Apple released EFI updates separately, but since 2015 the EFI update is bundled in the software update Apple has been pushing out to users. However, if you are running one of the 16 Mac models identified by Duo Labs, there is a chance that your system hasn’t received any EFI update at all: iMac 7,1 to 10,1, MacBook 5,1 and 5,2, MacBook Air 2. Hello to everyone. Check out USB drive on Amazon - Since yesterday I'm having problems with booting my Mac, it shows some king of EFI. Hi, I bought a 2009 A1304 Macbook air with firmware password set, and no OS X installed. So I get the HDD from the Macbook Air and installed El Capitain 10.11 with a Macbook pro used the HDD as external drive with a special connector. That was a little bit tricky with the ribboncable. Unlock iCloud Lock 4pin, 6pin, pad lock. Unlimited and permanent unlock (unlocks EFI Firmware and iCloud lock). It unlocks the chip automatically in less than 30 seconds. For 2011 - 2017 iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Pro(2013), and Mac mini. Our new solution, EFI Card Instant for MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air (Solderless EFI Chip). The EFI Card fixes EFI BIOS chip or firmware corruptions and boot loops that may have caused by Clover or similar EFI bootloaders. It also removes and unlocks the Mac.
macOS provides multiple methods to protect the data on a Mac: a user account password, encryption via FileVault, and optional low-level security measure that prevents starting up from storage devices other than the selected startup disk. That's known as the firmware password or EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) lock, which will also block the user's ability to use all startup key combinations, except the NVRAM or PRAM reset combinations. This command (Option + Command + P + R), however, will initiate the machine from macOS Recovery instead.
The Lost Mode feature of Find My Mac will remotely lock the Mac with a firmware password for one-time use. The user's Mac receives the lock instruction from iCloud, restarts, and asks for the system lock PIN code that they set up. After entering the passcode the Mac starts up from the designated startup disk and disables the passcode.
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A firmware password is not the same as the administrator password or login password. It's a separate password that appears immediately after boot and must be entered into the system lock screen, which appears as a lock symbol on either a black or a gray background.
Firmware Passcode Security
Low-level passwords are quite secure, which also means there is potentially a headache if the password is forgotten. If you or any of your users can't remember the firmware password or passcode, know that Apple doesn’t allow for any workarounds, but instead recommends scheduling a service appointment with an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. The process requires the original receipt or invoice as proof of purchase.
Earlier versions of macOS required manual installation of the firmware but, starting in 2015, Apple began bundling EFI updates with the macOS updates in order to deliver security patches to all users. But as security firm Duo Labs discovered in late 2017, some Macs aren't getting the right firmware, which makes them vulnerable to hackers. They recommend checking the firmware version and updating if needed.
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Firmware Passcode Location
On Intel-based Macs shipped before 2011, the firmware password was stored in the PRAM and read by the system EFI firmware before other PRAM variables. That lead to a serious security issue, allowing the firmware to be revealed in a native macOS app and weakening the enhanced security Apple had hoped to introduce with the addition of the firmware password.
In 2011, however, Apple added an important change to the system: the firmware password was moved to a separate programmable controller from Atmel. This component contains lockable flash memory to store the password and requires special programming with identifier numbers for both the Mac's motherboard and the Atmel chip to access and reset it.
Since the controller is an independent component, the only way to bypass it is to manually remove it from the motherboard, but this requires highly precise reflow soldering tools and techniques.
Bypassing the Mac Firmware Password on MacBooks With Upgradeable RAM
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This hardware hack works on both Intel- and Motorola-based MacBooks and requires users to remove the RAM and reinstall it. You can check our guide on how to remove the RAM on MacBooks for further reading.
- Shut down your computer and remove the battery.
- Locate your RAM, remove one of the RAM modules and put it aside.
- Put the battery in, and boot your computer while holding the Command + Option + P + R keys to reset the parameter RAM.
- Wait for the chime to sound three times.
- Release the keys and shut down the computer.
- Remove the battery again, and reinsert the RAM module.
- Put the battery back in.
- Boot up your Mac, and you should not see the firmware lock again.
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Disable the Password With Firmware Password Utility
- Restart your Mac while holding down the Command + R keys to enter Recovery Mode.
- When the Utilities screen appears, go the Utilities menu bar, and select “Firmware Password Utility”.
- Choose to turn the Firmware Password off.
If none of the above methods worked, there are still two more options to try: either have Apple do it for you, so long as you have the original receipt or invoice, or alternatively use any of the EFI lock bypass hardware kits available for sale on various sites. In using one of these EFI lock hardware bypass methods you’ll almost certainly void your warranty, so it is down to you whether you want to risk the procedure.
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To use any of these key combinations, press and hold the keys immediately after pressing the power button to turn on your Mac, or after your Mac begins to restart. Keep holding until the described behavior occurs.
- Command (⌘)-R: Start up from the built-in macOS Recovery system. Or use Option-Command-R or Shift-Option-Command-R to start up from macOS Recovery over the Internet. macOS Recovery installs different versions of macOS, depending on the key combination you use while starting up. If your Mac is using a firmware password, you're prompted to enter the password.
- Option (⌥) or Alt: Start up to Startup Manager, which allows you to choose other available startup disks or volumes. If your Mac is using a firmware password, you're prompted to enter the password.
- Option-Command-P-R:Reset NVRAM or PRAM. If your Mac is using a firmware password, it ignores this key combination or starts up from macOS Recovery.
- Shift (⇧): Start up in safe mode. Disabled when using a firmware password.
- D: Start up to the Apple Diagnostics utility. Or use Option-Dto start up to this utility over the Internet. Disabled when using a firmware password.
- N: Start up from a NetBoot server, if your Mac supports network startup volumes. To use the default boot image on the server, hold down Option-N instead. Disabled when using a firmware password.
- Command-S: Start up in single-user mode. Disabled in macOS Mojave or later, or when using a firmware password.
- T: Start up in target disk mode. Disabled when using a firmware password.
- Command-V: Start up in verbose mode. Disabled when using a firmware password.
- Eject (⏏) or F12 or mouse button or trackpad button: Eject removable media, such as an optical disc. Disabled when using a firmware password.
If a key combination doesn't work
If a key combination doesn't work at startup, one of these these solutions might help:
- Be sure to press and hold all keys in the combination together, not one at a time.
- Shut down your Mac. Then press the power button to turn on your Mac. Then press and hold the keys as your Mac starts up.
- Wait a few seconds before pressing the keys, to give your Mac more time to recognize the keyboard as it starts up. Some keyboards have a light that flashes briefly at startup, indicating that the keyboard is recognized and ready for use.
- If you're using a wireless keyboard, plug it into your Mac, if possible. Or use your built-in keyboard or a wired keyboard. If you're using a keyboard made for a PC, such as a keyboard with a Windows logo, try a keyboard made for Mac.
- If you're using Boot Camp to start up from Microsoft Windows, set Startup Disk preferences to start up from macOS instead. Then shut down or restart and try again.
Remember that some key combinations are disabled when your Mac is using a firmware password.
- Learn what to do if your Mac doesn't turn on.
- Learn about Mac keyboard shortcuts that you can use after your Mac has started up.