My MacBook Pro is not working anymore, I have some valuable data that I want to retrieve right now.

This question is only software related. I can handle all the hardware stuff.

I know that the formats are different so I wanna make sure this will work.

Thank you.

  • 3
    Would you consider sharing some information on the drive? For example, is it an "integrated" SSD/soldered onto motherboard, or is it a user-replaceable drive. 2nd question: Do you know what file system was in use? – Seamus Aug 13 '18 at 2:47
  • What OS did you have installed? Are you using HFS+ or APFS? Was it encrypted with File Vault? – Allan Aug 14 '18 at 12:45

There are a number of variables we need to answer before we can answer the question around what kind of drive it is, and what format the drive was in.

If you can provide some more information I can tailor the answer to you a bit more:

  1. What model of MacBook Pro is it (which year and specification)
  2. What version operating system was the Mac running?
  3. What actually happened to the Mac to stop it working?

In the mean time this will give you some idea of what to do:

Drive type

The type of drive your MacBook Pro will dictate how you connect the old MacBook Pro drive to your PC.

Soldered SSD

First consideration is that more modern MacBook Pros' drives are soldered onto the logic board of the computer and cannot be easily removed, only Apple or an Apple Authorised Service Provider can retrieve this data.

This applies to MacBook Pro 2017 and 2018.

PCI Express SSD

This type of SSD is a removable stick, this can be removed easily using a take apart guide from iFixIt.com but would require a computer that supports this kind of SSD or a suitable adapter to read the data.

This applies to MacBook Pro models from 2013 to 2016.

SATA / IDE SSD or spinning drives

These are by far the easiest type of drive to remove and recover data from as they can be easily removed by following a take apart guide from iFixIt.com for your model, and the drive can then be connected to an appropriate USB to SATA or IDE adapter available readily on eBay or Amazon.

This applies to all models of MacBook Pro prior to 2013.

Drive format

After you've got the drive out the next question is whether it was running APFS or HFS+ file systems. if the drive is not a SSD i.e. it is a spinning disk it is most likely running HFS+.


There are a number of applications available for Windows that can read HFS+ formatted drives, although I have no personal experience with using any of these this article suggests 4 options: https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/4-ways-read-mac-formatted-drive-windows/


If the computer is running APFS the options are more limited, there is some new software from Paragon which also now supports APFS apparently.


If you don't fancy using any Windows software to do this, or don't want to pay you could look at borrowing a friends Mac which would natively be able to read both HFS+ and APFS drives if it is running macOS High Sierra.

This would allow you to copy the files onto another hard drive running ExFAT or FAT32 file systems which work on both macOS and Windows.

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