Option-Boot Password Lock - Help!

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by gblax, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. gblax macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2010
    Hi all,

    I have a somewhat interesting problem that I would appreciate any and all advice on:

    I'm running a MacBook Air (mid-2012) with the latest OS X. I have my hard drive partitioned to run Windows 7 in BootCamp, which I access on occasion by holding the Option key when booting up, allowing me to choose the startup volume. Recently, I used Find My Mac to Password Lock my computer (this was to test the functionality, not out of necessity). The computer froze and became unresponsive, so I performed a hard reset, after which it continued to run without a problem.

    Now whenever I Option-Boot, I am greeted with a Password Lock screen, which the four digit PIN that I set from Find My Mac opens. There are no other options, it is just a plain grey screen with a password lock.

    I have no idea how to remove this, and it only happens when booting using the Option key.

    If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!

  2. Mr Rabbit macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    May 13, 2013
    Have you entered the 4 digit PIN number successfully?

    From my testing I've found that once you authenticate with the PIN the Mac goes back to normal.

    Maybe try remote locking it again through iCloud, and then re-authenticating?
  3. gblax thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2010
    Yep I have successfully entered the PIN many times (every time I Option-Boot), yet it keeps coming back. I also tried remote locking again through iCloud and re-authenticating, yet the issue persists.

    This passcode lock is different than the standard iCloud lock, as there are no other options on screen and it only occurs when Option-Booting.
  4. gblax thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2010

    FYI - this is the screen that I get

    Attached Files:

  5. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    That looks like a firmware lock. Remove/Replace your RAM to see if that old trick works to clear the lock.
  6. Mr Rabbit macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    May 13, 2013
    Thats a MacBook Air though, the "change the amount of installed RAM and zap the PRAM/NVRAM" trick doesn't apply to them. They would need to visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider, who would then contact Apple to have the lock cleared.

    With that said, that's definitely the EFI password screen. You can enable/disable it from the recovery partition, using the Firmware Password Utility found under the Utilities menu.

    The problem though is that if you don't know the EFI password you can't hold "R" or use "option" when booting to get to the recovery partition. If you're comfortable using the Terminal you can use a few simple commands to tell your MacBook Air to boot to the recovery partition on only the next boot....

    First you'll need to open Terminal and use diskutil to find the disk/volume for your recovery partition.
    diskutil list
    This should return a few lines similar to this example: (ignore the dots, they are only there to create filler space)
    3: ....... Apple_Boot ....... Recovery HD ....... 650MB ....... disk0s3

    In this example the Recovery partition is named "Recovery HD" and is located on disk identifier "disk0s3". Make a note of the name and disk identifier and move on.

    Next you'll want to actually mount the Recovery partition, using the disk identifier you found above, in this example it is disk0s3.
    diskutil mount disk0s3
    You should now see your Recovery HD partition mounted on your Desktop or in Finder.

    Now we'll tell the Mac to boot to the Recovery partition, which should allow you to go in and remove the EFI password. Again, in the example the partition name is Recovery HD but yours may be different.
    sudo bless -mount /Volumes/Recovery\ HD -setboot -nextonly
    The bless command is enabling the Recovery HD volume to be used as a boot drive, the setboot flag tells your Mac to use it as the startup volume and the nextonly flag tells your Mac to only apply this command for the next boot, subsequent boots will revert to the original startup disk. You'll be asked to enter your password, once you do so and hit enter the change will be made.

    You can now shutdown your Mac, power it back on and it should boot directly to the Recovery partition, where you can find the Firmware Password utility under the Utilities menu in the menu bar.
  7. gblax thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2010
    Mr. Rabbit - thank you!!!! This solved my problem with ease!

    Never knew that this was an option, and I have no idea why a remote lock of my Mac would trigger a firmware password to be enabled, but your advice solved the problem.

    Many thanks!
  8. Rockford18 macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2012
    You remove the SSD and mounted in another computer?

  9. ToddJ macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2008
    what is the 'change amount of ram and then zap the pram/Nvram'...i am having the same problem you had, but mine is on an old MacBook Pro which i can switch out the ram :)
  10. ToddJ macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2008
    is there a way to do this without replacing the ram with a different size?
  11. Mr Rabbit macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    May 13, 2013
    Sorry about the late reply, been out of town.

    The old trick to bypass a firmware lock is that you can change the amount of installed RAM (either by installing a different sized DIMM or removing one of the currently installed DIMMs) and reset the PRAM/NVRAM to clear out the firmware lock.

    To start... Remove the bottom case to access the RAM. If you have two DIMMs installed (2GB + 2GB for example) you can remove one of them and set it off to the side. Do not power on your Mac yet.

    Now that the amount of RAM installed is different (2GB using the example above) you will need to reset the PRAM/NVRAM. To do this you will hold down command+option+P+R while powering on your Mac. Keep holding these four keys until your Mac has chimed 3 times. After the third chime I would release all four of the keys and let the Mac boot all the way.

    Once the Mac has booted I would shut it down and power it back on again while holding the option key in order to see if the lock has been cleared. If so, go ahead and reinstall the RAM.

    Hope that helps.
  12. Yullah macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2015
    Please what steps did you take to get into the terminal
    please can you tell me the procedures you took to get to the terminal. Am not able to move to anywhere other than the windows 7 that I installed.
  13. yohteh macrumors newbie


    Sep 27, 2015
    yes me to in trouble to find out the whereabout of the terminal...
  14. tisgroup macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2018
    --- Post Merged, Feb 17, 2018 ---
    Utterly brilliant trick ... Never knew about this ... Thanks for saving my iMac ...
  15. samaweezy macrumors newbie


    May 22, 2018
    how do I get the four digit pin
    --- Post Merged, May 22, 2018 ---
    how do I get the four digit pin

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14 September 4, 2013