macOS firmware password: PW against unauthorized access to Mac and MacBook

Password for Mac: Firmware Password for macOS Sierra made up of letters, numbers and punctuation marks.

The Apple operating system macOS for Mac, iMac, MacBook (Pro) and so on offers with the firmware password a good possibility to completely seal off the computer against unauthorized access when booting. Because the Mac is vulnerable during the boot process, and this is very easy via the Thunderbolt connection. From macOS 10.12.2 you can and should, for example, set a firmware password in the terminal - but the detour via programming lines is not necessary at all. Here I will show you how you can easily set a macOS firmware password in the recovery mode of the Mac. It doesn't take long either;)

Why set an Apple firmware password on the Mac now?

As with the iPhone or iPad, it is also important to set a password on the Mac. In addition to the simple PW for the user account, it is best to set up one for the firmware. As of Sierra version 10.12.2, this is not only simplified, but also recommended by many experts. In addition to other updates, the security of the system was also strengthened at the end of 2016. Especially against the Thunderstrike Boot kit, which can be used relatively easily by hackers via a Thunderbolt device, the firmware password helps. Means that too - However, the process is explained there using the terminal and codes. Not the path of choice for us Otto normalos ...

Instructions: Set macOS firmware password with just a few clicks

Let us now come to the core of the matter (el). Here is a step-by-step guide for the Apple Mac or MacBook, with which you can quickly set a password for the entire system. If you proceed like this, you don't have to worry about program lines and so on:

  • Restarts or turns on the Mac
  • While the Mac is booting, press Cmd + R
  • In the now displayed selection of Apple utilities, select "Utilities" in the menu bar

The macOS firmware password secures your Mac or MacBook against the Thunderstrike Bootkit for the File Vault attack. Mac security explained step by step.

  • There the first point should already be "Firmware password utility" - click it!
  • If the password protection is off, a window informs you that without the password, the computer can be started from another hard drive, CD, DVD (or other Thunderbolt device) without a password - serious shock!

Message when setting up the macOS firmware password

  • Nice, you take note of the message and click "Activate firmware password ..."
  • You now enter your new firmware password for the Mac or MacBook twice; it should consist of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks

Password for Mac: Firmware Password for macOS Sierra made up of letters, numbers and punctuation marks.

  • Then click on "Set password"
  • Finally, restart the computer
  • Zack, done

After successfully using the utility, the Mac will restart. After the restart, the system password is requested for the boot.

Write down the firmware password and do not forget it

If you want to start the year 2017, which is still quite fresh, then set a firmware password on the Mac. But as with the iPhone or iPad, a problem arises if you forget the master password and perhaps try to enter it incorrectly several times: then you have to go to an Apple Store or a certified dealer. The password can be reset in the Apple Store or at the dealer. Unfortunately, you can forget to access your Mac until you have properly reset your password. So you should never forget or misplace the firmware password.

Your opinion on the subject

Did you start safely in 2017? Have you set a master password on your Mac or have you even had to go to the Apple Store for a reset? Feel free to write your experiences and your opinion as a comment under the article;)

Here is even more on the topics of Mac, security, system and Co: Antivirus programs, Device and network protection, Create a bootable USB stick, Create Fusion Drive yourself

My tips & tricks about technology & Apple

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4 Responses to “macOS Firmware Password: PW against unauthorized access to Mac and MacBook”

  1. Hello, we already made the mistake of changing the hardware password.
    Firstly, it is pointless, because Apple or a certified dealer, i.e. also authorities, can easily reset the password (or have it reset).
    The hardware password does not prevent access to the login if you have the correct password.

    What you do not describe here is very important, you should note that the hardware password must be entered with an English-American keyboard!

    Otherwise, even writing down the password is of no use! .. and the restoration costs 200 euros, if you have the necessary papers for the hardware!
    If you have a password with a lot of umlauts and special characters, decryption will be very tricky!

    1. Thank you for the hints. Whether it is a "mistake" to set a firmware password remains to be seen. In any case, it is an additional hurdle that can deter some attackers. A question about the English-American keyboard: I also read this, but from the people who set the firmware password via terminal. Do you know for sure if this is also the case when using the firmware password utility?
      In any case, your reference to the price of EUR 200 is also interesting. Then you already know roughly what to expect if you messed up the password. : D

  2. Hello Sir Apfelot,
    I bought a cheap IMac 27 inch a year ago because the graphics card on mine, the same one, was defective. Now I made the serious mistake and partially deleted the hard disk, unfortunately disk 0 where the recover software was on it. A recovery was therefore no longer possible. Now I installed a new, larger hard drive and reinstalled the same “Mavericks” with a USB stick. Now I can't sign in with my Apple ID. Unfortunately, Apple Support let me down and now I'm turning to you.
    Kind regards, Heinrich

    1. Hello Heinrich! What exactly does it depend on? Do you no longer know your login details? Sometimes the iCloud registration also depends on the ending at the end of the email address if you have an @ address. So maybe try @ too. Somehow it has to work ...

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