Forgot You Mac’s Password? Here’s What to Do

Apple devices’ tight security features are unique and are one of the big reasons for their popularity. But with dozens – or possibly hundreds – of passwords to remember in life, forgetting your Mac password can happen. Fortunately, Apple offers several ways to recover your password.

Forgot You Mac's Password? Here's What to Do

Keep reading to learn more.

How to Reset Mac’s Forgotten Password

If you’ve forgotten the password for the user account on your Mac, you can reset it from the login screen. The login screen displays after you’ve turned on, logged out of or restarted your Mac. This window differs from the one displayed when you stop the screen saver or awaken your Mac, but the password is the same.

You’ll know whether you’re on the reset window if you can see the “Restart,” “Shut Down,” and “Sleep” options. If a “Switch User” option displays, click on it to get to the login screen.

If you see other buttons or none at all, restart your Mac or long-press the power button until it shuts down (it takes up to 10 seconds). Once your Mac comes back on, the login screen will display.

After entering your password incorrectly three times, you should see one of the following passwords reset options.

Option One: Restart and Display Password Options

  1. If you see the “Restart and show password reset options” choice, select it to restart, then do one of the following:
    • If prompted, sign in using your Apple ID, and you may need to add the verification code sent to your other devices.
  2. If prompted, enter your FileVault recovery key. Select your account for the password reset, then hit “Next.”
  3. Type in your new password, then “Next.”
  4. Once the reset process is complete, choose “Restart.”

Option Two: Reset Password With Your Apple ID

  1. If the choice to reset your password using your Apple ID is available, select it.
    • If your Mac restarts, complete the steps in the Option One section above.
    • Enter your Apple ID, then select “Reset Password” if prompted.
  2. If you’re prompted to create a keychain to keep the user’s password, choose “OK” to restart.
  3. If you’re prompted to choose an admin account you know the password for, select “Forgotten all passwords?”
  4. If a “Reset Password” pop-up is displayed with the choice to “Deactivate Mac,” choose Deactivate Mac,” then “Deactivate” to verify. This action is temporary.
  5. Type in a new and secure password, then hit “Next.”
  6. Once the process is complete, click “Restart.”

Option Three: Reset Password With Your Recovery Key

  1. Select the option to reset with your recovery key.
  2. Type in your FileVault recovery key.
  3. Enter a new and secure password, then “Reset Password.”

How to Reset Your Mac Password When Logged In

If you’d like to change your current password, you can do so after you’ve logged in. If you’ve forgotten your password and can’t access your Mac, see the “How to Reset Mac’s Forgotten Password” section above.

Here’s how to change your password when already logged in.

  1. Click on the Apple menu icon from the top left of the screen.
  2. Select “System Preferences”.
  3. Then “Users & Groups.”
  4. Choose “Change Password.”
  5. Enter your current password.
  6. Enter a new password, then re-enter it in the “Verify” field. If you want help deciding on a secure password, hit the Key icon beside the “New Password” field.
  7. You can add a hint for your password reminder. This will appear if you enter an incorrect password consecutively three times or if you select the question mark in the password field.
  8. Choose “Change Password.”

Forgotten Mac Password With No Internet

You can also reset your password by accessing Mac Recovery. Recovery mode is a tool that you can load up before the macOS starts to fix any problems with your Mac.

Starting Mac Recovery is easy; however, the process will differ slightly depending on whether you’re using an Intel Mac or M1 processor. Here are the steps for both.

Start Recovery Mode Using Intel Mac

  1. Switch off your Mac.
  2. Long-press the “Power” button.
  3. When it comes on, immediately long-press the “Cmd + R” buttons.
  4. Release the buttons once the Apple logo appears.
  5. Your Mac should go into recovery mode now.

Start Recovery Mode Using an M1 Mac

  1. Turn off your Mac.
  2. Long-press the “Power” button.
  3. Release the “Power” button when the loading start-up options are display.
  4. Select “Options,” then “Continue.”
  5. If prompted, enter your admin password.

Access the Password Reset Tool

  1. From the main menu bar in Recovery Mode, select “Utilities,”.
  2. Then Look for “Terminal” and click it.
  3. In the new command window, enter “resetpassword,” then hit “Return.”
  4. Close the Terminal window to access the “Password Reset” tool.
  5. Now follow the instructions, which include signing in with your Apple ID, then choosing the account for which you wish to change the password.

Forgot Apple ID

If you can’t recall the email address or number used for your Apple ID, you can find it or check whether you’re signed into another service or app.

Here’s how to look it up on your iOS device.

  • Press “Settings,” then your name.

Here’s how to find it on your Mac.

  1. Click on the Apple menu icon at the top left.
  2. Select “System Preferences.”
  3. Then click “Apple ID.”

You can also find it on your computer.

  • Launch “iCloud for Windows,” then your Apple ID should display beneath your name.

Here are some other ways to look up your Apple ID:

  • See whether you’re already signed into the App Store, Messenger, or FaceTime on any of your Apple devices. Or check if you’re signed into iTunes on your PC.
  • You also have the option to go to or Check whether your Apple ID is prefilled on the sign-in screen.
  • Alternatively, look through your Inbox for emails from Apple, as your Apple ID may be included. Apple’s repair, receipts, billing, or support emails could list your ID. However, if your Apple ID appears masked, the number of asterisks may not correspond with the number of characters in your Apple ID.

Mac Password Successfully Reset

Your login password is required to unlock your Mac once you turn it on or awaken it. If you’ve forgotten your password and you’ve not enabled a password hint, luckily there are several ways to reset it.

The method you use depends on several factors. These include whether your Apple ID is linked to your user account, whether you have FileVault set up, the Mac model you’re using, and whether you have access to the internet. In the future, a great way to help you remember is by setting up and enabling the password hint feature.

What method did you use to reset your password successfully? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

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