Having troubles with a botched system upgrade on OS X 10.10.3, I tried to restore my MacBook Pro, 15" Early 2011 version, using an encrypted Time Machine backup made on an external USB drive.

The backup is in working order; I can boot from it just fine. However, when I try to restore from a previous backup version through the system restore feature, I am asked for my Time Machine backup volume, and when I click the external drive, and enter the password, there's a dialog saying the password is wrong.

But it isn't.

I am a hundred percent certain it's the correct password. It can't be copy-pasted, unfortunately, but I've typed it often enough to know it's correct. And when I finally got to boot the Mac after the – what I thought was – a botched update, I checked my Keychain to verify that the Time Machine password was actually the one I had used previously.

Has this ever happened to anyone, and is there any solution to this, apart from maybe creating an entirely new Time Machine volume and, gasp, not encrypting it?

  • Maybe the problem is a different keyboard layout when on the restore session? – Jaime Santa Cruz Aug 1 '15 at 15:10
  • No, I checked that in a cleartext window, the layout was as expected. (I also tried swapping y/z keys which I would need for the German layout.) – slhck Aug 1 '15 at 18:49
  • I am on the same boat now. Using Sierra and TM disk on my Synology NAS. Trying to load files from TM on my temporary older MBP. Have you solved it somehow? – Petr Újezdský Nov 30 '17 at 12:27
  • @PetrÚjezdský No, I finally got the Mac to boot again without having to restore it. Never found out what the issue was. – slhck Nov 30 '17 at 14:17
  • I have found out that the password it asks for is NOT the backup encryption password but the password for sparsebundle itself. Nevertheless there must be bug, because the given sparsebundle pwd works in the "Data migration wizard" on normally booted OS but not in the wizard after cmd+R. :( – Petr Újezdský Dec 1 '17 at 15:27

I would delete the existing keychain entry for your backup and re-enter. It is very possible that you have saved an incorrect value to your keychain.

  • No, that's not what happened. Keychain auto-saved that password after entering it in Finder to mount the drive. There weren't any duplicates either. Guess I'll never find out. – slhck Oct 16 '17 at 17:01

The same thing just happened to me again after a logic board swap. The backup could not be restored in recovery mode with a message saying that the password was wrong.

However, booting into the regular installation wizard, macOS asks you whether you want to migrate existing data. Choose this option; here you'll find your backup disk. When selecting it, you will be asked for the same password. In the migration wizard, the password works.

This is a serious flaw with the recovery procedure, but Apple Support does not seem to be aware of it.

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