My Mac just went back to factory settings, by itself and without warning

Discussion in 'OS X' started by Eipifi, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2011
    It is going to sound strange and impossible, but it just happened to me about an hour ago.

    After logging in to my account (typing my password) OSX started asking about iCloud settings. Then, it loaded a fresh default desktop, default dock, default mouse settings, as if my OS account was just created. All the files in the home directory are gone, all the applications behaved as if I just installed them. OS just went back to factory settings.

    All my documents, source code, videos, family photos (40.000 pictures, 10 years of shooting), were wiped out. Interestingly, my applications were still there (Firefox, Eclipse, Photoshop etc). But everything stored in the home folder (including ~/Library/Application Support/ and so on) were deleted. The bootcamp partition is intact.

    Yes, I have a Time Machine backup from just a week ago. I am in the process of restoring the system. So to sum things up, all I lost was 9 hours of restoring the OS.

    Why am I writing this? To warn you.

    It was my first mac and this is my last one. I'm going back to my Debian.
    Guys, make backups.

    If anyone has any idea how this could happen, please share your thoughts.
  2. throAU, Feb 6, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013

    macrumors 68040

    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Sounds like your iCloud password may have been compromised, and someone logged into "find my iphone" and did "wipe my mac".

    Do you use the same password for icloud (or your password recovery email account) as you do elsewhere on the web (worst case being forums that you have signed up to using your iCloud/mobile me address)? If so, then this isn't an apple problem, it is a "you are practicing unsafe computing" problem - and whilst getting your mac wiped is a symptom of this is it far and away not the worst thing that could be done.

    I seriously doubt that your mac "wiped itself randomly".

    Change your iCloud password and the password on your recovery email address (in case that was the email they logged into to get your icloud password via recovery) ASAP. Like... NOW.

    If you don't want this to possibly happen, disable this feature:

    It may also be worth calling apple to see if someone else has pretended to be you, possibly via stolen credit card details, email address, etc to obtain log in to your accout.

    And yes, if you don't have backups you don't care about your data....
  3. macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2009
    Are you sure you didn't log in to a different user account? I would try to log out (Apple menu->Log Out), then make sure you select the correct user at the log in screen.
  4. macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    So you got hacked and it's Apple's fault? No, it's your fault. Go back to Linux.
  5. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    More frequent than once a week would also be good advice.
  6. macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Doesn't TM make hourly backups? At least the OP had a backup.
  7. macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    The most likely scenario is that all your user folders got moved away from their correct locations, and are hiding somewhere on the disk. But because they weren't where they should be, the computer acted as if the user account was brand new.

    1. Check the size of the used space on the hard drive. Is it roughly the same as expected?
    2. Check the /Users folder. Any other User accounts? In some versions of OS X, you could rename the user account, which would bring about this problem.
    3. Can you search for the files in Spotlight?

    Finally -- why wasn't TM plugged in for those 9 hours? If you have Lion or later, the computer saves backups to the hard drive, if the external isn't plugged in. So you might be able to recover those files.
  8. macrumors member


    Jan 10, 2013
    Denver, CO
    Sorry, have to call BS on this one. As others have pointed out, TM does hourly backups. And as well, OSX doesn't just re-start itself. You either

    a) somehow created and logged into a new account
    2) it got remotely wiped by someone logging in to your icloud account

    I can't believe 2 happened, as all of your apps are still there. A remote wipe kills everything.

    So to sum up, either you are just bored and spreading FUD or you logged in to the wrong account. And if you are an actual Linux user, you would know how to log in to the correct account.
  9. macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2013
    Sydney, Australia
    i just had the exact same thing happen to me. i was converting a movie in handbrake and the program closed and wouldn't reopen so i reset the computer. When i logged back in the same thing as the OP happened to me, my entire OS has gone back to factory. I have a TM backup so no major deal but it is really weird. My wife's account is untouched but mine was reset. i Have all my other apple products with me and I've received no emails saying that my apple id was used on another device. I have no idea why this happened but it is something apple should look into, and my iMac's only a week old too.:mad:

Share This Page