2-year-old MacBooks with Apple’s T2 security chip are being turned into parts because recyclers have no way to login and factory reset the machines, reports Motherboard. “It’s a boon for security and privacy and a plague on the second hard market.” From the report: “How many of you out there would like a 2-year-old M1 MacBook? Well, too bad, because your local recycler just took out all the Activation Locked logic boards and ground them into carcinogenic dust,” John Bumstead, a MacBook refurbisher and owner of the RDKL INC repair store, said in a recent tweet. First introduced in 2018, the laptop makes it impossible for anyone who isn’t the original owner to log into the machine. “Like it has been for years with recyclers and millions of iPhones and iPads, it’s pretty much game over with MacBooks now — there’s just nothing to do about it if a device is locked,” Bumstead told Motherboard. “Even the jailbreakers/bypassers don’t have a solution, and they probably won’t because Apple proprietary chips are so relatively formidable.” When Apple released its own silicon with the M1, it integrated the features of the T2 into those computers.
“The functionality of T2 is built into Apple silicon, so it’s the same situation. But whereas T2 with activation lock is basically impossible to overcome, bypass developers are finding the m1/m2 chips with activation lock even more difficult,” Bumstead said. “Many bypassers have claimed solutions to T2 macs (I have not tried or confirmed they work… I am skeptical) but they admit they have had no success with M1. Regardless, a bypassed Mac is a hacked machine, which reverts to the lock if wiped and reset, so it is not ethical to sell bypassed macs in the retail environment.”
Responsible recyclers and refurbishers wipe the data from used devices before selling them on. In these cases, the data is wiped, but cannot be assigned to a new user, making them effectively worthless. Instead of finding these machines a second home, Bumstead and others are dismantling them and selling the parts. These computers often end up at recycling centers after corporations go out of business or buy all new machines. […] Motherboard first reported on this problem in 2020, but Bumstead said it’s gotten worse recently. “Now we’re seeing quantity come through because companies with internal 3-year product cycles are starting to dump their 2018/2019s, and inevitably a lot of those are locked,” he said. “When we come upon a locked machine that was legally acquired, we should be able to log into our Apple account, enter the serial and any given information, then click a button and submit the machine to Apple for unlocking,” Bumstead said. “Then Apple could explore its records, query the original owner if it wants, but then at the end of the day if there are no red flags and the original owner does not protest within 30 days, the device should be auto-unlocked.”