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How to Turn Off Find My Mac on MacBook Pro

March 2nd, 2021

Looking for the best method to turn off the Find My Mac Activation Lock? In this video guide you'll see various methods to turn off and disable the Find My feature, but there is a preferred way to ensure it is done right. At the end you'll find a pro tip if you absolutely must do it remotely.

Today's video is going to be about the best method to turn off the Find My Mac feature on a MacBook Pro or any Apple computer running macOS (transcript below).

So this applies to any MacBook, iMac, Mac Mini—basically any Apple computer that's running macOS. Now what is the Find My feature you might ask? It's basically an anti-theft feature that Apple designed so that if you lose your MacBook or someone steals it, whoever has it will have limited use of the MacBook. And then you can still erase it and lock it down—that sort of thing. So it's a really handy feature it's been around for a while but it's only started to become an issue for reselling and giving things away because of the new T2 security chip. So the instructions I'm going to show you today really only apply to MacBooks with the T2 security chip. Now how do you determine if you have a T2 security chip in your unit? Well the easiest way to tell is if you have a fingerprint reader—you know the touch id for your power button. Now that's a general rule of thumb. Of course there are exceptions because some of the newer Mac Minis have the T2 security chip along with the iMacs and Mac Pros and they don't have a fingerprint reader of course built into them. But, as a general rule of thumb if you're looking at MacBooks then the ones with the fingerprint reader or the touch ID, they're going to have the T2 security chip. If they do have the T2 security chip Apple will enforce the Find My features such that if your unit is erased, then during the welcome screens that's going to let the user know—this unit is linked to someone else's iCloud account. And you can still make use of the MacBook, but you will not be able to turn on the Find My feature and the previous owner still basically has control over erasing your unit at any given point in time. So it's really important to turn that Find My feature off when you sell your MacBook or give it away to someone else. And so today I'm going to show you how to do that.

The best way to remove the Find My feature, or the Find My MacBook feature, is to do it on the unit itself. And you might be thinking, "Well did I even turn that particular feature on?" And so let me show you how to tell; so first up you're gonna go to the Apple logo in the upper left corner...you're gonna go to About this Mac and in the window that pops up you're gonna click on System Report. Now you can see over here Activation Lock status "Enabled" and so that means the Find My feature is turned on for this particular unit, so that if someone else got the unit erased it and then tried to add their iCloud account to it they would be unable to turn on the Find My feature. It would present them a message and say "hey this unit is already linked to someone else's iCloud account." So that's how you tell if you have it.

So let's talk about how to remove that Find My feature. So we're going to close out of System Information and now we're going to go into System Preferences. Under System Preferences we're going to navigate to Internet Accounts and then you'll see your iCloud account showing up on the unit. Right now we're going to click on that iCloud option and in the right pane we're going to scroll down, and we want to look for Find My Mac and you can see right here it's a green target icon and it's showing checked with the checkbox—that means it is active. If we go under Options you can see what actually is showing up. So first off we have the Find My Mac feature turned on and we also have the Find My network feature turned on. So we can turn both of these off and so if you're giving away your MacBook or selling it to someone else before you erase it—remember before you erase it—you want to go in here and turn it off. So you're going to hit Disable and then same thing for the Find My Mac, we're going to turn that off. It's going to have you enter your password in and it'll also ask for your local user account on the computer itself. And there you go—so notice how now it shows Find My Mac is off and that's what you want to see. So this is the preferred way to turn off the Find My Mac feature assuming that you have the MacBook in front of you and your possession still. Now here at Jay Brokers as a secondhand marketplace, we deal with iCloud issues quite a bit and I can tell you from experience that when customers try to turn off this feature remotely (just really for macOS) there's a lot of glitches. Apple hasn't quite ironed it all out. Sometimes it gets hung up, sometimes it bricks the unit, sometimes it just doesn't go through. And so really the preferred method is to do it locally on the Machine itself, but I will show you the remote option here in just a minute. But before I show you the remote option let me just show you what it actually looks like if you do give your MacBook away or sell it to someone else, then they erase it but you haven't turned off that Find My feature yet.

Now here's what it looks like for the third party if you've given or sold your MacBook to someone else—they've erased it and now they've signed into it with their iCloud ID. Here's the error message that pops up during the welcome screens in macOS. And so you can notice it's telling the user that someone else has their ID in here and the Find My feature is already turned on. Now you can still use the Mac...you can see I can still advance through the welcome screens, no problems right? But if I try to go into this MacBook later and turn on the Find My feature for my ID—my Apple ID—it will not let me. It'll basically tell me "hey you can only have one Apple ID in use at a time on the Find My feature." But, don't worry as I'm going to show you how to easily turn off that Find My feature assuming that you've got the password for the previous owner—and that's really the key. So if you're in this situation...you've got a MacBook that you bought from someone else and it's locked to their Apple ID, you know—yes they can remove it remotely, but I would discourage against that as again we find a lot of glitches doing that particular method. Now you can see I got through all the welcome screens. I can still make use of the MacBook even though it's tied to someone else's iCloud account with the Find My feature on, but if I try to go in and turn on the Find My feature for my iCloud account that's where it's going to tell me "hey again this unit is tied to someone else's iCloud account." And Apple only lets you turn that Find My feature on for one iCloud account at a time.

All right, so again the current scenario is that imagine you bought this MacBook from someone else you're trying to add your iCloud account to it, but it won't let you because it's still tied to the previous owner's account. So let me show you how you can get that fixed. First we're going to go to the Apple logo in the upper left corner, and we're going to go to System Preferences. Right here we're going to click on the blue Internet Accounts icon with the @ symbol and then we're going to make sure we click on the iCloud section here in the left pane. And now in this right pane we're going to scroll down to the Find My section. Notice how there's the green target icon and it says Find My Mac—Find My Mac it's already in use. And that's because it's still linked to the previous owner's iCloud account. Now watch what happens though when we check the box next to it. So now it comes up and prompts us with the previous owners full Apple ID—their full User ID—and gives us the option to simply enter their password. So if you can get the previous owner's iCloud password you can simply enter it in here and it disassociates it from their account again instantly. So this is the preferred method. I would strongly encourage you if you're in this position and you're trying to get that Find My feature turned off, just reach out to the previous party and ask them for their iCloud password, then enter it into this box. You will not need two-step authentication or anything like that, so once you get the previous owner's Apple ID password you're going to simply enter it in the box here. And then click the continue button. Now it's also going to ask for the local user account password and so we're going to enter that in as well. And then again hit the OK button. All right so now it's going to give you a prompt and say allow Find My Mac to use the location of this Mac, and basically what it's telling you is it successfully took off the previous owner's iCloud account and so now it's asking for your permission to allow Find My to locate this device through device location. So again you're going to enter your password one more time and this is again your device local password for the user account. All right so now you can see that the Find My Mac feature is enabled for your Apple ID and so it successfully removed it from the previous owner. Again this is the preferred way to turn off the Find My Mac feature. If it's out of your possession, you've sold it to another third party, they're trying to access it you can do it remotely, and I will show you that next, but this really is the preferred method. Simply give them your password let them enter it in and it will remove it instantly—compared to doing it remotely which really can lead to a lot of headaches. But, again if you really want to remove it remotely I will show you how to do it.

Now you can do this from just about any computer that's connected to the internet. Here I've got a browser window with Safari open and the URL we want to go to is icloud.com/find. Now that last part is really important—make sure you have iCloud.com/find as that's going to take us directly to the page we need to be on. And you can see first up it's going to ask you to log in with your iCloud ID and we'll hit the next button, and then of course your password.

Alright so you can see that it takes you to a page that resembles a map in the background and that's how you know you've landed on the right place. At the top of your screen you're going to see an "All Devices" menu. Go ahead and pull that down and then you'll see a list of all your devices. Right now we only have one device added to this iCloud account, but if you had multiple devices this list would be longer and you'd see them all lined up there, so you just have to identify which device you're trying to remove. Go ahead and click on that one, now you can see it brings up the last known location of that particular MacBook and how long ago it was detected. Now you'll see here in the upper right of the Safari window that you've got another dialog box with three options. You've got "Play Sound," "Lock," and "Erase Mac." So you might be thinking, "Well how do I turn off the Find My feature or remove it from my iCloud account if there's no remove option?" And here's what's a little bit tricky—so Apple only shows you that remove option after you erase the Mac. So you do indeed have to first click that erase Mac option, and I think the reasoning there is they want to make sure before you remove it from your account—in other words before you lose the ability to erase the Mac or control it remotely—they want to make sure that all your data is removed. And so it's kind of a fail safe, so you do need to click this "Erase Mac" button first.

We'll go ahead and click it and then you can see here it gives you another dialog "Erase this Mac," all your content settings will be erased. Erasing them back may take up to a day to complete—WOW—okay and that's really why this is not the preferred method. Essentially it's going to try to do it instantly, but a lot of it depends on the internet connection and the speed of the internet connection. Now here at Jay Brokers we deal with these kinds of problems quite a bit as you can imagine since we're a secondhand marketplace, and our internet connection is well over 0.5Gbps, you know right around 500 to 600Mbps and when we initiate this request we've seen it take 2, 3, 4 hours easily. Sometimes it's even bricked computers where they won't turn on or show any signs of life and you have to do an SMC reset and so forth. So really would not recommend doing this option unless you absolutely have to. Again I would only recommend doing this remote erase as an absolute last resort so only do this if you just can't get it removed any other way. And this is the only other way you can do it, and just remember it will take a long time to do it. The other thing is it may not be successful. You may click this "Erase" option here and it may not go through. So just fair warning. The preferred way to turn off the Find My Mac feature is really on the device itself and if it's not in your possession, I strongly suggest you just give your iCloud password to the third party temporarily. Once they put that password in and get it turned off you can immediately change your password and that way you know it goes through instantly, and it's done correctly. But, if that just is not an option for you then you can utilize this remote erase option. So we'll go ahead and click this "Erase" button just so you can see what it does. It's going to have you confirm your password one more time for security. And then you'll simply click the next button to proceed. If you have two-factor authentication turned on it's going to send you a six-digit code which you'll enter in right here. And if you haven't used this browser before it's going to give you the trust this browser message, we can just click not now. So now you can see in the browser window it has changed and it shows "Erase Pending" and the only other option you have right here is stop erase request. Now if the MacBook is connected to the internet usually this erase request gets initiated almost instantly within a few seconds and then it'll take several hours of course to complete. But, what if the MacBook is not connected to the internet or what if you click this stop erase request option here? Well let me show you what happens.

So we click the "Stop Erase" request option and then it's going to have you type in your password to confirm. And we'll click the "Stop Erase" button. And you can see it brings us right back to where we started. So it kind of puts you into an endless loop. So this whole process really is dependent on that MacBook being connected to the internet in order for you to remove it remotely. So again I cannot stress this enough that the preferred way to turn off the Find My Mac if you don't have the MacBook in your possession anymore is just to simply give the new owner your password temporarily and then change your password immediately following. That really is the surefire and safest way to get it removed. Because if you initiate this remote erase request it's going to take several hours and again we've even seen it brick certain units where they just don't power on anymore and you have to do an SMC reset. So the preferred method is simply to do it on the MacBook itself.

Let me just interject one important distinction to make. A lot of times people will land on the "Account Settings" page within iCloud that looks just like this here and you can see under "My Devices" it lists your MacBook. And so a lot of users will click on the device and then they see this "X" here and they think okay if I click the "X" it's going to remove it from my iCloud account and then that'll solve the problem, right? Well no this is really like a history—almost like a history of all the different devices that you signed into on your iCloud account. And so yes you can certainly click the "X" here but that is entirely separate from the Find My feature. And I'll just demonstrate real quickly here so I'm going to click the "X" and it's going to ask me if I want to remove it. I'll hit "Remove" and then it's gone...you can see. But, now let me navigate back to the Find My page and that's up here in the iCloud settings, "Find iPhone"... we'll click on that. Now you can see here that it still shows up under the Apple Find My feature even though we just removed it from the iCloud settings page. So just keep in mind these are two separate lists—two separate features within your iCloud account and they are not connected or related to one another. So if you do remove your device from the iCloud settings page, but you don't remove it from the Find My page it's still going to be attached to your iCloud account under the Find My section with the Activation Lock enabled.

Now let me close this video with a pro tip...if you absolutely must remove your MacBook remotely—in other words you need to turn that Find My feature off remotely and you don't have the MacBook in your possession, there is a way to do it but it requires a very specific set of conditions. The first condition is the MacBook must be powered off and disconnected from the internet. And the way you know here is on this Find My page notice how it says old location...19 minutes ago...notify me when found. All these things signal that the MacBook is disconnected from the internet. And really just powering it off is the safest way to do it. That's the first condition. The second condition is you've got to be on your Find My page just like this one here. Now if you go up to the "Devices Menu" up here at the top—the All Devices—let me show you something that appears only when that MacBook is disconnected from the internet. Notice how you've got an "X!" Finally you've got a remove option. So watch what happens when we click that. All right so it comes up with a confirmation message "this Mac is linked to your Apple ID, removing this Mac will allow it to be activated and used by another person." And this is exactly what we want. So we're going to click this "Remove Button" and finally just like that the MacBook is removed from your account. Now if you have more than one device on your iCloud account you'll still see a map and a list up here at the top with all devices. But, because this was the only Mac on the iCloud account now we've got this "No Devices" screen. So again if you must remove your device remotely this is really the best way to do it. I definitely would not recommend initiating that erase request unless you're just not sure if your data is removed from that device or not. Because it really could cause a headache for whoever has your MacBook in hand assuming again that this is a legitimate sale that you've sold it to someone or giving it away. And so this is the only way I would recommend removing your device remotely is making sure that the MacBook is powered off that it's disconnected from the internet and then removing it from your device list just like i showed you previously.

Now here's the catch in this example—the MacBook that we just removed from the Find My feature—if it connects back to the internet and has not been erased manually then it's going to simply reassociate itself with your iCloud ID with the Find My feature turned back on and that's what makes this method a little bit confusing, because you do have to still manually erase that particular Mac that you've removed remotely in order for your iCloud ID not to be reassociated and get back added on here in the devices section. So that's just an important rule of thumb that if you do go through and remove it remotely without the erase request, you do need to have that third party erase the Mac before they connect to the internet otherwise it's just going to throw you into a loop. So again I really think the easiest method, the surefire way is to give that third party your password temporarily and then immediately change it following. I would only recommend doing that remote erase request as an absolute last ditch effort—would not recommend doing that unless you have no other options or if you're really concerned that you left your data on the device to begin with.

I hope you found this video helpful. Here at Jay Brokers we deal with iCloud issues quite a bit as you can imagine. We are a risk-free secondhand marketplace. We make it safe and easy to get a cash offer on just about anything worth over $100 bucks that's easy to ship, so definitely check out our website. You can get an instant cash offer on over 2,500 common products just like this MacBook we removed today from the iCloud account—we have Android phones, Microsoft laptops—again 2,500 common products you can get an instant offer 24/7 from the convenience of your home. Now some of the things that our customers appreciate most about Jay Brokers is, first off we always pay the agreed upon amount for the agreed upon item—no bait and switch gimmicks ever. And secondly we always pay our customers on the next business day after receipt, rain or shine. So if you're looking to sell your Apple product or another item worth over $100 bucks definitely check us out as we would sincerely like to earn your business. Thanks for watching!