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Model A1419 / EMC 3070 / Mid 2017 / 3.4, 3.5 or 3.8 GHz Core i5 or 4.2 GHz Core i7 Kaby Lake Processor (ID iMac18,3) / Retina 5K display. Refer to the older iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display (Late 2014 & 2015) guides as the system is very similar.

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Pulling old SSD from PIN locked computer. Keep data?

I have a 2011 iMac and it has worked fine for 4 years until it suddenly PIN locked. I have tried everything, but no joy. I got it free and it has a replaced mobo, so there is no calling Apple for help. It has an ifixit SSD conversion kit with a 2TB SSD.

I have a refurbished 2017 iMac coming. If I pull the SSD and put it in the 2017 will I have problems? I know I need a different thermal adapter and have that ordered already.

My understanding is that the PIN lock in on the motherboard, not the drive. I would hate to cause the replacement to get pin locked from the drive.

Should I clone the old drive to a backup, and then format it fresh and start with a clean system, then import my user accounts and data back from the clone?

Update (05/12/2022)

I pulled the drive and using a USB to SATA adapter, I plugged it into my laptop. The drive is completely empty. When the computer went into pinlock, it must have also erased the drive. I ran Disk Drill on it overnight and so far, it has found only a few pll files.

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If you put in a new SSD then your Apple user account is all that's needed to verify you own the data. But instead of opening up your newer system, how about just using an adapter cable like either of these:

Or how about using an external drive case like either of these:

Then after you've made sure it works look at first upgrading it to a bootable APFS drive as I bet you your drive is still HFS+ based which won't work as a bootable disk in your 2017 system.

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Thanks. Good idea. I have several of the adapter cables that I use for cloning drives and testing. That case will be nice to have too. That will make it easier to get up and going and get all my data switched around, have a newer OS and bootable APFS drive. (I didn't know they changed that.)

Eventually though, I want the drive to be installed into the computer because I have grand-kids that use this and they tend to unplug things that they shouldn't. Long term reliability of external booting is not something I trust.

I am still concerned about the PIN lock thing and if there is any remnant on the old SSD that can cause the new computer to go into PIN lock? Really an irritating problem that completely hosed a perfectly working (but old) computer.


@kirkdickinson - The Firmware lock (remote PIN) is part of the system board not the drive.

But! You still have your user account credentials which need to be accessed which is where your User ID which may also be your Apple ID are one in the same. As long as you have access to it you'll be able to access the data.

Reference: If your Mac doesn't start up all the way


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