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Modelli A1419 / Fine 2012 / Processori 2.9 & 3.2 GHz Core i5 o 3.4 GHz Core i7, ID iMac13,2

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Recovering a late 2012 iMac's Fusion Drive using a different PC

The iMac itself seems nonrecoverable, no matter what I do I cannot get it to even boot anything. As such I want to recover the data on the Fusion Drive using a non-Apple computer. The HDD component is no problem, but I understand Apple's been using proprietary connectors for their SSDs some time now. It looks like SATA M.2 but it isn't, it's the 7+17 pins connector from below image:

Block Image

I'm pretty sure the drives are still good; for the HDD I ran a SMART check as well as both short and long self tests and everything was reported as fine. Even the SMART attributes don't show a lot of wear, and I can't imagine the SSD being used more excessively than the HDD (relatively speaking, due to size differences).

I have already tried just mounting the HDD from a Linux-based rescue distro, since I figure most important data would be on the HDD anyways. But apparently all metadata is saved on the SSD, so without it you can't see the original filesystem structure, making recovery pretty much impossible.

I'm looking for a way to stick the SSD in my recovery rig so that I can mount it together with the HDD. It only supports good ol' SATA, but I do have an adapter for both mSATA and actual M.2 to plain SATA. So even something for converting the Apple connector to mSATA would work, as I think everything in the chain still speaks the SATA protocol. It would "simply" be a conversion at the physical/electrical level so there shouldn't be any noticeable performance loss. I've checked out various adapters but they all convert to the Apple connector, which is the opposite of what I need.

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Wow we are taking a very big left turn here!

First your apps and data won’t be accessible to your ‘other’ PC. You require a Mac to run the Apps and access the data as macOS is not compatible with Windows or Linux or anything else! The second issue is the file system was upgraded from HFS+ to APFS some where along the line if you are running anything newer from Mojave onward. This also makes it even harder as only Mac’s can access APFS file system (you could get a driver for Windows to read HFS+, but only a limited number of file types like MS Word)

OK, your blade SSD is not important from a data perspective! Your data is strictly on the HDD, the SSD is used as a cache drive holding a duplicate of the more accessed data (like your OS files). As long as you shut your system down cleanly you won’t have any data lost.

I would encourage you on getting another Mac system making data recovery easier.

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Well I do have another Mac but it’s a laptop, so I can’t put either drive in there, The SSD format also seem to change with device, so a 2012 iMac blade SSD may not fit in a newer iMac or Macbooks.

I did find some recovery tools for Linux that support APFS, but they all complain that I need the SSD as well. I tried recovering data anyways but it only shows me files named like 00001234.doc, I also can’t see the directory structure, making finding specific files or even recovering entire directories impossible.

I even tried putting the HDD in a USB case and attaching it to my Macbook, but apparently the controller messes up the PMBR so I can’t even read any files.


What was the macOS release you had on the iMac as well as what you MacBook? Also what is the exact model of your MacBook.


I tried two Macbooks actually: Pro 2012 with El Capitan and Air (I think 2013, maybe 2015) with Catalina. The iMac was running Catalina as well. The disks are not FileVault-encrypted, by the way. When using the USB enclosure I get mysterious read errors, which instantly disappear when I put it inside a regular desktop PC using a direct SATA connection. I could try to boot a Hackintosh live USB but I would still need the SSD for the filesystem structure I think, otherwise macOS will probably just refuse to mount it.


@asahbi -Again if you had a proper shutdown the data the SSD had on it that was still in process would have been written to the HDD so the HDD is complete!

IF you didn't have a clean shut down then you could have some files still incomplete!

You will need to put your two drives back into a working iMac which supports the two drives so the process can complete. So what is the chance of this happening? Extremely Rare!

As to why you are seeing such odd files? It's most likely due to the systems you are using! You need to use SAME macOS as your system nothing older! And you only need the HDD! Run Disk Utility what does it tell you?


The Ultimate Guide to Apple’s Proprietary SSDs

Making sense of Disk Utility and disk structure in macOS 10.13-10.15

Inside the file system: 3 APFS containers and volumes

Why a Fusion Drive won’t last as long as an SSD

How long will the SSD (in my Fusion Drive) last?

Should you enable defragmentation on APFS hard drives?


@danj It wasn't a proper shutdown, the system locked up and a hard shutdown was necessary. Whatever's lost wouldn't be *that* important, what was already on there long before is what's most important.

You say nothing older, but the iMac is from 2012 and the Air I tried is from at least 2013. They both run/ran the same OS as well. Still I cannot read it with just the HDD. Disk Utility sees 2 disks (yes, disks, not partitions) with just the HDD plugged in, one of about 2.2 TB and another of ~800 GB. Together they make up the 3 TB HDD that it actually is. I'm pretty certain this is because the PMBR gets messed up and instead of presenting it as such, it somehow splits the devices. First Aid reports some problems but won't fix them, even in recovery mode.

For the record, using a gparted live USB and mounting the disk internally, I *am* presented with *one* disk of 3 TB. All SMART tests pass so I really don't believe the disk itself is dead (or on the way out).


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Frank sarà eternamente grato.
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