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How to recover data from a dead MacBook Pro

Person recovering data from dead MacBook onto new MacBook

Whether your MacBook Pro® shattered on the sidewalk or landed in the bathtub, a dead computer is a serious bummer. What's worse? Losing all your photos, videos, and documents. But don't worry—your files may not be gone forever.

At Asurion, we teach you how to keep the devices you rely on most working smoothly every day, including what to do when your MacBook® won't turn on, keeps freezing, or gets lost or stolen. Here's how to recover data from a dead MacBook Pro®.

Ways to prevent losing your MacBook data

Before we delve into recovering your data, let's take a moment to ensure this predicament never happens again. The best way to safeguard the photos, videos, and documents on your MacBook is to store them in the cloud. It's easy to set up and use, and it keeps your data safe if you break or damage your computer. To learn more, here's our guide to using cloud storage on a computer as well as our iCloud® explainer, which includes set-up instructions.

Can you recover data from a dead MacBook Pro on your own?

Yes, you can. With the right tools, some tech savvy, and the help of the internet, you can recover your data. Whether you should do it on your own is another question. Sometimes, it's better to bring in an expert. Here's what you should consider.

How do you recover data from a dead MacBook Pro?

If you regularly update your documents, photos, and videos to a cloud storage system, like iCloud® or Dropbox®, breathe easy—all those files are waiting for you in the cloud, even if your computer is dead.

If you don't use cloud storage or if some files on your MacBook are not linked to the cloud, you can still recover your data. One way involves removing the internal hard drive, then installing it into an external hard disk drive enclosure. Other methods require you to download and use third-party software, like Disk Drill®, then boot your dead Mac in recovery mode and navigate a bunch of back-end instructions. Both can be complicated.

Do you have the right tools to recover data on your dead MacBook Pro?

If you decide to recover your MacBook data on your own, you'll need the right equipment. Depending on which method you choose, you'll need some of the following:

  • Your dead MacBook
  • A working Mac
  • An internet connection
  • Data recovery software
  • An external hard drive
  • A USB flash drive
  • A Thunderbolt cable
  • A macOS® installation file

If you don't have these items, or if you're uncertain about using them, reach out to a MacBook repair expert for help.

Is your MacBook covered by a warranty?

Check to see whether your computer is still under warranty. If it is, you may have access to technical support and coverage through Apple.

Should you bring your MacBook to a professional?

Recovering data is a common issue, and help is readily available. Just be sure to take your MacBook to a store with longstanding expertise and a good reputation, like your nearest uBreakiFix® by Asurion store.

Nothing ruins productivity like a laptop breakdown

With an Asurion Home+® protection plan, you can keep your downtime to a minimum. This one simple plan covers thousands of eligible devices in your home—from TVs and tablets to smart thermostats and locks—plus provides 24/7 live support from trusted experts for your tech questions. To learn more about laptop protection plans, visit

*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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