I've inherited an older Retina Macbook Pro from a deceased relative. I don't know the password for their user account, and I would like to make the machine usable.

I have a Time Machine backup from my own MBP, however when attempting to restore it, I'm asked for the disk's password: enter image description here

I also can't mount the disk using Disk Utilities, as it again asks me for a password to unlock the disk.

I don't mind losing data, I just want the machine to be usable again. What are my next steps?

2 Answers 2


Go back to the screen that lets you see the initial screen if there isn't a Utilities menu where you can access Disk Utility.

At that point, you want to fire up Disk Utility and eject the backup disk (or start over without the backup drive connected) and erase the target drive.

This will wipe all data and the OS off that drive but it won't ask for the password since you aren't reading the data - just making a new blank filesystem on top of the old one.

Then you can proceed to boot and choose the blank drive to restore.

A full guide is available from Apple on how to erase and install an OS.

Just remember to not erase your only copy of bootable macOS or have a plan to make a bootable drive if you need one.


I don't know how you might bypass the password on the Retina's disk.

However, you could consider bypassing the Retina's disk entirely by replacing it. With a new (or at least blank) HD or SSD in the Retina and a bootable macOS installer on a USB stick, you could boot from the USB stick, then format the new disk, and proceed to your restore.

  • You're close - just use the format function from the bootable disk to wipe the "locked" drive. I've added an answer since there are some caveats and steps to describe this since replacing a retina drive is generally hard and they are generally excellent quality and performance so a replacement can be costly or a downgrade.
    – bmike
    Dec 6, 2017 at 23:46

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