Using a login password on your Mac is a simple way of ensuring your macOS user account stays private, and using FileVault to encrypt your startup disk means only users who can log in to your Mac can read the disk's data. However, neither security method will prevent someone from booting your machine from an external hard drive.

mac locked
One way to eliminate this vulnerability is by setting a firmware password on your Mac, which will prevent it from working with any other bootable volume than the one you've designated. However before you follow through with the procedure, there's a potential drawback you should definitely consider.

The password is held in a special area of persistent memory on your Mac's mainboard, so it's not something you can reset easily like other passwords. In fact, if you forget the firmware password, the only way to get it reset is to schedule an in-person service appointment with an Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider. With that caveat in mind, here are the steps you can take to set up a firmware password on your Mac.

How to Set a Firmware Password on Your Mac

  1. Power off your Mac if it's already running.
  2. Turn on your Mac and then immediately press and hold down the Command (⌘) and R keys to activate Recovery Mode.
    set a firmware password on your mac

  3. Wait for the OS X Utilities screen to appear, then select Utilities -> Startup Security Utility from the menu bar.
    set a firmware password on your mac 2

  4. Click Turn On Firmware Password....
    set a firmware password on your mac 3

  5. Enter the same firmware password in both fields provided, then click Set Password.
    set a firmware password on your mac 4

  6. Click Quit Firmware Password Utility.
    set a firmware password on your mac 5

  7. Click the Apple () menu and select Restart.

That's all there is to it. With the firmware password set, no one will be able to access your Mac's data by using an external hard drive. If you want to turn off a firmware password on your Mac that you've set up, the process is basically the same as above, except at step 4 you click Turn Off Firmware Password.

Popular Stories

RIP iPod Feature

RIP iPod: A Look Back at Apple's Iconic Music Player Over the Years

Friday May 13, 2022 2:25 pm PDT by
Apple earlier this week announced the discontinuation of the iPod touch, and because it was the last iPod still available for purchase, its sunsetting effectively marks the end of the entire iPod lineup. To send the iPod on its way, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the most notable iPod releases over the last 21 years. Original iPod (2001) Introduced in October...
iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
14 16 inch 2021 mbps back to back feature orange

Five Things You Still Can't Do With a MacBook Pro

Wednesday May 11, 2022 11:16 am PDT by
It's been over 200 days since Apple debuted its redesigned MacBook Pro lineup. Offered in 14-inch and 16-inch display sizes, the new-look MacBooks wowed Apple fans and creative pros alike with their powerful custom Apple silicon, mini-LED screen, and multiple connectivity options. But there are still some things you can't do with a MacBook Pro. Here are five features some Mac users are still...
iOS 16 mock for article

Which Devices Will iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 Support?

Thursday May 12, 2022 7:29 am PDT by
While there are as yet no concrete rumors related to which devices iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 will support, the discontinuation of the iPod touch earlier this week may be an indication that as many as nine devices could be about to lose support for Apple's upcoming operating systems. iOS and iPadOS 13, 14, and 15 support all of the same devices, with the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus,...
apple mac ipad watch trade in

Apple Launches Limited-Time Bonus Trade-In Credit for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch in Many Countries

Wednesday May 11, 2022 5:14 am PDT by
Apple has launched a special limited-time offer for iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac, and iPad trade-in that offers customers additional credit when trading in their only device for a new one. The offer is being run in several countries including the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, India, and France. In the UK, Apple is offering up to £50 of extra trade-in credit...
sony

Sony Unveils Redesigned WH-1000XM5 Headphones With Improved Noise Cancelation

Thursday May 12, 2022 9:26 am PDT by
Sony's flagship WH-1000XM4 noise-canceling headphones have been among the best on the market for some time, and today Sony announced its fifth-generation WH-1000XM5 headphones, boasting a new design and several improvements over the previous model. The redesigned headphones replace the shrouded arms that swivel on the XM4's with an exposed arm that has a single contact point at the earcups,...
apple tv 4k design clue

Kuo: New Apple TV to Launch in Second Half of 2022, Lower Price Possible

Friday May 13, 2022 7:58 am PDT by
Apple plans to launch a new version of the Apple TV in the second half of 2022, according to well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a tweet today, Kuo said the new Apple TV will have an improved cost structure, suggesting that the device could have a lower price that is more competitive with other streaming media players like Google's Chromecast line, Amazon's Fire TV line, and the Roku line. ...
iPhone 14 Purple Feature

Full Range of iPhone 14 Color Options Revealed by Purported Leak From China

Wednesday May 11, 2022 2:20 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models will be available in a refreshed range of color options, including an all-new purple color, according to a recent rumor. The claim comes from a post on Chinese social media site Weibo by an unverified source and purports to reveal the full range of color options for Apple's upcoming iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models. Compared to the selection of color...