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Something I never saw happened to my MacBook Air 2014. I was pressing some keys when it restarted itself to the Firmware password screen. I never set up a firmware password and two minutes before I could start to start-up manager without problem. Now it seems I'll have to get it to a repair center to have the password removed by Apple.

Can a keyboard shortcut set up a firmware password by itself?

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  • if someone logs in to iCloud.com with your Apple ID, they can lock your device, which has the firmware password lock screen. I just tested it....Computer A locked Computer B, which then immediately restarted into "Unlock the Firmware" mode. Jul 15, 2020 at 20:28

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What you are describing is not possible unless at some time in the past you, or someone else deliberately booted into Recovery mode, ran the Firmware Password Utility from the Utilities menu and then set a Firmware password. No key combination creates and sets the Firmware password automatically.

Have you powered down the Mac by holding the power button until it shuts off?

Do you now get the Firmware password on boot up?

Is it possible you might have a friend or colleague with enough (evil) knowledge to boot your machine into Recovery mode and set the Firmware password as a prank or as deliberate sabotage? If this is genuinely your computer, (and I have no evidence that it is or isn't your computer from my side of the LCD screen,) this is another possible reason your Mac suddenly has a Firmware password set.

Note: If you go to a repair center to have them remove the Firmware password, you may have to prove ownership of the MBA for them to unlock it.

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  • I agree with you but that's what happened! I'm sure no-one enabled it as I had just started the Mac from an external volume and then this happened, May 9, 2019 at 23:19
  • @IconDaemon "...deliberately booted into Recovery mode..." Not entirely true. Using "Find My Mac" to lock a device would have the same effect. Jul 15, 2020 at 20:29
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No, there is no keyboard combination that will enable a firmware password. Either you or someone else accidentally or intentionally enabled it.

Lucky for you, there might be a way to disable it, without bringing it to Apple. To do this you will have to be booted into any partition/drive with macOS installed on it, and have SIP disabled (so if it isn't disabled already, you can't do this).


Edit:

I couldn't find all of the files needed for this easily, so I made a GitHub repo with instructions on how to recover the firmware password, and the files necessary to do so.

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  • Hi Sam: as far as I know, you cannot boot from an external macOS volume if firmware password is enabled. May 9, 2019 at 23:18
  • @Antonio23249 this doesn't require you booting into an external volume, check out the github link and you'll see (it's a tutorial on how to get and run KeyRecoveryAssistant.app on a non-recovery partition.
    – Sam
    May 10, 2019 at 4:20
  • Sam, thanks for the answer. I'm reluctant to use that procedure. Isn't there a risk of the Mac getting bricked or some other downside? May 11, 2019 at 21:25
  • @Antonio23249 nope, it's not deleting or moving anything (Base System.dmg is copied). I tried it myself before creating the guide, so I can assure you that if you follow it, your computer won't get bricked.
    – Sam
    May 12, 2019 at 1:10
  • Thanks a lot Sam, much appreciated. I'm try that. May 12, 2019 at 21:52

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