0

The situation is as follows:

I have a MacBook Air 13" (early 2015), which was corporate but the employer allowed me to buy it when I was changing jobs. I have installed Windows 10 from an official ISO, using Boot Camp Assistant. Everything went smooth, but now I can't boot back to macOS.

Windows Boot Camp helper can't find the macOS boot partition (AFAIK Boot Camp 6.0 doesn't support APFS). Booting into Boot Manager won't work because there is a password in place (didn't even bother touching it for years, didn't know it was there). I've tried installing Boot Manager 6.1 (which is told to have APFS support) using brigadier, but brigadier downloads 6.0 no matter what I try to do.

I have no means of contacting my previous employer and I have no proof of buying this Mac.

Is there anything I can do to boot back to macOS and/or fix the boot order?

  • Does the Mac also ask for a password, if you hold down the appropriate keys to boot from the internet or from the recovery volume? – David Anderson Mar 26 at 11:10
  • @DavidAnderson Yea, both Cmd + R and Cmd + Option + R bring me to the password prompt. – Korbiwe Mar 26 at 11:19
  • How come you can’t contact your employer? – Bob Mar 26 at 11:34
  • @Bob Well, it's not as much as "I can't" in the truest sense of the word, but I'd have to fly to another city to have their security guy type the password himself as they use the same password for all their corporate MacBooks. And that I can't do in the foreseeable future. And it's a former employer, so that only complicates things further. They might've even lost the password by now. – Korbiwe Mar 26 at 11:42
  • Why not just mail it to him and reimburse him for the cost of mailing it back? – Bob Mar 26 at 11:43
1

I did some research online, and the only ways I found to bypass the firmware password include booting to the recovery partition (which you already tried and it didn’t work) or some trick involving removing and reinstalling the RAM (not an option on your hardware). So here are my suggestions to resolve the issue:

• You said you have no solid proof of ownership. Can you change that? Assuming the people you bought it from are honest, they hopefully will be willing to send you an official document showing that you purchased the machine and then take that to Apple to have them remove the password. That would probably be the easiest way. Even if they aren’t willing to provide you with the documentation, you might still be able to get help from Apple, but I wouldn’t count on it.

• If you’re in an area where it’s possible to purchase insurance on mail/shipments, consider asking your old IT admin if he’s willing to remove the password if you ship it to him. Again, assuming these are honest folk, it stands to reason that they would be willing to oblige you. I would strongly suggest offering to reimburse all return costs (and maybe a little extra for their time) to minimize the impact on their end.

• In an absolute worst-case scenario, you can continue to use your machine with Windows, and the APFS container will stay exactly as it is. You will need to purchase another MacBook if you want to run macOS again, but assuming you get the same model you can get a screwdriver that allows you to open the machine and physically move the old SSD into the new machine and regain access to everything*. Or you can purchase software that allows you to mount the APFS container on Windows so you can recover your files if you don’t have a backup. As a starting point, check out the free trial of Paragon APFS for Windows.

*If you’ve already activated Windows, you’ll need to migrate your product key to the new hardware.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .