Firmware Password

TofSanity

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 29, 2010
660
85
Hello,

Real quick question: will enabling the firmware password slow down my 2016 MacBook Pro in anyway?

Thanks
Tim
 

fisherking

macrumors 604
Jul 16, 2010
6,705
1,683
ny somewhere
i always used a firmware password on my macs. but a couple of years ago (el capitan, i think), i had some serious issues... and had to have apple remove it. ugh. still, an isolated instance.

otherwise, it happens when you boot up, and once you login, that's it. so no reason to expect a slowdown.
 

TofSanity

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 29, 2010
660
85
i always used a firmware password on my macs. but a couple of years ago (el capitan, i think), i had some serious issues... and had to have apple remove it. ugh. still, an isolated instance.

otherwise, it happens when you boot up, and once you login, that's it. so no reason to expect a slowdown.
I was using it recently and my laptop seemed slow. I turned it off and went ahead with a clean install of OSX. I didn't turn it back on, just thinking it may have been the cause. The laptop is back to running like normal. It could have been another issue that was corrected in the clean install.
 

fisherking

macrumors 604
Jul 16, 2010
6,705
1,683
ny somewhere
I was using it recently and my laptop seemed slow. I turned it off and went ahead with a clean install of OSX. I didn't turn it back on, just thinking it may have been the cause. The laptop is back to running like normal. It could have been another issue that was corrected in the clean install.
i've done this on every mac i've owned since the 12" powerbook. ot seemed important, but.. no longer. & 'find my mac' is just as good a protection...
 
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TofSanity

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 29, 2010
660
85
so, I just turned it on and Safari is running slow. interesting
 

fisherking

macrumors 604
Jul 16, 2010
6,705
1,683
ny somewhere
when i upgraded to el cap, everything went to hell; i often couldn't get the cursor to the password window (with firmware password enabled), and couldn't get in to recovery... to disable it. had to go to the apple store (with my purchase receipt), and left my macbook overnight... so they could do their 'magic' process (disabling firmware). and that was the end of 13, 14 years of firmware passwords on my macs...
 

stradify

macrumors member
Jul 4, 2015
72
20
USA
With High Sierra, a low level form of firmware protection has been enabled.
See this MacRumors article for more info: https://www.macrumors.com/2017/09/25/macos-high-sierra-weekly-efi-security-check/ for details.

It's hardly a bulletproof solution but certainly an improvement over nothing. I wonder if the weekly check would detect ThunderStrike 2 and if so would an Apple Store be able to remove it? That said, if you enable a firmware password and misplace or forget it you will be taking a trip to the apple store or its equivalent in order to get back into your computer.

Here's an interesting article on firmware attacks that affect macs: https://www.computerworld.com/article/2955641/cybercrime-hacking/macs-can-be-remotely-infected-with-firmware-malware-that-remains-after-reformatting.html

Anyone here in the cyber defense industry with thoughts on this subject?


when i upgraded to el cap, everything went to hell; i often couldn't get the cursor to the password window (with firmware password enabled), and couldn't get in to recovery... to disable it. had to go to the apple store (with my purchase receipt), and left my macbook overnight... so they could do their 'magic' process (disabling firmware). and that was the end of 13, 14 years of firmware passwords on my macs...
 

chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
8,175
2,508
With High Sierra, a low level form of firmware protection has been enabled.
See this MacRumors article for more info: https://www.macrumors.com/2017/09/25/macos-high-sierra-weekly-efi-security-check/ for details.
The change to High Sierra and a firmware password are not the same thing at all and are not even really related. The most important thing a firmware password does is to prevent a user from taking your computer and starting it up from another disk to try to access your data, or to simply remove/reformat the disk from a stolen computer and use it freely. With computers that have nonremovable disks, like all the current Mac portables, if you're using Filevault, the use of a firmware password is a lot less important.
[doublepost=1508507381][/doublepost]
so, I just turned it on and Safari is running slow. interesting
Setting a firmware password does not have an effect on a Mac's performance at all. There would have been something else causing that.
 

TofSanity

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 29, 2010
660
85
The change to High Sierra and a firmware password are not the same thing at all and are not even really related. The most important thing a firmware password does is to prevent a user from taking your computer and starting it up from another disk to try to access your data, or to simply remove/reformat the disk from a stolen computer and use it freely. With computers that have nonremovable disks, like all the current Mac portables, if you're using Filevault, the use of a firmware password is a lot less important.
[doublepost=1508507381][/doublepost]
Setting a firmware password does not have an effect on a Mac's performance at all. There would have been something else causing that.
That’s what I was thinking but now that I have disabled the password the laptop is back to normal and opening things smoothly and quickly.
 

chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
8,175
2,508
That’s what I was thinking but now that I have disabled the password the laptop is back to normal and opening things smoothly and quickly.
Most likely, just restarting would have solved that problem anyway.
 

TofSanity

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 29, 2010
660
85
Most likely, just restarting would have solved that problem anyway.
Tried that as well. Like you said it could be something else. I am just trying to rule things out. Enabling firmware password was when I started seeing the slowness of opening safari tabs or even the iTunes Store. I looked at my internet connection as well and all seemed fine. Thanks for your help.