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The Computer Corner

By Charles Miller

We users of Apple products—I myself own three—are users of computers, tablet, or phones created by a corporation that takes very seriously the privacy and security of its customers. In fact Apple has by its actions claimed for itself the position of THE security-conscious company of the Information Technology world.

Many will recall the 2015 San Bernardino, California, Islamic terrorist attack that killed 14 and injured 22. The US Justice Department tried to take advantage of that situation to force Apple into unlocking an iPhone used by the killer. Apple resisted, in part because the New York District Attorney’s office said something like “Goody, goody; we have 175 iPhones in our evidence locker, and we want the passwords for them, too.” Apple realized the next step down a slippery slope would be for nation states such as Russia to demand all the passwords for everyone’s Apple products in the Russian Republic.

For right or for wrong, Apple made the decision to stand by its policy never to undermine the security features of its products and further took steps to modify some of its products so that the company no longer has the technical ability to compromise the integrity of its customers’ data. Read that last sentence again, please. Apple has taken steps to prevent Apple being able to gain access to much customer data in its servers.

Apple has a special web page set up for its forgetful customers; just point your web browser to This is where your Apple password can be reset by using other information, such as the answers to your secret questions, your credit card number, your email address, etc. The rules Apple has in place for recovering forgotten passwords are strict. If you do not know enough of the answers, or if you have failed to keep this information up to date you may have an expensive problem.

Already here in San Miguel, I have seen two cases of users who forgot the password required for unlocking their iPad, and as a result it stayed locked forever. In both cases, the iPad owners were grossly irresponsible, and both paid the price of a new iPad because of their negligence.

An even more expensive mistake can be made by owners of Mac computers who set a firmware password then forget it. That password can only be reset by Apple and only if the customer knows their recovery information. I have read reports of users who have found themselves with expensive Macs that can never be started again.

Of course you can just keep trying every password you can think of until you finally guess the right one. That is likely to be a time-consuming process because Apple only permits a small number of incorrect attempts before locking your device for several hours.

Apple describes itself as the “most effective security organization in the world.” That is a claim I do not question.


Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981, and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044 415 101 8528 or email FAQ8 (at)


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