How to Remove a Forgotten Firmware Lock on a Mac
Y’all can at present remove the firmware password (+ erase all data) on a T2 Mac without Apple Support if you forgot information technology.
In this article, I will go over the history of the firmware countersign on Intel Mac computers. Afterward that, I will prove y’all a new way how to remove the firmware password (and erase your information) on a T2 Mac from 2018-2020.
(Scroll to section half dozen).
NOTE: This information is only for 2006-2020 Intel Mac computers. Apple tree Silicon M1 Mac Devices do not have a firmware password.
I will also go over my recommendations on how you lot can protect your data at the end of this article.
I volition respond the following questions.
- What does setting a firmware countersign on a Mac do?
- What are the differences in firmware passwords from the following years – 2006-2010, 2011-2017 & 2018-2020?
- How to yous set the firmware countersign in recovery.
- How to Enable & Disable Firmware Password in macOS.
- What can you practise if you forget the firmware countersign?
- How to remove the firmware countersign with Apple Support.
- Removing the firmware password on a T2 Mac with Apple Configurator 2.
- How long was this new manner possible? Does anyone at AppleCare know about this?
- What does this mean for educational activity, small & large companies, home users, computer recyclers, and criminals?
- What does Apple retrieve well-nigh this?
- How can I protect my Data on an Intel and M1 Mac?
1. What does setting a firmware countersign on a Mac do?
The firmware password was designed to protect your Mac. This mode protects confronting someone who wants to become your data. They tin’t boot into target disk fashion or recovery to access your files.
Long story brusque, if your Mac lands in the incorrect hands and you do NOT have the following items enabled beneath, all your data is at risk!.
- Firmware Password
- FileVault 2 Encryption
- Activation Lock / Find My Mac
A person could admission your information via Target disk mode or macOS Recovery, fifty-fifty if they do not know your user countersign!
When y’all set up a firmware password, users who don’t accept the password can’t start up from whatever deejay other than the designated startup disk.
https://support.apple tree.com/en-the states/HT204455
The Apple article below details different startup modes.
If you enable the firmware countersign, the following startup items are disabled.
Target Deejay Fashion
(N) – (Retrieve Netboot?)
Single User Style
– (Command S)
– (Command V)
Eject CD-ROM or DVD
– (Squirt Key)
– (Shift Primal)
The following startup options will work, only yous will exist prompted for the firmware countersign.
– (Command R)
– (Command Selection R
Command Option Shift R)
If you accept the firmware password enabled and you hear someone say “I reset the PRAM” …. NOPE!!!
2. What are the differences in firmware passwords from the following years – (2006-2010), (2011-2017) & (2018-2020)?
- (2006-2010) – The firmware password could exist removed past removing the battery, one stick of ram, and resetting the PRAM 3 times.
- (2011-2017) Apple tree inverse this when they soldered the memory to the logic board. The only way to remove the firmware password was to contact Apple.
- (2018-2020) Apple added the T2 security chip. The chip runs an operating system called BridgeOS.
This Os software tin can now be re-installed or updated using a 2nd Mac and Apple Configurator 2.
You at present demand to be an admin user that has a SecureToken to access the Startup Security Utility bill of fare to set and remove the firmware password.
iii. How practise you set the firmware password?
The firmware password tin can be set in iii different ways.
- Enable from macOS Recovery.
- Start up from macOS Recovery.
- When the utilities window appears, click Utilities in the card bar, then cull Startup Security Utility or Firmware Countersign Utility.
- Click Turn On Firmware Password.
- Enter a firmware password in the fields provided, then click Set Countersign.Remember this password.
- Quit the utility, then cull Apple menu > Restart.
sudo firmwarepasswd -setpasswd
Plough on “Find My” through iCloud, which enables the firmware password & Activation Lock.
4. How to Enable & Disable Firmware Password in macOS?
You can enable and disable the firmware password inside macOS using final.app
sudo firmwarepasswd -setpasswd
= Set a new password
sudo firmwarepasswd -bank check
= Cheque whether a password is set
sudo firmwarepasswd -verify
= Verify your password
sudo firmwarepasswd -delete
= Disable the password
five. What can you do if you forget the frmware password?
Yous will demand to contact Apple tree. Apple volition verify proof of ownership and also ask to verify your identity.
Let’due south say a person sold you lot a Mac with a firmware countersign on craigslist. Onetime after you need to enter macOS recovery, only to find the firmware lock. Y’all are out of luck if you have 2011-2017 Mac. You will not be able to notice the previous owner and you exercise non have proof of ownership.
vi. How to remove the firmware countersign with Apple tree Support.
If you have proof of buying, Apple can remove the firmware password and retain your data for Mac Devices from 2011-2020. They will walk you lot through a process (Shift-Control-Pick-Command-Due south) that volition show you a code that you tin can give the Apple support agent. The agent will employ that code to send you a file so you lot tin create a USB boot deejay that will remove the firmware password.
You tin can accept a look at this great article for a super deep dive into the firmware password setup. >
vii. Removing the firmware password on a T2 Mac with Apple Configurator ii.
Sorry that you had to scroll this far to get to the point of this article. With all the talk virtually how the firmware password option was removed from M1 Mac Devices, I wanted to explore a little history kickoff.
If you need to remove the Firmware countersign from a T2 Mac, all yous need to do is Restore BridgeOS with a 2nd Mac and Apple Configurator 2.
What does an Apple Configurator ii “Restore” practice on a T2 Mac?
- Erase the entire SSD (Macintosh HD & macOS Recovery)
- Articulate Saved NVRAM Settings i.eastward stored WIFI
- Reset any previous Secure Kicking Settings back to default
- Reinstall BridgeOS with the latest version bachelor from Apple tree.
- Remove the Firmware Countersign, if it was previously prepare.
Note!!!! This but works with a “RESTORE Total ERASE” non a “Revive”. A revive volition retain your data and only reinstall BridgeOS. The option will not remove your firmware password.
Y’all tin follow my instructions here >
This process is very close to the new M1 Apple Silicon Mac “Erase Mac Process” The difference is that macOS Recovery is still available afterward the process so you can hands reinstall macOS.
8. How long was this new fashion possible? Does AppleCare fifty-fifty know virtually this?
I am ever testing new ways to break and gear up macOS. When I first confirmed that this new manner worked, I was pretty surprised to say the least.
To find out, I tested with Apple Configurator two version 2.7.1 from 2019.
It is very possible that AC2 was removing the firmware password during the BridgeOS restore since the very starting time.
After all this time, did AppleCare even know about this option? Apple’s ain instructions only refer to the steps to contact CSS back up to remove the countersign via firmware hash / USB drive.
9. What does this mean for education, small & large companies, domicile users, computer recyclers, and criminals?
Let’s go over a few situations.
This new process does Non disable or remove Activation Lock.
If you apply the firmware password to protect your data?
– Technically you are fine because the AC2 Restore process will remove the firmware countersign & erase all of your data.
If yous are a small concern or education institution that is
relying on the firmware password
simply does not have Activation Lock enabled. – Yous are nigh likely trying to prevent students or employees from stealing the Mac and so erasing your configuration and reinstalling macOS. The other problem (unlike iOS) a person can bypass the Mobile device management screen. In this example, the Mac is long gone.
If you are a computer reseller or recycler.
This is GREAT news for y’all. You can now wipe the firmware password and reinstall macOS.
10. What does Apple recollect about this?
I reached out to Apple tree and asked them. The response was that this is expected.
Apple recommends enabling Activation Lock on Macs with the T2 security chip (2018-2020)
eleven. How tin can I protect my Data on an Intel and M1 Mac?
I concur with Apple’s recommendation, enable Activation Lock.
Additionally, you should also enable FileVault 2.
Enabling FileVault on a T2 Mac with macOS Catalina or newer will forbid an unwanted user from accessing your data in recovery.
If you didn’t plow on a firmware password and did not enable FileVault Encryption, your information is WIDE open up in macOS recovery. 1 interesting note, if FV2 is not enabled you lot will withal exist prompted for a password in Target Disk Mode.