My MacBook air was stolen from my apartment a few days ago. I got the address on the find my iPhone app, but then it said that the MacBook was locked, requiring a code. I didn't lock my MacBook from find my iPhone, and when I spoke to the Apple store they told me that it was probably locked because of the thief entering the wrong password too many times.

My question is: can the thief still use my MacBook? Can they delete the HD when it's locked and when I have a password on it?

2 Answers 2


If you set a firmware password (which isn't set by default) and you used FileVault to encrypt the disk (also not the default), then the thief probably can't do anything with it. Without the firmware password, they can boot from USB, repartition the drive and do a new clean OS X install. Without FileVault they can remove the drive and mount it elsewhere, and then access your data. I'm afraid that just locking the screen is not enough.

  • Thank you. Guess i have to buy myself a new Macbook then.. Just sucks that i know where it is, but can't do anything about it
    – Line Veglo
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 17:11
  • 3
    Can't you get law enforcement involved? It is stolen, you know where it is, and most agencies are now pretty accommodating for using Apple location info for recovering stolen property..
    – douggro
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 17:39
  • I got the law enforcement involved. But they probably didn't get a warrant because it's a big building with a lot of apartments
    – Line Veglo
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 17:55

You can get law enforcement. But it's a bit tricky for them. If the new owner has the MacBook but was not actually caught stealing it from you. Then they would not be considered a thief. Common examples of what thiefs usually do is sell the device immediately on the streets for a low cost.

This leaving the new owner with a stolen device they purchased but did not steal. The crime has to be caught in action.

  • Still possession of stolen goods is a felony (even if the buyer does not have any knowledge about it). Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 6:29
  • The new owner is not a thief, but they also are not the new owner. You can't acquire title to something from someone who doesn't have title themselves. So you will get your MacBook back, and the "new owner" will have to go after the person who sold it to them for compensation. (There used to be certain markets in the UK called "markets overt" where purchasers always acquired a good title even if the goods were stolen, but that law was repealed in 1995.)
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 7:25

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