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I had a Mid-2012 MacBook Pro that recently stopped booting. I narrowed this down based on troubleshooting of the boot device to likely the SATA/hard drive connector/cable no longer working for whatever reason.

I have decided to sell the system. I'd like to know if I remove the hard drive (or in this case, an after-market SSD I've installed) from the system, will there be any other data (i.e. iCloud data) stored on the system on any other chip that I can reset in any way? I plan to reset the SMC/NVRAM before I sell the system off of to someone else.

Additionally, if I remove the hard drive, is the system still associated to iCloud (specifically Find My Mac) or any other service? If so, how do I disassociate it? The system will no longer boot even if I put in my boot device.

Thanks!

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I have decided to sell the system. I'd like to know if I remove the hard drive (or in this case, an after-market SSD I've installed) from the system, will there be any other data (i.e. iCloud data) stored on the system on any other chip that I can reset in any way?

Unless you actually wipe the SSD clean, you could potentially leave all sorts of personally identifiable information on that drive. As for "data on a chip," there's nothing identifiable that stored. Apple uses your serial number and the MAC address of your network adapter to validate you to their services. Once you remove it from your account (see below), the hardware is now disassociated from you.

I plan to reset the SMC/NVRAM before I sell the system off of to someone else.

This does nothing. This is Internet folk lore that this has an actual function related to macOS. What these two things do is:

  • Reset the SMC (Systems Management Controller) is resetting what the rest of the industry calls the PMU (Power Management Unit). If you're having issues with power, battery, charging, etc. you would reset this chip

  • Reset the NVRAM, this doesn't store much - just pre-boot environment variables like where to boot from. It has nothing to do with iCloud.

Additionally, if I remove the hard drive, is the system still associated to iCloud (specifically Find My Mac) or any other service? If so, how do I disassociate it?

Yes. It's based on the Serial Number of the device. You can remove it from your account by logging into your AppleID account and removing it.

AppleID

The image below shows how to remove the device from your AppleID account (there's no SN# on that one because it's a VirtualBox VM of macOS Sierra running on my iMac)

enter image description here

iCloud & iTunes

You need to sign out of these as well. You go into your local settings and sign out of each service respectively.

Apple has an excellent support document What to do before you sell, give away, or trade in your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

The system will no longer boot even if I put in my boot device.

It will still boot from USB (if the drive is good). The best way to ensure that it's still good and it is in fact the cable is to hook it up via a USB to SATA adapter. If it is, you can wipe the drive and install a fresh copy of macOS on it.

(You might want to change out the cable - it's pretty inexpensive - see this link in the comments)

  • Your answer misses something at the end. Also, linking to Apple Support‘s article on selling Macs might help (I‘m on my phone right now, navigating support.apple.com is a pain) – nohillside Mar 2 at 14:49
  • @nohillside - yeah...I went to try and get an image of the AppleID remove...still in progress.... – Allan Mar 2 at 14:50
  • You seem to be missing my point. I plan to reuse the drive in another system as a boot device for my PowerEdge R610 (server) after I reformat it from APFS to NTFS. I'm not including it with the sale. What I'm asking is if there's a ROM or a EEPROM on the system that's storing information, which there appears not to be. I'd like to reset the SMC/NVRAM anyways just to cover all bases - not to reset data, but rather reset some settings for the buyer. The info about removing the device from my Apple ID is useful though, I forgot about that process. Thanks! – kelvintechie Mar 2 at 15:00
  • Thanks for the link from Apple. I'll look at it. Also, I'm aware that the drive should still boot from the USB interface as long as it's working (which it does, as I tested it in one of the bays on my server) using a USB-to-SATA adapter (which I happen to have), but a.) I'd like to sell the system anyway and b.) I've already formatted the drive to act as a solid-state cache on my server for data anyway. So RIP to that idea. – kelvintechie Mar 2 at 15:04
  • No worries...just putting it in there for completeness. – Allan Mar 2 at 15:05

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