Apple shipped someone a refurbed MacBook Pro full of diagnostic software

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What you need to know

  • A Redditor bought a refurbed MacBook Pro online.
  • The machine arrived with Apple's diagnostic software installed.
  • The software included Apple's PhoenixCE.

Apple has a whole suite of apps that it uses when trying to diagnose problems with Macs, iPhones, and iPads. But none of those apps are supposed to be in the public domain. So when one Redditor received a MacBook Pro with diagnostic software installed, they quickly realized something wasn't right.

The story goes that the Redditor ordered a refurbished MacBook Pro as many people do each and every day. But when it arrived they noticed that there were a number of diagnostic tools installed across two drives. Those tools included PhoenixCE, a diagnostic app that Apple has proven protective of in the past. And, oddly, has managed to find its way out into the wild in similar fashion before.

When the owner reached out to Apple to confirm what to do, a support representative simply told them to "boot it into the recovery mode and do a fresh install of the OS". We would have expected a more comprehensive response but it's likely Apple Support simply wasn't aware of the importance of the software in question.

The new MacBook Pro owner says that they followed those steps as instructed, but that they "may or may not have made images of the two disks with all the diagnostic" apps on first.

YouTuber and repair shop owner Louis Rossmann has already suggested he'd be willing to take a look at the MacBook Pro for free. Just in case it needs any restorative actions, of course. Surely there's no interest in seeing whether the machine has any other secrets to tell, right?

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.