TTG 1740 for Sunday 25 October 2020

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

I switched to Google Fi back in April 2017 on a Nexus 5x. For me the default setting has always been Android Messages/Messages for the Web for text and Android Phone for talk. I’ve never used Voice or, Hangouts, and haven’t seen any reason for me to to use them (I don’t do video calls).

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Mac Password Recovery

On TTG 1740, a caller wanted to know how to get into a MacBook after forgetting their password. It was stated there was a method detailed on CNET that by using Terminal in Recovery Mode, the password could be reset. This led me to be extremely perturbed, because the method defined in the article would mean any 10 year old able to read English, and press buttons as directed, could get into my Mac.

I know some might consider this blasphemy, but I have learned the hard way everything one reads on the internet (CNET and How To Geek in this case) is not totally correct.

Bottom line before the story. Assuming you did not encrypt your drive with FileVault, if you forgot your Mac password, and you don’t know your AppleID password, or you have not set up a recovery Apple device, a recovery phone number, or a recovery email address for your AppleID, you are not getting back into your Mac without a visit to an Apple Store unless you can convince Apple to break their security rules. Take that, script kiddies.

If you did encrypt your drive with FileVault, there are three possibilities;

First, you saved the the 24 character recovery key you created when encrypting the drive. Good job.

Second, you chose to enable unlocking your Mac with your AppleID and you know the user name, and password, or you set up a recovery phone number or email address for your AppleID. Again, good job.

Third, you did neither of these two, in which case you’re about to lose all your data after reinstalling MacOS from scratch (unless you happen to regularly backup to a bootable image).

The story is I tried the recovery mode password reset on my MacBook Air running High Sierra. Immediately found out I had enabled FileVault without a recovery key or enabling the AppleID recovery (I seem to recall being in a rush after backing out of the dosdude1 patcher Catalina install). But, since I didn’t actually forget my Mac password, I decided to redo FileVault correctly. So, the day before leaving on our first relaxing trip away for 3 nights since March lockdowns, I started the FileVault decryption process. You know that power setting to let your laptop screen sleep, but not the computer, well it does seem to slow the computer to a crawl whenever the screen goes to sleep. A process initially showing about 6 hours to decrypt kept defaulting to ~15 hours each time the screen went to sleep. Setting both to “never” worked great, until the forgotten 1 hour timer for the screen saver kicked in. 14 hours later, the decryption was done. After proving resetting the password was pretty secure, decided to wait until we get back from trip to re-activate FileVault (and create and save recovery key).