Question Help! Need help transferring data from notebook with a broken screen.


Feb 19, 2013
Help! Broken screen on 2015 MacBook 12” USB-C ... Need help transferring data.

I have a major dilemma and need help/advice.

I have a:

2015 MacBook 12” 8GB RAM 512GB SSD 1.3GHz BTO.
(Single USB-C, not Thunderbolt.) (Not Pro, not Air, the 12”.)


Something heavy from the ceiling fell and crashed onto it, and killed the MacBook screen. The screen isn’t broken at all, but the hinge is, and I assume maybe a wire or connection inside, that feeds video to the screen. There is a deep dent around the hinge and the MacBook no longer closes. (The screen is not cracked, but the area above the keyboard near the hinge has a dent, and I assume this killed feed to the display.)

I THINK the logic board, etc is OK. The screen is black — but the keyboard lights up, and sound is made via volume buttons. The working light-up keyboard and volume make me think the MacBook processor/logic board/SSD internals are OK.


I need to transfer all my data and files from the 2015 MacBook 12” single-USB-C to either a new computer or a bootable hard drive.

I have a lot of OPEN web browser tabs in both Safari and Opera that I want to save and not lose. (Both are set to automatically reopen last session.)

Preferably, I don’t want to just copy files — but ALL my prefs, etc so I don’t lose web browser tabs, and all my customization options and settings, or my apps and licenses.

All the Apple stores/repair shops are closed in my area, so I have to fix this myself.


2014 MacBook Pro 15” 16GB RAM 1TB SSD
(USB-A 3.0, Thunderbolt 2) (No USB-C.)

(Please offer your advice, other suggestions, and INSTRUCTIONS):

I buy a USB-C AV adapter, HDMI cable, and HD TV/Monitor ... use this as the new/second display — and keep the MacBook as-is with broken display but functional main computer body.

HOW do I get the second display to work when the MacBook screen is currently dead? (I can’t see anything yet... I can only use the keyboard blindly. Is there a button-combo, etc?)

(This would just be a short-term solution, as I really want to get all the data off the MacBook 12” to a new drive or computer, in case something else dies, and so I can eventually leave it with a real repair shop when they re-open.)

I already have a 2014 MacBook Pro 15”. Can I possibly combine the 2 (two) MacBooks into 1, or something similar?

Both SSDs (1TB and 512GB SSD/hard drives) are completely FULL, so there is no significant extra space available. ...I can buy a separate external hard drive, or external drive enclosure, etc.

Can I somehow get/duplicate the 512GB SSD from inside the 2015 MacBook 12” to a separate EXTERNAL BOOTABLE drive?

FYI: Everything about the MacBook 12” is non-removable. The SSD is soldered onto the logic board, so I can’t just remove it. I’d have to find a way to duplicate it, etc.

What are my options working with a second 2014 MacBook Pro 15”? (SSD-full/no extra storage available.) (Remember, I am blind with a broken screen on the 12”.)

How do I proceed with these options?

I buy a used/wiped 2017 iMac 27”. (This will have an empty drive, and enough available storage.) Can I just transfer/migrate my MacBook 12” to the iMac?

(3B) How do I with a broken screen? How do I shutdown/restart when I can’t see? Can I just use target disk mode (link both computers via USB-C and press “T” on startup)?

Anything else?

All the Apple repair shops are closed, so I can’t have a repairman just replace the cable/display/components — for quite some time... plus I want to transfer my data before leaving at a repair shop.

(5) My ideal solution is somehow using my working 2014 MacBook Pro 15” that I also already own, and making a duplicate bootable drive from the broken-screen 2015 MacBook 12” ... but I am not sure how to do that... Does anyone have instructions?

ANY OTHER suggestions, advice, and instructions?