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Model A1419 / EMC 2806 / Late 2014 or Mid 2015. 3.3 or 3.5 GHz Core i5 or 4.0 GHz Core i7 (ID iMac15,1); EMC 2834 late 2015 / 3.3 or 3.5 GHz Core i5 or 4.0 GHz Core i7 (iMac17,1) All with Retina 5K displays

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Is there any way to recover data from an Apple Fusion drive?

My grandmother’s 2015 27” iMac just recently had its motherboard fail, and she wanted to get all of her data backed up off of it without paying for a new motherboard. Normally this would be very easy to do as all you need to do is pull of the screen and disconnect the hard drive, but when she purchased the machine, she got it with an Apple Fusion Drive instead of a regular HDD or SSD. My question is if there is any way to retrieve the data from the Fusion Drive myself without replacing the iMac’s motherboard and coping the data over to a different disk. As far as I know, there isn’t a very easy way to do this. Any suggestions on what to do?

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Puan 1


@bobsinger I have the same issue. How did you access to the HDD? Did you simply put the HDD in an enclosure as suggested by @danj and it showed up as a normal HDD on another Mac or you had more steps to do?


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There is no such thing as a Fusion Drive device! A fusion drive is two physical devices interconnected into a logical device (SATA HDD and the PCIe SSD)

The SSD is nothing more than a cache drive to the HDD. Holding duplicate data from the HDD as the SSD retrieval is faster!

So if the logic board failed your HDD still has all of the data on your HDD. Removing the drive placing it into a case will allow you to retrieve your grand mothers data. iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display Hard Drive Replacement

Just be aware an encrypted drive will require the saved key otherwise it’s not possible to recover the data.

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Puan 2


I always knew that a Fusion Drive was two separate drives, but I was always under the impression that data was moved between the two drives, and that there was no master copy on the HDD.


This is a quote from a website explaining how to recover data from an Apple Fusion Drive: "Data on Fusion Drive gets distributed between the two devices without mirroring or parity calculations and on top of that is heavily fragmented. The metadata needed for its correct reading is located on both components, thus, when separated, each of them becomes unusable from the point of view of data recovery."

You can find the full website here:

I am not really sure which is right as all of the websites that I visit explaining how to recover data from an Apple Fusion Drive says that the SSD and HDD cannot be separated.


@bobsinger - The first version was more involved! And you did need to do data recovery using both drives.

Apple redid things! Mojave onwards follows the better design (using APFS) so the SSD is strictly a cache drive having a duplicate of the most active data blocks on it. The update is always done to both drives in tandem so no data is at risk within the HDD other than if the HDD it's self fails!

Fusion Drives are old news now! As SSD prices have dropped so the need it really not there any more.


@danj Thank you for clearing that up for me! This is good as the iMac was last running Mac OS Big Sur. I'll get it all backed up right away.


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