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Is it possible to lock my MacBook to my Apple ID so that if it gets stolen (macOS) is useless when someone tries to reinstall it?

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New Mac hardware supports activation lock:

To use it, you need:

  • macOS Catalina
  • a mac with a T2 chip
  • activate two-factor authentication for your Apple ID
  • Make sure Secure Boot is enabled for your mac (it is enabled by default)

How to Activate it: - turn on Find My Mac

How to check that Activation Lock is on: - Choose Apple menu  > About this Mac. - Click System Report. - Click Activation Lock Status under Hardware.

Turn off Activation Lock: Before you send your Mac in for service, sell it, or give it away, you should turn off Activation Lock.

If you have access to the device, turn off Find My Mac to disable Activation Lock, and then sign out of iCloud: - Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences. - Click Apple ID, then click iCloud. - Turn off Find My Mac. - Click the Sign Out button.

If you can't access your Mac and you need to turn off Activation Lock, follow these steps: - Go to iCloud.com and sign in with your Apple ID. - Click Find iPhone. - Select All Devices, then click your Mac. - Click Erase Mac. Select Next until the device is erased. - Click the X next to your Mac.

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    I changed my accepted answer to this one because it reflects the current state
    – Hedge
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 13:44
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    Thanks @Hedge this is something I love about our community. Things change, we can edit and update things. I’ve posted tons of answer that are wrong first and right later and vice versa. Marking the check is super important when we can keep that current.
    – bmike
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 19:02
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There's no activation lock on macOS, however you can enable Lost Mode using Find My Mac. This will lock the Mac with a PIN, which will be required to use the Mac again, and cannot be bypassed by reinstalling macOS.


Lock your Mac
You can use Find My Mac to remotely lock your Mac with a passcode. You can also display a custom message on its screen.

If your Mac is lost or stolen

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  • Might need a clarification which T2 chips allow limited lock and/or discuss firmware passwords.
    – bmike
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 22:03
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On computers without the T2 (or even with it), you can enable a Firmware password.

For even more protection, you can set a firmware password. A firmware password prevents users who don't have the password from starting up from any disk other than the designated startup disk.

Technically this can be bypassed. As apple states on that page

If you can't remember your firmware password or passcode, schedule an in-person service appointment with an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. Bring your Mac to the appointment, and bring your original receipt or invoice as proof of purchase.

This indicates that it is likely possible to bypass it (as opposed to encryption). My guess is that the firmware needs to be replaced which is not a particularly easy process and likely requires mangling with hardware which is why Apple must do it.

It's not perfect but its the next best thing if you don't have a T2 Chip.

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