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I'm looking at the /EFI partition, and it has 2 .scap file.

/EFI/APPLE/FIRMWARE/MBP112_0138_B18_LOCKED.scap

and

/EFI/APPLE/EXTENSIONS/Firmware.scap

They both have 2 files with GUID's that are present in the other, however the contents of each are different.

The file with the GUID C3E36D09-8294-4B97-A857-D5288FE33E28 in /EFI/APPLE/FIRMWARE/MBP112_0138_B18_LOCKED.scap contains the text $IBIOS$ MBP112 88Z 0138 B18 1610201654 Copyright (c) 2005-2016 Apple Inc. All rights reserved.

However the file with the GUID C3E36D09-8294-4B97-A857-D5288FE33E28 in /EFI/APPLE/EXTENSIONS/Firmware.scap contains the text N $IBIOS$ ROMEXT1 88Z 0002 B00 0710231738

What is the Firmware.scap file, and how come when I delete it, nothing changes except that it boots faster?

3 Answers 3

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The file

/EFI/APPLE/EXTENSIONS/Firmware.scap

is the EFI extension that shipped with the latest operating system installed on that disk. You can also find it at the following location when booting that macOS system:

/usr/standalone/i386/Firmware.scap

This file contains EFI extensions that your Mac may need to boot, e.g. because it cannot boot from an APFS file system otherwise. Some Macs also require it as without that file they cannot boot from external drives or only from some kind of those. In some cases it must change the state of hardware at boot time otherwise the hardware will not work correctly or not work at all. It is even required in some cases to perform a recovery installation over the Internet or booting over a local network.

If you delete that file, your Mac may fail to boot macOS from that drive. Yet all of the above always only applies to the version of macOS that this file came from. So even if your Mac fails to boot that version of macOS without that file, it may still be able to correctly boot an older version from another partition or disk. And if your Mac is somewhat recent, it will also boot without that file as it already has (most or all of) those extensions embedded into its EEPROM firmware. The older your Mac is, the more likely it will depend on that file being present during boot.

In case you accidentally deleted it and this causes trouble, you can easily restore it as long as you still have a way to mount the EFI partition and copy the file there from another macOS installation. If you deleted it and there is no problem, the system will still restore it on certain occasions (not on every boot but on every system update for instance).

The file

/EFI/APPLE/FIRMWARE/MBP112_0138_B18_LOCKED.scap

contains a copy of the latest EEPROM firmware update installed. When Apple ships an EEPROM update (as part of a system update or stand alone), it is copied to /EFI/APPLE/FIRMWARE/, an entry named efi-apple-recovery is written to NVRAM (run nvram efi-apple-recovery in Terminal to see the content of that entry) and on next boot, the system performs an EFI firmware update (writing the content of that file into the EEPROM).

The EEPROM part of EFI is the part that is loaded directly after boot. It's the part that needs to initialize hardware to the point it can detect keyboard keys pressed, display something on screen, and access the EFI partitions of detected drives. Thus it also contains a file system driver to read that EFI partition as only then it can actually load EFI extensions from there. This is the part of the EFI firmware that is always there and will stay there when your drive is swapped as it is directly "burned" into a chip.

For those who are not familiar with (U)EFI, think of it like this:

The EEPROM EFI part is what used to be the classical BIOS that gets your computer into a bootable state after power cycle. The extension EFI part on the EFI partition is like a boot loader, that takes over when booting the operating system supposed to start and it may contain any kind of additional hardware/filesystem support relevant to booting systems. Yet a dedicated complex boot loader isn't always needed. Also with the classical BIOS it wasn't always required to have a complex boot loader installed at all on your hard disk; sometimes the BIOS would just read the MBR (master boot record) to RAM and execute the code found in it and the system booted.

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I suspect the second file is a security update. The 1st one most certainly is a no-fly zone. Has to do with firmware I think.

However, never ever mess with your (U)EFI partition, or you may have a very expensive Apple doorstop on your hands...

Well, my own EFI partition is mounted here. You can mess around with it all you like on an external bootable USB stick.

I'm doing this just to see if I'm able to run an unallowed version of OSX on a very old, already scrapped Mac Mini.

OS bootloader seems to depend on (U)EFI, namely... Revive a broken bootloader/ EFI partition, and you may do wonders. I think.

Just look at this: http://xpcboot.weebly.com

Have fun, but don't break a working Mac...

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  • Yeah, I've referred to bricking it attempting the fix as being the largest investment I'll have ever made in a door stop too. Verbatim. I'm finally heading back to US where I can just go to the apple store and (cringe) let somebody else fix it. Been talking the hackintosh crowd, they seem to think unibeast and clover may be my best bet. While I'm not risk averse by a stretch, the stakes are just too high for me. Thanks for weighing. I know now that this isn't the forum for this (type? depth?) of question. Jun 21, 2017 at 7:39
  • If you have another Mac at hand, you can easily undo any "damage" you do while trying this, I think. Just first make sure you can put your primary Mac into Target Disk Mode and then access it from your other Mac. You should even be able to boot your primary's Mac boot volume on your other Mac in case your primary Mac won't boot on its own any more. If you use a disk editor like iBored, you can then first save your EFI partition, then try your mods, and eventually restore the original one. I've done that many times. Though, most modern Macs do not even need the EFI any more to boot. Jul 16, 2018 at 11:27
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Mac OS X does not use the EFI (extended firmware interface) partition, it can boot with an empty EFI partition.

The EFI partition is more or less a standard in the GUID partitioning scheme used by Mac OS X. It is always the first partition in the device.

The EFI partition is used for booting other operating systems like Linux. Linux people call it ESP like EFI system partition.

Also EFI and UEFI mean more or less the same thing.

I believe that the EFI partition is used for firmware updates and this is consistent with the presence of Firmware.scap.

A recent post on this

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  • W/o the EFI partition certain kind of hardware is not correctly initialized during power up and may cause boot to fail entirely or hardware to fail as their drivers cannot be loaded since they expects hardware to be in a predefined state. Also booting the recovery system over Internet may not be possible without that partition on older Macs as well as booting over USB or network in general. For major system updates, it is also required. So it's not true that macOS is not using that partition at all, it is only true that it will not be needed in all circumstances to bring the system up.
    – Mecki
    May 17, 2021 at 13:39
  • To be more precise, after deleting the EFI system partition (this is easy with Linux), a Macbook pro 7,1 (mid 2010) still boots Mac OS X El Capitan. Jan 29, 2023 at 1:01

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