Reset Mac Firmware Password: Experience report from the Apple Store

I recently erased my old 2012 MacBook Pro and then wanted to delete it via Internet recovery mode equip it with an operating system for sale. What I had completely forgotten: there was another one Firmware password set up that I couldn't remember at all. So I wanted to go to the Apple Store to have the Mac firmware password reset. This resulted in a little odyssey, from which I brought a few tips for you. By the way, I'm starting to write this post already in the store because I have to wait a while and want to use the time productively :D

Today I went to the Apple Store to have the MacBook Pro firmware password reset. What I experienced at the Genius Bar and what you should know before visiting (in this specific case) I have summarized for you here. Image source: Apple.com
Today I went to the Apple Store to have the MacBook Pro firmware password reset. What I experienced at the Genius Bar and what you should know before visiting (in this specific case) I have summarized for you here. Image source: Apple.com

Make an appointment by phone - better not!

Before I went to the Apple Store for the first of two times, I wanted to call them to make an appointment. Despite the phone number with local area code on the store's website, I got through to Apple's call center. There I was told that I could not make an appointment in the store I had chosen or in the second Apple store in town and that I should contact partners such as Saturn, MediaMarkt, Gravis, Cyberport or similar.

So I called Saturn, which had the same surprise: instead of coming out at the local store, I ended up in the call center. There I was told that at Saturn the firmware password of the MacBook can be reset. But since I had the suspicion that the person on the other end didn't really understand what the issue was, I wrote an e-mail to the shop to be on the safe side. Turns out: only support for iPhones is offered there as the only Apple devices.

Demotivated by these experiences to make more attempts to make appointments from home, I went to the Apple Store with the MacBook in my luggage. They told me that I could have easily made an appointment online. I can't understand why the Apple hotline didn't tell me that. Anyway, I made an appointment in the store for the next day. I was then able to perceive this without any problems – but only because I already knew what I had to bring with me.

Reset Mac firmware password: what to bring to the appointment?

When resetting the firmware password on the Mac, iMac and MacBook, you need to bring a few documents with you in addition to the computer itself. This is an invoice on which the serial number of the device and the user name are noted. You will also need to bring your ID with you so that your name can be matched. If I hadn't known that beforehand, I wouldn't have had the bill with me and I might have left without my wallet, i.e. without ID. Although I stated what my request was when I made the appointment, I was not told what to bring with me.

So here is a summary of the things you should take with you to the Genius Bar to reset the firmware password on your Mac, iMac or MacBook:

  • The Apple computer in question
  • The invoice showing the serial number and name (preferably printed out)
  • An ID document that has the same name on it
  • If applicable, the packaging of the device on which the serial number can be read
  • Sufficient time, as the procedure is not a simple standard procedure

How long does the appointment at the Genius Bar last?

Of course, there is no standard answer here, since support at the Genius Bar in the Apple Store depends on various factors. In my case, I was out of the store in an hour. This includes the initial waiting for the expert as well as intermediate waiting while the file is requested, which must be used on the Mac via USB stick. In addition, I only had the purchase invoice with me as a PDF on my iPhone. We had to ask if that was okay. In the end it wasn't a problem, but it took longer than with a printed invoice.

How to reset Mac firmware password?

I cannot technically explain the procedure for resetting the firmware password on the Mac. I can only point out what I experienced at the Genius Bar. After being seated and waiting a few minutes for a store Mac expert, this was the procedure:

  1. Lawful ownership of the Mac (in my case MacBook Pro from 2012) is verified by receipt, device serial number and ID card
  2. A firmware password reset file is requested in the US
  3. The file will be sent from there after the chat of the experts on site and in the USA
  4. The file is dragged onto a USB stick and this is plugged into the Mac
  5. The Mac turns on and the file does something; it works like magic!

There was a back and forth between the first three steps in my case. Also, the MacBook Pro was taken briefly behind the scenes chatting with the folks at Apple in the US. The USB stick was also prepared out of sight. In the end, however, the patience paid off and the whole thing worked without further complications. I then went to the Internet Recovery Mode in the store and in the presence of the Apple Genius. This time I wasn't held up by the firmware password entry screen - that was enough proof of the success of the appointment.

Summary: Tips for visiting the Genius Bar

I've learned a few things from the whole thing. Hopefully my initial odyssey of making an appointment and waiting in the store while the magic happens on my MacBook Pro can be of some help to you. Finally, I have summarized the most important tips for the appointment in the Apple Store (with regard to my specific request):

  1. Make an appointment online or in store, don't rely on the call center (Find a nearby store here)
  2. Bring a printed invoice with the serial number of the device, do not necessarily rely on a PDF on the iPhone or iPad
  3. If available, take the packaging of the device with the readable serial number on it
  4. Bring enough time (in my case the whole thing took an hour)
  5. Don't be afraid to ask for a toilet if it takes longer (yes, I tested that for you too)

Many thanks to the team at the Apple Store on Schildergasse in Cologne, who helped me with my request today. 

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3 Responses to “Reset Mac Firmware Password: Testimonial from the Apple Store”

  1. Martin Schellmoser

    Thanks for the report! Very educational. And an exciting thing about the file from the USA on the USB stick, which simply bypasses the firmware password... This is certainly not documented anywhere, at least not for "mere mortal" Mac users. ;-)

  2. I have an apple store 800 m away from my desk. I have a friend who works there during his studies who also supports my office technology and servers.
    But I've always made my appointments using the service app or in Safari. Only when I need something urgently do I call this store directly.
    Everything else is an odyssey.
    But in the current you are always in the best hands. I don't know of better service than Apple's (yet).

    1. Hello Wolf,

      only 800 m distance is of course a luxury. I had to take the subway for a while and then walk a few minutes :D

      Best regards
      John

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