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Why does a MacBook Pro keep dialing in it’s location through Find My Mac after a clean install?

My MacBook was stolen last week, and I have just realized that I had set up iCloud and "find my iPhone".

It is currently showing up as off-line. I do not know whether it will connect if the thief has already wiped the system. I've set up to get an email alert if it connects.

If my MacBook has been wiped by a thief will the "find my iPhone" app still work to locate that hardware?

  • Do you mean mean your iPhome or Find your mac? the find your iPhone tracks your phone
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 13:31

1 Answer 1


If the computer has been wiped by the thief, Find my [Mac] may not work for it, and it will likely continue to show offline. There is nothing that can be done at that point in tracking the computer.

As pointed out by @Gerry (thanks Gerry), if you wipe your Mac out using Find my [Mac], it may still show up, unlike iOS devices. This is because a Find My [Mac] token is written to NVRAM (persistant memory on Intel Macs), and unless they go in and disable the feature themselves in OSX System Preferences - something they would probably do - you will continue to be able to track the device.

Email notifications do work very well, and it is entirely possible the thief is just waiting for awhile before booting up the computer. Hopefully, he will start it up, and connect to the internet, and allow you to get enough information together to get the police involved.

Most of the time, though, the more tech savvy thieves will wipe the computer immediately, and disable Find my [Mac] which makes it impossible to track the computer.

  • Note that formatting the computer's harddrive does not necessarily wipe the Find My Mac association, as that is saved in the NVRAM. If the thief/new owner completely reinstalls Mac OS X and later enables iCloud with his own account without re-enabling Find My Mac, it might still show up in your tracked devices.
    – Gerry
    Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 13:29
  • This behaviour is document in an earlier question of mine.
    – Gerry
    Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 13:30
  • Very interesting. Thanks @Gerry, I edited my answer. Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 14:03

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