DTK Mac mini, scrapped by Apple, successfully refurbished by collector

Back in 2020, Apple offered select developers a special DTK Mac mini with an A12Z Bionic chip inside so they could develop apps for the platform Apple Silicon. After the official launch of the M1 Macs, the developers had to return their DTK Mac mini to Apple, which scrapped the machines. But one of these deleted DTKs was successfully restored.

Here is a restored and fully functioning DTK Mac mini

An electronics expert and collector known as “dosdude1” shared a video showing the motherboard of one of the Mac mini DTK computers returned to Apple. According to him, Apple deliberately disassembled and damaged these Macs, cutting off their motherboards so that no one else could use them.

These motherboards were sent back to China for recycling, where components such as NAND the flash was later removed. However, someone decided to keep one of these motherboards for themselves before finishing destroying it – and that's how dosdude1 got his hands on it.

Both inside and out, the DTK Mac mini looked exactly like any 2018 Mac mini, except it had an iPad chip instead of an Intel processor. In the video, dosdude1 shows how he was able to repair a DTK Mac mini motherboard and solder in new NAND flash to get it working again. After much hard work, he was able to boot the system, but there was more to do.

Despite rebuilding the motherboard, macOS was unable to complete the activation process. Luckily, there is a workaround for this. After making sure everything worked, the assembler placed the motherboard into the 2018 Mac mini case.

The whole process can be seen below:

No much to do with it

Since the selected developers had to sign non-disclosure agreements, they were all required to return their DTK after the end of the program. In 2021, Apple gave developers the $500 they paid for the DTK Mac mini as credit towards the purchase of an M1 Mac.

Of course, having a working DTK Mac mini at this point is more about owning a rare Apple device. than actually having a Mac that you can use every day. This is because since the developers had to return the DTK to Apple, the company has long since stopped providing software updates for this machine. More precisely, the latest version of macOS available for DTK is Big Sur 11.2.3.

Even so, it's interesting to see how someone managed to restore one of these computers, despite Apple&#8217 ; tries to make them disappear.

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