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Bought Apple laptop from eBay - lost firmware password - Apple won't reset it without original receipt


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I'm in a bit of a pickle and am hoping someone can help me work out how to get around this:

 

I bought my partner an Apple laptop via eBay three years ago. All seemed above board, but I collected in person and the seller insisted I pay cash as they didn't want to risk a Paypal chargeback - fair enough, I thought.

 

At the time, they assured me they would send me a copy of the original Apple sale receipt and I asked several times.

 

The seller then stopped responding to my messages. Not an issue, I thought, since I had the laptop and didn't think the proof of purchase would be an issue.

 

To prevent the laptop being used if stolen, we put a firmware password on the laptop - this is a low-level password that effectively locks the Mac altogether if the hard disk is changed, which makes it very difficult for thieves to use the laptop if they steal it and try to wipe the hard drive.

 

Six months later in 2015, we realised that we had forgotten the password.

 

We took the laptop to Apple and, after e-mailing every bit of correspondence I had had from the eBay sale and with the seller of the laptop, a nice chap at Apple Ireland authorised my local Apple repair shop to reset the firmware password.

 

Thinking we were out of the woods, my partner put a new password on the machine, wrote it down safely in a book, and that was that.

 

Fast forward to two weeks ago, and we have realised that we have once again forgotten the password, and, having moved house, have lost the book.

 

However, this time, Apple have refused to reset the password, because we don't have the original sale receipt for the laptop.

 

Apple have said that, since we don't have the original proof of purchase, we will have to pay around £500 to have a new main board (the logic board) replaced.

 

My instinct in this matter is that, having proven once beyond reasonable doubt that we are the legitimate owners of the laptop, a reasonable person would believe that we are still the rightful owners of the laptop, and Apple should remove the password.

 

If somebody could help, we would be most grateful (in fact, if you can help us get Apple to authorise this password removal, I will send you £50 and a crate of beer/cider/wine/fizzy pop of your choice) :-)

 

Thanks ever so much!

 

Alex

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did you supply the same information the second time as you did the first . I must admit that's why I don't like firmware passwords can cause serious problems . have you tried talking to apply rather than emailing them . sry that's as far as my knowledge takes me but I have found when you talk to apple (In my cases) I got a very good response

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No 1, stop putting passwords on personal items which are hardly ever needed. 99.9% of the time only you will use it, especially as it probably lives in your house. If they break into your house the laptop is the least of your worries. If you need to leave it somewhere unsafe temporarily password it and then take it off when you get back.

 

Maybe the insurance co. can help. Are you sure it hasn't fallen down stairs recently?

 

H

44 years at the pointy end of the motor trade. :eek:

GARUDALINUX.ORG

Garuda Linux comes with a variety of desktop environments like KDE, GNOME, Cinnamon, XFCE, LXQt-kwin, Wayfire, Qtile, i3wm and Sway to choose from.

 

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did you supply the same information the second time as you did the first . I must admit that's why I don't like firmware passwords can cause serious problems . have you tried talking to apply rather than emailing them . sry that's as far as my knowledge takes me but I have found when you talk to apple (In my cases) I got a very good response

 

Hi postmn, thanks for your reply. Same information supplied both times. I've spoke with Apple's Ireland support and have re-sent all the evidence but they don't seem willing or able to help, either... :(

 

No 1, stop putting passwords on personal items which are hardly ever needed. 99.9% of the time only you will use it, especially as it probably lives in your house. If they break into your house the laptop is the least of your worries. If you need to leave it somewhere unsafe temporarily password it and then take it off when you get back.

 

H

 

Much as I hate to admit it, I think you're right - I've always been very (probably over-) cautious about these things, but this firmware password is proving to be a massive pain in the backside. :@ Thanks, Hammy :):(

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The firmware password can be a pain (as in this case!), but can be useful.

 

My Mac laptop has Orbicule Undercover installed, increasing the chance I will recover it if stolen.

The firmware password prevents a theif circumventing this by replacing the hard drive, making it more likely it will have the (non-passworded) Guest account acceesssd, triggering Orbicule.

 

The “price I pay” is having the firmware password set, and the risk is

(As you have found!) that Apple insist on proof of ownership to reset it.

I’m afraid (& for the reason it protects me if my laptop is stolen) : I wouldn’t want Apple to behave otherwise, or people to provide “work-arounds” that limit that protection.

 

The firmware password prevents a theif

 

Or, even, a thief !

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The firmware password can be a pain (as in this case!), but can be useful.

 

Hi Bazza, you're right - to a point - I do something similar on my laptop security-wise.

 

That said, I have proof from eBay and e-mail/iMessage conversations with the seller discussing the laptop, plus the seller's name, address and phone number, and I have chatted with an Apple tech support bod who was sufficiently satisfied that I was the rightful owner that they confirmed that the laptop wasn't listed stolen, and that the owner's details I'd given them matched Apple's record of the original purchaser of the laptop.

 

Hence why I think I have enough evidence that a reasonable person would think, ok, he's paid for the laptop - there's fair consideration - so it's now his property.

 

So I think the issue comes down to "is it my laptop or did I just knock a little old lady over and steal it from her" as much as it is, "I have proven I bought this laptop from a private seller, but because I don't have a copy of the original Apple receipt of sale, Apple are refusing to remove the firmware password."

 

:(

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it wouldn't be that easy :), cmos is not re firmware chip afaik. deck, do a googly on it. there appears to maybe be 'some' poss options out there that cld be tried if apple definitely can't help, depending on model/circs etc. at your own risk.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Soo... In the end, Apple declined to remove the password.

 

A little bit of frustrated Googling later and I picked up something called an SPI chip flasher from a website whose name includes the words "rebel" and "simcard", complete with clip that goes over the EFI/SPI chip. This all connected into a USB port on another laptop via some Chinese software called FlyPro and, after a bit of faff, I managed to read the chip contents, delete the firmware password, and re-flash the chip successfully.

 

So, while I'm happy that my partner's laptop is now password-free and no other issues have come up, I'm rather cross at Apple for being so difficult about this, when it's clearly a lot less-difficult to defeat this security system than they would like one to believe.

 

Grr, mutter, grumble etc.

 

Anyway, happy Friday everybody :)

 

/Alex

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sorry I didn't see this thread

I do these all the time

as you've found very easy....

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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glad it's sorted.

when i looked it up before i saw that poss 'flash' solution etc, but didn't want to post them up just in case. :)

ps, make sure you're virus free.

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