Mac: Locked firmware password and you didn’t set one. Or did you?

I recently had a pretty major problem on my mac.

The ‘Master Firmware Password’ appeared to have been set on my new Macbook Pro, but I don’t remember ever setting one. The firmware lock prevents you from choosing boot up options like holding down ‘alt’ to select a startup disc, or using cmd-R to enter recovery mode.

I hit a problem when my Bootcamp installation become corrupt. Windows 7 wouldn’t start and I couldn’t get it to boot off the recovery USB stick that I made. So I thought, no problem, we can just boot back to OS X. But that’s when the problem started.

Because for whatever reason I had the firmware lock, it wouldn’t let me choose OS X as the startup disc. My Mac was effectively bricked. Stuck on the Windows 7 side, which itself didn’t work. It would not boot OS X, and holding down the alt key sent me to a grey screen with a giant padlock and a password box.

I couldn’t for the life of me remember setting a password. It was a brand new machine (a few months old) so it seemed odd to have a firmware password set, when it is usually turned off by default. After reading pages and pages of forum posts from the Apple support website and endless googling, I stumbled upon the answer: Find My Mac.

I will now give you my solution: When I first got the laptop, I setup ‘Find My Mac’ as most people do. Months ago I tried to test a ‘remote lock’ of the mac from the website. I expected a remote lock to prevent user access in the OS, a bit like the iPhone lock screen. To my dissapointment the lock function didn’t seem to work, nothing happened on my screen, and it just seemed to have failed. I completely forgot about this, until now.

You see, when you do a ‘lock my mac’ from that website, it turns out some sort of bug (or maybe it’s meant to do this, I don’t know?) actually locks the FIRMWARE password of the mac, using the password you entered on the website as the firmware lock password.

So to solve the problem, all I had to do was remember what the password I entered into the ‘Find My Mac’ website was all those months ago. Thankfully it turned out to be ‘1111’.

So if you find your mac’s firmware has suddenly become locked, the password might well be one you entered into the ‘Find My Mac’ website to lock the device. It will save you a lot of time and messing about with visiting an Apple Store to try and reset the password.

iTunes Store – Connection Problems with SSL

I have to connect through a corporate proxy server from where I am at the moment. I recently discovered that my iTunes was not connecting properly to the store – I couldn’t buy anything and I wasn’t able to check for downloads! It was incredibly infuriating – all my https proxy settings were correct, and it had been working for the past couple of months. Of course, there was always the chance that they had started to block the iTMS. But, it was still working on other people’s computers (macs).

It had to be something to do with the SSL security chain. Pushing https through a proxy never works well; somehow, all of my SSL connections are routed through the proxy server by using the proxy’s own certificates(?!)

Anyway, to solve the problem, quite simply, I had to visit the following sites in Safari, and when the warning popped up about the SSL connection not being trusted (because the proxy was intercepting it, I guess?), just click continue. Because in Mac OS X, all certificates are kept in one place for all apps to access, allowing it in safari will allow it for all other default applications.

Simply visit the following sites with the https:// prefix:


After clicking continue a few times on the popup, it started working!

You’d think that iTunes would have realised there was a problem and come up with a window itself, saying “SSL error”, but instead it just times out.


Apple iPhone Bumper

My free iPhone bumper arrived last week – Finally! I ordered it near the end of August, so it’s taken a good month to arrive…
The bumper itself is pretty good. It’s well made and pretty sturdy (as you’d expect from any apple product hopefully!). It does also protect the back of the iPhone, as the rubber bit slightly raises it off the desk when you put it down to prevent scratches to the back.

New MacBook Pro

I finally decided to get a new mac as my old 2008 model has suffered the fatal Nvidia graphics card failure. The screen just went black, and now it won’t turn on, though you can still use Target disk mode and it makes the startup chime; just no video! Hopefully it will be covered under apple’s extended warranty.

Back to my new one then. I went for the 15″, Core i7, with High res antiglare display. The choice of display was a tough one: I couldn’t decide, like so many others, which one to get. Glossy or Anti-Glare? Well, I can now announce that A-G is definitely worth it. The colour is WAY better than my ’08 A-G display and it has good blacks still. But, NO nasty glare. Also, the silver bezel looks a lot more professional than the black glass border. Plus, less fingerprints..

Other thoughts? Well, the front edge of the mac is really sharp with the bare metal. My wrists are getting slightly red from typing, though maybe it’s just bad posture? Anyhow I hope the metal wears slightly as I use it. Another issue I discovered was opening the lid. I have to apply a lot of force in order to overcome the magnet which holds the lid down. It’s almost too strong, as it lifts the front of the laptop slightly off the desk by a few millimetres until the lid opens.

Other than that, so far, so good. It’s a great machine to work on, really fast and it’s lighter and thinner than the old models.

Waiting for Apple’s new laptops

So, you’ve probably heard from somewhere that Apple are expected to release new Macbook Pro’s any day now. But the thing is, they should’ve released them months ago. In fact, it’s been almost 10 months since the last update (which in itself wasn’t that major), and many apple fans are starting to wonder whether apple have all but forgotten that they make products other than the iPad.

While everyone on various forums and internet sites are speculating about which Tuesday it will be released on, I can predict with 100% certainty that they will be released before 2012….

You might want to pop over and look at Their forums are overflowing with speculative rumours and guesses about when the arrandale MBP’s will arrive.