If you own or are going to own a latest Mac computer, this article can give you useful information that you may not know before.
Did you ever hear about Apple’s T2 security chip? It is a small hardware chip built in the Mac’s motherboard for added security to your personal data. The models having this tiny security chip include iMac Pro, Mac Pro 2019, Mac mini 2018, and MacBook Air/Pro 2018 and later.
A small tip: if you are unsure about your Mac’s model, go to Apple logo > About This Mac > Overview > System Report > Controller or iBridge. On the right you will see “Apple T2 Security Chip” or ” This Mac doesn’t contain any Controller devices”.
This second-generation security chip brings new capabilities to secure your data by redesigning and integrating several controllers such System Management Controller, image signal processor, audio controller and SSD controller. It works as a coprocessor and sits between the main Intel processor and the macOS. That is to say, many operations that used to be taken care of by the main processor now is taken care of by the T2 chip.
First of all, the upgraded T2 chip encrypts your fingerprints, improves face detection and prevents unauthorized access to the microphone and Face HD camera. As you know, hackers and malware can control your computer through the microphone or the camera. Therefore, the enhanced protection of those items can better secure your Mac and your online activities.
Secondly, with a dedicated AES encryption engine included on the chip, the on-the-fly encryption it uses will encrypt the data the same time you read and write the data. This makes the encryption very fast without affecting the performance of the SSD and all data are safe.
Thirdly, the T2 chip does hardware encryption instead of software encryption. It uses a special key to encrypt and decrypt the data in hardware. All data on the SSD will be automatically encrypted and decrypted without a password. In addition, that key is unique to each Mac model, so the SSD will be unable to be decrypted and data will be unreadable if removed.
Fourthly, the T2 chip ensures Secure Boot because startup process is considered to be the most vulnerable for hacking. With T2 equipped on your MacBooks or Mac desktops, booting from an external drive or other sources not approved by Apple will no longer be allowed. Therefore, hackers who want to steal your data by booting into another system or bypassing your login password will face a huge challenge.
The benefits you can get from having a T2 security chip on your Mac are not limited to the mentioned points above.
It is easy to understand that the better the data is protected, the more difficult to retrieve it when it is lost. Therefore, the downsides of the T2 chip are mostly associated with the difficulty of data recovery.
First, the T2 chip is the only processor that can encrypt and decrypt the data on Mac’s SSD, so nobody and no software can access the data if the T2 chip fails.
Because each T2 chip uses a unique key to encrypt and decrypt the data, the data is still unreadable on a compatible Mac with a T2 chip. That means some traditional data recovery methods are not working anymore. For example, some local recovery labs can take out the SSD and recover all raw sectors. Because all data are encrypted when they are written to the SSD, the raw sectors are still encrypted and unreadable. What’s more, target disk mode, which allows you to transfer files to another Mac when your Mac is not starting up (not due to startup disk corruption), is now useless, because the T2-secured SSD is not readable on another Mac.
If you have Time Machine backups, it will be easy to restore the information using one of the backed-up items.
If not, the T2 chip data recovery used to be regarded as “impossible” and “extremely difficult” without current backups. However, A Mac data recovery software called iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac can help you out. As far as we concern, it is the ONLY software in the market now to save deleted or lost data from T2-quipped Mac laptops and desktops.
Apple’s T2 security chip adds another layer of security on top of the FileVault. It prevents your peronal data from being stolen or hacked so well that retrieving data becomes very hard at the same time. Thanks to software developers like iBoysoft, accidentally deleted and lost Mac files from T2-equipped Mac laptops and desktops can be saved now.