Bought a used MacBook Pro but can't factory reset it.

0ddmonkey

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 26, 2017
6
1
I bought a used MacBook Pro recently and I'm trying to factory reset but can't because it seem to have a firmware password (a screen with a lock on it asking for the password).

I emailed the seller and he said he factory reset it and doesn't remember putting any other passwords in but the password used to log in.

I know I have to have proof of ownership but can I prove it if I bought it online?

What can I do to bypass this problem?
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,474
24,246
I bought a used MacBook Pro recently and I'm trying to factory reset but can't because it seem to have a firmware password (a screen with a lock on it asking for the password).

I emailed the seller and he said he factory reset it and doesn't remember putting any other passwords in but the password used to log in.

I know I have to have proof of ownership but can I prove it if I bought it online?

What can I do to bypass this problem?
Uh oh. Firmware password is bad news. Nobody would accidentally set one; it's pretty difficult to that. Likely stolen if I had to guess.

Return it. Or if they have the original invoice from Apple, get that and take it into an Apple Store as they'll be able to remove the password from there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fishrrman

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,540
2,305
Delaware
Can you tell us what model MacBookPro you have? if older than 2010, you could reset it yourself.
If newer than 2010, you have to take in to Apple (with your proof of ownership)

BTW, the previous owner would not have been able to do a "factory reset" without entering that firmware password.
Ask previous owner for that "login password", as it's possible that it would be the same password that set the firmware password, too...
Or, return it, as getting a "proof of ownership" that will be acceptable to Apple will be a challenge for you --- without the help of the previous owner, who also may not be able to prove ownership.
Good luck!
 

0ddmonkey

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 26, 2017
6
1
Uh oh. Firmware password is bad news. Nobody would accidentally set one; it's pretty difficult to that. Likely stolen if I had to guess.

Return it. Or if they have the original invoice from Apple, get that and take it into an Apple Store as they'll be able to remove the password from there.
I doubt it's stolen...at least I hope it's not. They wouldn't be able to factory reset it if it was stolen since they need the password to factory reset it.
How do I get an invoice from the seller?
This is my first time dealing with a macbook.

Can you tell us what model MacBookPro you have? if older than 2010, you could reset it yourself.
If newer than 2010, you have to take in to Apple (with your proof of ownership)

BTW, the previous owner would not have been able to do a "factory reset" without entering that firmware password.
Ask previous owner for that "login password", as it's possible that it would be the same password that set the firmware password, too...
Or, return it, as getting a "proof of ownership" that will be acceptable to Apple will be a challenge for you --- without the help of the previous owner, who also may not be able to prove ownership.
Good luck!
It's a macbook pro 2015. Model number A1502
Exactly what I thought. No way can he factory reset it without any passwords.
But everything definitely seem to be factory reset.
I tried to use the login password but it didn't work.


Idk what to ask him. He said he's gonna talk to his friend, which I'm assuming is the previous owner, about the password.


If all fails, then I guess I'll return it. Just hope it doesn't come to that.

Thank you so much for the responses guys
 

New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
1,914
1,491
Shanghai
I doubt it's stolen...at least I hope it's not. They wouldn't be able to factory reset it if it was stolen since they need the password to factory reset it.
How do I get an invoice from the seller?
This is my first time dealing with a macbook.



It's a macbook pro 2015. Model number A1502
Exactly what I thought. No way can he factory reset it without any passwords.
But everything definitely seem to be factory reset.
I tried to use the login password but it didn't work.


Idk what to ask him. He said he's gonna talk to his friend, which I'm assuming is the previous owner, about the password.


If all fails, then I guess I'll return it. Just hope it doesn't come to that.

Thank you so much for the responses guys
They sold it on behalf of a friend and it has a factory firmware password? :eek: Please tell me you brought this through eBay or something similar or at least used PayPal?

If the seller claims to have done a factory reset, which would require that password as has been pointed out, then they either know that password or they are telling porkys. How much did you pay for it?
 

0ddmonkey

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 26, 2017
6
1
Whelp, I think I may have bought a stolen laptop. I bought it from Amazon.
The seller had a at least 10 positive feedbacks and I thought I was buying it from a store or something because he had a lot of MacBooks for sell.
I paid $950. It's a shame because I really wanted this laptop. And it's a great laptop.

I've uploaded 2 photos. The first one is my email to him and the 2nd is his response. He responded saying he lost the receipt.

May end up returning it.

Fuge me.
 

Attachments

New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
1,914
1,491
Shanghai
Whelp, I think I may have bought a stolen laptop. I bought it from Amazon.
The seller had a at least 10 positive feedbacks and I thought I was buying it from a store or something because he had a lot of MacBooks for sell.
I paid $950. It's a shame because I really wanted this laptop. And it's a great laptop.

I've uploaded 2 photos. The first one is my email to him and the 2nd is his response. He responded saying he lost the receipt.

May end up returning it.

Fuge me.
It's pretty unusual to have a lot of MacBooks for sale, and to be selling them on behalf of other people (Removed data of 'previous' owner). The price isn't suspicious, thought if you'd paid $600 then it's definitely a worry.

Thank god you brought through Amazon though and have some recourse! Their story is possible, but to me that sounds like stalling. If leaving it till later in July you'll be out of any return window, and they should be far more aware that you cannot use this computer. If they were genuine I would expect a response of apology and asking you to send it back.

It's up to you, you could deliver an ultimatum. You cannot use it and right now it's a $1000 brick, either they provide you with a receipt (And you have time to confirm with Apple) or give you a password. But don't leave that more than a couple of days and start the return process immediately after. You could contact police and stuff if you suspect stolen goods but it's not your responsibility and sadly nothing would happen. The decent thing to do is take a few minutes searching for stolen good reporting sites and check the serial number, if it is reported then contact Amazon immediately and let them deal with it (You'll get the money back and hopefully the original owner would get their computer back). If not then just return it and get your money back (But still report to Amazon).
 
  • Like
Reactions: jerryk

SteveJUAE

macrumors 68030
Aug 14, 2015
2,770
2,461
Land of Smiles
I bought a used MacBook Pro recently and I'm trying to factory reset but can't because it seem to have a firmware password (a screen with a lock on it asking for the password).

I emailed the seller and he said he factory reset it and doesn't remember putting any other passwords in but the password used to log in.

I know I have to have proof of ownership but can I prove it if I bought it online?

What can I do to bypass this problem?
Search the MacBook forum there is a link to a guy that can bypass the firmware password

Similar to you another owner bought a Mac online and could not return it or get proof, he got a rebate via his CC or the site he bought it from.

Not sure if he then got it unlocked but in theory he could and ended up with a free device

Not sure on the legality of this but that's the owners problem and own conscience
 
Last edited:

windows4ever

macrumors member
Aug 14, 2011
60
16
I would return it ASAP and not fall for the stalling tactic. Reminds me of people selling used cars through classifieds and they are never the original owners. They're "selling it for a friend" or "grandma".

You can get a 2015 13" refurb from Apple for $929 and it will look like new and have a 1 year warranty.
 
Last edited:

0ddmonkey

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 26, 2017
6
1
Yeah, I already sent him an email saying I want to send it back for a refund. I could still use the laptop so it's not brick, I just wanted to factory reset it so I can have a fresh start plus I always factory reset every used electronic I buy off line.
I really wish it didn't had to come to this, but ah-well I guess.

Thank you so much for the response guys. I really appreciate it
 

PieTunes

Contributor
May 6, 2016
454
675
San Diego, CA
I'm sorry you had to go through this experience. Keep us posted how this turns out. I would be interested in hearing about your results.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,226
5,559
I hope the OP gets his money back, and look forward to a follow up post that says that he did, but…
…I'm wondering if that's going to happen… :(

There's a lesson to be learned here, not sure if I can get it into words.
When buying a used MacBook from an individual seller that you don't know, DO NOT buy unless:
1. You get a "hands on" with it first
and
2. You power it all the way down, and the do a "reboot from cold"…
… in order to ascertain whether or not the firmware password has been set.

I would never NEVER NEVER buy one that has the firmware password "on".
 
  • Like
Reactions: PieTunes

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,540
2,305
Delaware
hmm...
You have to attempt to boot to another boot partition before you even find out that a firmware password is set.
Just a "reboot from cold" won't ask for a firmware password, although you may see a File Vault login --- which is an entirely different (fixable) issue.
Firmware password won't let you boot to the recovery partition, nor will it let you choose another partition from the boot picker screen without that password.
(Probably not something that I would look for on a used sale, either o_O
 

PieTunes

Contributor
May 6, 2016
454
675
San Diego, CA
I can see why people buy used hardware from people, the cost savings being the primary factor. To each their own. I personally could never do that for the sake of my own mental well being. The provenance of the device is very important to me. If I wanted Apple hardware, their refurbished site or through major third party resellers is the way to go even with the higher cost. I just can't fully "enjoy" the device not knowing about its true past. Should something happen with the hardware down the road, that voice in the back of my mind would always go "What did that last owner do to it" sort of thing. And then take it in for repair only to find the water indicators were tripped, etc.? Peace of mind is worth it versus saving some extra dollars.
 

HBOC

macrumors 68020
Oct 14, 2008
2,494
234
SLC
i bought my mid 2015 MBP on eBay and had no issues what so ever, so it is possible to get what you pay for.

Return that MBP asap though. Amazon will get your money back
 
  • Like
Reactions: eltoslightfoot

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,540
2,305
Delaware
And --- that's what this thread is about. The OP can't do a "nuke & pave" --- that factory restore of the software. That is something that I do every time, even with a brand new, Apple-store-bought, current model. I don't even set it up until it has been formatted, new out of the box.
(started for me when I opened a brand new iBook G4, and the boot system on that system, new from Apple, sealed in the box, was corrupted, and wouldn't boot at all. It's been 15 years, but I still do the full restore as a first step. :D )
 

KGB7

Suspended
Jun 15, 2017
925
733
Rockville, MD
In the meantime, call Apple customer service and give them a serial number. Than they'll be able to tell you if the laptop is stolen or not.
 

0ddmonkey

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 26, 2017
6
1
Hey guys. Again, thanks for the response. I asked for the invoice and he sent me one where he bought it from.


Will this invoice work if I go to an Apple Store?

He said he's willing to give me a refund if it doesn't.
 

Attachments

coolbreeze

macrumors 68000
Jan 20, 2003
1,752
1,409
UT
Hey guys. Again, thanks for the response. I asked for the invoice and he sent me one where he bought it from.


Will this invoice work if I go to an Apple Store?

He said he's willing to give me a refund if it doesn't.
Pawnshop? Definitely a stolen device. Just return and get your money back. Apple will laugh at the receipt from the pawnshop. So no it won't work.

And he's hiding the price which means he probably got it for like $400 and was reselling it to make money. Run.

He got caught plain and simple.
 

LiamPlayz

macrumors member
Aug 19, 2015
30
10
Hey guys. Again, thanks for the response. I asked for the invoice and he sent me one where he bought it from.


Will this invoice work if I go to an Apple Store?

He said he's willing to give me a refund if it doesn't.
EDIT: (I didn't see that it was from a pawn shop) Yeah, Apple only accepts receipts from their own stores. I think this guy might be a little suspicious and you should get your money back ASAP.
 
Last edited:

windows4ever

macrumors member
Aug 14, 2011
60
16
I like ebay because it levels the playing field between buyers and sellers and also gives you the choices that a national market offers. Ebay and paypal guarantees are pretty solid for buyer protection.

Macbooks listed on Craigslist are always priced unreasonably high. You can't get away with that on ebay. On the flip side, buyers can't lowball, unless they get lucky with a "buy it now" auction.
 
  • Like
Reactions: eltoslightfoot

0ddmonkey

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 26, 2017
6
1
Thanks for the response guys. I already sent him an email saying I want a refund. Hopefully he will accept it and everything ends good.

Thank you so much for the response guys. I had no idea about this Firmware passwords thing and that totally caught me off guard.

Well again, thank you so much for the help guys, really appreciate it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: New_Mac_Smell