Home > FileVault 2, Mac administration, Mac OS X > Stopping your Mac from booting to the FileVault 2 Reset Password wizard

Stopping your Mac from booting to the FileVault 2 Reset Password wizard

When a FileVault 2-encrypted Mac sits for more than a minute with an account selected at the FileVault 2 pre-boot login screen, a message like the one below should appear:

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.

Screen shot 2015 01 15 at 1 40 50 pm

If the instructions are followed, the Mac will boot from the Mac’s recovery partition on the next startup and go into a FileVault 2 Reset Password wizard.

Screen Shot 2015 05 27 at 7 58 05 AM

In the Reset Password wizard, there are currently three options available.

  1. I forgot my password
  2. My password doesn’t work when logging in
  3. My keyboard isn’t working when typing my password to login

However, if you don’t want or need to use the Reset Password wizard, there’s not an obvious way to get back to the FileVault 2 pre-boot login screen. There’s no visible way to quit, and rebooting the Mac using the power button will return you to the Reset Password wizard.

Thanks to research by the folks in the ##osx-server IRC room, it looks like there’s a relatively straightforward way to reset the boot process:

  1. While booted to the initial Reset Password wizard screen, press and hold the power button on your Mac to shut it down
  2. Reset NVRAM
  3. Once the NVRAM reset procedure has been completed, let the Mac boot.

At that point, you should be taken to the FileVault 2 pre-boot login screen instead of the Reset Password wizard.

Screen Shot 2015 05 27 at 8 05 49 AM

Credit to arrose in the ##osx-server IRC room for figuring this out.

Update 5-28-2015: As elvisizer mentioned in the comments, there is also the option of revealing the hidden menu at the top of the screen and using the Startup Disk preferences to select your hard drive and reboot back to FileVault 2 pre-boot login screen. Since this is easier to show rather than explain, I’ve made a short video of the process.

Note: The password used to unlock the drive in the Startup Disk preferences can be the password of any account that appears on the Mac’s FileVault 2 pre-boot login screen. If you can log in at the pre-boot login screen, you should be able to enter your password to unlock.

  1. May 27, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    NVRAM reset is what I’ve been doing to get around this with my end users. I wish there was a way to turn this feature off for mobile accounts… -_-

  2. elvisizer
    May 27, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    You can get out of this from the reset password wizard’s GUI, too. The reset password application is running in full screen mode. Mouse up to the top of the screen, and the menu bar will appear. Click on the Apple menu, click ‘choose startup disk’, and you’ll get the Recovery HD-style startup disk control panel. Choose your normal startup disk, give it your password, and click restart and the mac will boot normally again.

    • rory
      June 4, 2020 at 10:23 am

      I’ve done this and become stuck again. get all they way to restart and then it restarts to a black screen 😦

  3. May 27, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Is there a way to prevent the reset password option? It seems like a very easy way to subvert the purpose of file vault. Example being I lose laptop, someone boots into reset password for admin, or any account, reboot and they have access to an unencrypted hard drive.

    • May 27, 2015 at 5:35 pm


      You would need to already have the password of an account which is authorized to unlock the drive before you could reset any account’s password using the Reset Password wizard.

      Without the encryption being unlocked first, there’s no access to the OS, account information or anything else on the encrypted boot drive.

      If you want more information on how the Reset Password wizard works, I have a post available here:


  4. Andreas
    May 27, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    Macs do not have Wizards.
    Macs have Assistants.
    Wizards and their evil Magic are for Windows …

  5. August 11, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    thank you for this, this actually saved me twice today!

  6. Walter
    October 30, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    Anyone figure out a way to disable this completely? We use directory accounts so the password reset is useless. Secondly, we do not want our users decrypting their hard drives! Seems like a really ridiculous option to have available.

  7. Anna
    May 19, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you! You saved my day.

  8. September 9, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Boom! Boss 16,500 kilometres away and I got him fixed in under five minutes!

  9. Andy May
    October 5, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Thanks! has anyone found a way of blocking this ?
    In testing i just used a non admin active directory user account to reset the password for the local admin account, not good….

  10. John washington
    December 22, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    Brilliant. Thank you so much

  11. May 20, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    I’m not getting any hidden menu at the top . . . no way to get out of this password reset loop. Tried resetting the PRAM and it keeps going back to this damn recovery password reset screen . . ..

  12. May 20, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    This is horrendous, all I did was enable filevault and I can’t log into my Mac

  13. Lisa
    July 14, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Just had this happen on an El Cap macbook pro. Had to reset the P-RAM, reboot, and that fixed it.

  14. Andi
    November 10, 2017 at 1:14 am

    What do you do if your mouse doesnt let you click on the apple button either ro choose disk and your keyboard isn’t working to enter a password? Nor is the computer responding to any command and just redirects to the 3 option page over and over again?

  15. Ashkey
    November 15, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    This is happening to me, but my screen is also not working. I plugged it into a TV, but my understanding is that the NVRAM reset won’t work with anything plugged in. What can I do?

    • Demian
      December 12, 2017 at 1:41 am

      I am experiencing the exact same problem right this minute. Were you ever able to find a solution??

  16. Corail
    February 1, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    Thank you so much! Very helpful.

  17. Harshendra
    March 20, 2018 at 5:03 am

    Thanks 4 this article. It helped me a lot.

  18. Darlene Sarno
    May 11, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    This causes major problems when the laptop owner is blind!!! I have had this happen twice within the first week of my blind friend purchasing a MacBook Pro. I even tried to get her to boot up with the key commands to Zap PRAM, which was too confusing for me to try and get her to do, she’s a new Mac user and this was difficult for her to do! The meant that I had to drive to her house (1/2 hour away) just to get the MacBook out of this loop. There needs to be a way to disable this feature!!!

  19. Sylvie
    November 6, 2018 at 12:31 am

    THANK YOU!!!!!

  20. smiller
    November 14, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    has anyone else had trouble clearing NVRAM from TouchBar MacBooks (2017 and later) when FV2 is enabled? I have had a devil of a time getting it to happen using the keyboard command at boot. I used the terminal command to do it but it’s hard to feel confident about that.

  21. Anoniem
    April 4, 2021 at 8:21 am

    Omg thank you so much. Have been busy with his for hours and because of this guide I fixed it in 10 min 🙏🏻 Cant thank you enough!

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