The issue

Regularly, the following happens:

  1. A Mac computer, running mac OS 10.15.3 (19D76), with Filevault enabled, is turned on,
  2. If the user logs in immediately, everything is normal.
  3. Otherwise, after a couple of minutes, the following message appears:

    If you’re having a problem entering your password, press and hold the power button on your Mac to shut it down. Then press it again to start it up in the Recovery OS.

  4. After ~5 minutes, the screen goes black.
  5. Then, the screen can not be brought back up. Pressing keys or touching the touchpad does not bring back the screen.
  6. The only way to interact with the computer again is by hitting the "Power" button. Once hit, there is a ~2 minutes waiting time, and the "Reset password wizard" appears.
  7. Since we do not want to reset the password (after all, we know it!), we have to reboot the computer, which takes some time, and to go back to step 1.

Can you make password recovery starts only if explicitly asked, and not if this time limit, or whatever it is, was triggered?

What I've Tried

None of that raised any issue nor changed this behavior.

Related Questions

The process looks fairly similar to what's described here.

I'm assuming this comes from some time-delay we trigger, but it is annoying. We are not not entering the password because we forgot it, but simply because we were doing something else at the time.

This question is loosely related, and suggests that this behavior comes from enabling Filevault. I do not want to deactivate it, but would like for the log-in screen to "simply come back" when the mouse is moved or a key pressed, without having to exit the "reset password wizard" and rebooting.

  • Time triggered Safe mode is new to me, check Shift key first. apple.stackexchange.com/questions/36636/… apple.stackexchange.com/questions/linked/36636
    – anki
    Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 12:34
  • Are you saying that if the user logs in immediately, everything is normal?
    – Allan
    Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 16:24
  • Did this error occur after some update (like Catalina or 3rd party software), or did you buy this machine recently?
    – X_841
    Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 6:58
  • There is no time limit trigger for Safe Mode (Safe Mode is also, not for forgotten passwords). Was this an upgrade or did you do a clean install meaning you erased the disk drive and installed Catalina?
    – Allan
    Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 17:20
  • After rereading the question, It sounds to me like macOS thinks you are trying to input a password, even though it should go sleeping after some time. What happens if you use a different keyboard/no keyboard? Can you set the sleep time to something small?
    – X_841
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 11:42

1 Answer 1


Even if it is not mentioned in the release notes, it seems that migrating to macOS Catalina 10.15.4 fixed the issue.

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