MacBook security chip disrupts notebook resale

by Jerry

Thanks to the T2 chip, Apple computers have one more layer of security to prevent external threats. The protection module, however, has become a headache for anyone wishing to resell used MacBooks. That’s what a motherboard report shows on Tuesday (24).

The report is part of John Bumstead, owner of the RDKL Inc store in the United States, which repairs and refurbises MacBooks to be sold again.

After all, in addition to users, many companies sell their old computers to refurbishers when updating their office equipment or when they close their doors.

On Twitter, Bumstead said last week that MacBooks that bring the T2 chip with activation lock enabled “are flooding recyclers,” preventing the equipment reconditioning process.

In its assistance, for example, there were at least fifteen units of the MacBook Air with Apple M1 in that state.

The coach even played with the situation. “How many of you would like a 2-year-old MacBook M1?” he tweeted. “Well, that’s too bad, because the local recycler just removed all the activation lock logic boards and turned them into dust.”

The situation, however, is a little more critical. After all, while the chip offers benefits to users, the component can prevent the computer from being brought to market second-hand, even if in perfect condition.

MacBooks are hard to recycle
The case reaches professionals who give a survival in the computers to market them in sequence. As pointed out in the report, when preparing the equipment used to return to the market, these professionals do a complete cleaning on the machine.

Thus, the user receives the device ready to be used as if it were new.

The problem is that this procedure has become more complicated in recent years. After all, thanks to the security of the T2 module, presented in 2018 and which was incorporated into apple m1 and m2 processors, the system triggers a MacBook lock even after cleaning.

Then only the original owner of the computer can use it again, as with an iPhone that is lost or stolen by iCloud.

On the one hand, this is positive. After all, if the notebook is stolen, there will be a last-minute solution to prevent criminals from taking advantage of the equipment. Hackers also face another barrier to prevent attacks on Macs.

On the other hand, it prevents professionals, such as Bumstead, from reusing computers that are in great condition. The technician even observed that there are people trying to overcome the barrier of the safety chip. But this is not the right way.

“A Mac with bypass is a hacked machine, which reverts to locking if cleaned and reset. So it’s not ethical to sell hacked Macs,” he told Motherboard.

But all this leaves a question: if the equipment has been legally passed on to recyclers, isn’t it better to contact the former owners to disable iCloud blocking? Well, it’s not that simple.

“Previous owners don’t return calls and large corporations that dump 3,000 machines assume they’ve been destroyed,” Bumstead said.

Macs are disassembled for sales parts
The solution ends up being the opposite of what these professionals want: the waste of computers. To the specialized website, the technician explained that disassembles these locked computers and sells the components.

This practice has also become common among other professionals in the field. If the computers are locked, there’s nothing to do.

The problem is that this procedure should not even be an alternative, as MacBooks are machines with remarkable durability and excellent candidates for resale. I even sold my old MacBook Air (2017) last year to help me pay for the new notebook.

However, I got a little headache after the sale: the first buyer returned the notebook to me because I couldn’t access your iCloud. To solve the problem, I had to remove it again from my iCloud – to this day I don’t know how it came back to my account – and reset nvram.

Only after these two procedures, the second being not so simple for laypeople, is that the computer was released to a new owner. And look, the 2017 MacBook Air doesn’t even have the T2 chip.

In this case, the situation is even more complicated, because the T2 is a real wall.

Apple contradicts itself by limiting recyclers
This whole situation is in contradiction to one of Apple’s most defended values in recent years: environmental protection. Because it doesn’t make any sense to have to practically discard a machine in perfect condition.

Especially when considering that, according to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020 study, made by the United Nations (UN).

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