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So, you found a MacBook Pro, but how do you unlock it? Discovering a Mac like that can be pretty exciting. However, if it’s locked, there’s seemingly not much you can do with it.
Luckily, as someone who troubleshoots macOS devices professionally, I can help you out. I’ve provided you with two simple solutions to this problem below, so let’s jump right in.
I Found a MacBook Pro, What Do I Do? Report It!
Before attempting to unlock the MacBook Pro, you should first look for its owner in the vicinity where you found it. Then, you can also report it to the Lost & Found department of the local Police station or any other competent authority.
If the owner doesn’t claim it within 30 days of you reporting it, the Police may call you up to collect it and you’re free to use it as your own. Alternatively, you can visit the nearest Apple Store and check if they can contact the owner by using the physical serial number of the Mac.
How To Unlock a MacBook Pro if You Are Not the Owner?
Overall, there are two methods to unlock a MacBook Pro. Both are pretty easy, but let’s start with the one that requires the least amount of work.
Disclaimer: I can’t take screenshots in Recovery Mode, so I apologize for the lower quality of the images.
Solution 1: Reset Password
This method is only available in dated macOS devices where you don’t go through a password challenge to access the recovery utility. Follow these steps:
- Shut down the Mac.
- Press and hold the Command and R keys on the keyboard.
- Now, press the power on key once.
- Keep holding the Command + R keys until you access the recovery screen.
- Once you see the Recovery Utility screen, press Shift + Command + T to launch Terminal.
- Type the following line into Terminal and hit Enter:
- On the Reset Password dialog, click the Forgot all passwords? link.
- Choose any admin account shown on the screen and click Set Password.
- Enter a new password and click Set Password.
- Reboot the device now to access it with your new credentials.
Again, this method only works on older devices. You can’t reset a MacBook where you must enter an admin account password to go to the Recover Utility screen. In that situation, you should follow Solution 2.
Solution 2: Reinstall macOS From Scratch
If you’re the current owner of an unclaimed MacBook, you can follow these steps to wipe it clean and access it:
- Shut down the MacBook.
- Keep pressing the power on button until you see the Macintosh HD and Options screen.
- On older devices or those with an Intel chip, you should keep pressing Command + R and then press the power button.
- Click Options and then hit Continue.
- On the macOS Recovery screen, click the Recovery Assistant option.
- Choose Erase Mac.
- On the Erase Mac dialog, click the Erase Mac hyperlink again.
- Click Erase Mac on the final confirmation pop-up to start the process.
- Once the disk has been deleted, you’ll see the Install macOS Ventura (or any other edition) window.
- You can install a fresh OS now online on the erased MacBook Pro.
You found a MacBook, so how do you unlock it? Pretty easily, in fact! You should be able to access the device by following any of the methods mentioned above. Once again, do try to find the owner before attempting to unlock it. Or, report it and let the waiting period complete because the owner can press charges on you otherwise.
Feel free to comment below if you’ve ever had a similar experience!