Monday, December 30, 2019

“Erase Mac” Doesn’t?

Howard Oakley:

What does the terse phrase Erase Mac mean? If you think that it means completely erase your Mac, then I’m with you. But that apparently isn’t what Apple means, at least not when it comes to the Find My service and Activation Lock.


But hang on: according to another support note, ‘Erase your Mac’ is one of the features of Find My, which allows you to delete everything on your lost or stolen Mac.


Just to make this clear, let’s establish what Apple means by the following terms:

  • erase filedelete a file completely
  • erase volume/diskdelete the entire contents of that volume/disk
  • erase Mac – maybe (or maybe not) delete some Apple Pay data on that Mac.

This is so confusing:

See also: Apple’s Activation Lock Will Make It Very Difficult to Refurbish Macs (tweet).


Update (2019-12-31): I now think there are documentation issues and a bug but that Erase Mac is intended to erase the Mac. Please see the comments below and here.

5 Comments RSS · Twitter

Why are people migrating to Catalina? It’s *still* a trainwreck and will likely be so for the next 6-12 months.

Howard Oakley needs to really be harsh on Apple. We all do.

Messing with volume containers for no reason, “erase but doesn’t” (a few ‘features’ like this) and NOTARIZATION are major deal breakers for me.

That and “I approved a kernel extension but it didn’t load and there is no explanation whatsoever nor will it ever load” even from trusted vendors (Hello Tuxera) and I’m about ready to turn off SIP.

Get your act together Apple. Get back to “it just works."

@Leo Be careful not to single out Catalina too much, or the next release will simply reset complaints in people's minds. The ongoing trainwreck is macOS itself, Catalina is just one early railcar in the chain.

Hypothetically macOS with Catalina made an approximation step to iOS as iOS did in opposite direction with iPadOS. The reasons are obvious in spite of denying the complete merger of the two OS's. Apple is planning Macs with ARM processors and a successive adaptation of both seems to be mandatory and maintaining an identical core for iPadOS (iOS too ?) and macOS will bring huge savings and less manpower. Now we have AFPS in both systems and isn't Notarisation and Hardened Runtime a restrictive step to run in the future apps sandboxed as in iOS? The problem described by Mr. Oakley seems to be the result of big secrecy at Apple and lack of communication and the result is Find my iPhone which was rashly adapted to Mac.

Is it possible this is confusing because Howard is confused? I drew different conclusions from the screenshots and documentation he provided: namely that removing a Mac from your iCloud account is what removes activation lock on the device, not erasing the Mac, and that erasing the Mac erases the Mac.

@A Person It’s possible. I read your comment on Howard’s site, and I think you’re right that it’s the X rather than Erase Mac that is intended to remove Activation Lock. This is supported by the fact that the top part of the support document says that “Activation Lock can continue to deter anyone from reactivating your device without your permission, even if you erase your device remotely.” I wonder if the erasure process has changed with Catalina to only erase the data partition and not the system one (which is I think what iOS does)? I haven’t tested what it actually does, but I think the intent is to delete all user data, not just Apple Pay.

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