Recently I bought a used Macbook air but it was locked. The seller was not reached by phone or email. So I tried to factory reset or re-install the OS but all failed due to various reasons. I called Apple care, but they seem to misunderstand my question and tried to reset the password of 'my' Apple ID which is totally irrelevant. They said they cannot reset the seller's Apple password. When I failed three times in a login window, they gave me the serial number (of the Macbook) and the record number. Can I reset the login password using this information? What can I do to use this laptop?

By the way, is the computer log-in password same as the seller's Apple ID password???

  • 1
    What precise error message do you need to get past on the Mac? Are you comfortable booting in single user mode or to recovery HD to erase the drive and remove all previous passwords?
    – bmike
    Commented Dec 21, 2013 at 15:35
  • 1
    (1) Unless the user is inexperienced, he will choose a different password as login password than as Apple ID password. (2) If there were a simple way to get around such a password, then of course computer thieves would love it!
    – GEdgar
    Commented Dec 21, 2013 at 16:21
  • What are the 'various reasons' that you speak of? Have you attempted booting into the Recovery HD, by holding Cmd+R on boot? Have you tried making a Mavericks USB restore drive? You can also boot into single-user mode and enter a few commands to make a new admin account on the machine, which would allow you to reset the password for the locked user, or make a new account: osxdaily.com/2011/08/24/reset-mac-os-x-10-7-lion-password Commented Dec 22, 2013 at 0:02

2 Answers 2


I don't believe a Mac can be locked to the point where you cannot even install a fresh OS. That would require a locking at firmware level, and I don't believe the MacBooks offer this option.

You should be able to restart, with the option (alt) key pressed, so that you get into the boot screen where you can choose to start up from the recovery system, and then re-install OS X from it, all without needing a password.

Oh, I see you also asked here: Resetting password for Macbook There, you mention that you were able to get to the rescue screen with Cmd-R. So, why can't you re-install OS X then? It's offered as an option there, isn't it?

  • All Intel MacBooks have the ability to utilise Firmware Security. Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 14:36

Apple has a nice set of steps for resetting passwords. It also will fail if you have FileVault or firmware passwords so be sure to consider that if you run into problems following the steps.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .