mode, which is triggered by holding T while powering on your MacBook Air. Once it’s in Target Disk Mode you can connect it to another Mac using a Firewire (with Thunderbolt adapter for your Mac) or Thunderbolt cable. A functioning drive would then show up in the secondary Mac’s OS as an external hard drive.

Beyond that your best bet is consulting your local AASP and/or AppleStore for data recovery recommendations.

  • Thanks for the Air SSD REP link. Receipt is dated 15 June 2012, so I could be affected. I've been to the genius bar today, they confirmed - laptop's controllers are fine but SSD is simply invisible. All they could do is recommend a 3rd party data recovery. – Paul Jan 15 '14 at 8:52
  • @Paul - I'm glad to hear they at least didn't give you any sort of runaround but I wish they had found a dead logic board or something instead. Definitely reach out to DriverSavers, or whoever they recommended, and get a quote. You might be surprised. Typically data recovery from SSDs is on the expensive side but I've seen a few instances where it surprised me. Good luck! – Mr Rabbit Jan 15 '14 at 12:48

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