How to View Saved Passwords on Mac
Safety is a top priority on your Mac or any other computer. Following safety recommendations to the letter means that you need to use a different password for each account. Your Mac even gives you password suggestions, but how do you remember them all?
Unless you possess eidetic recall, memorizing long strings of characters is next to impossible. Luckily, the Keychain Access app is there to help. Keep reading to find out how to see the saved passwords.
The Keychain Access app is like a one-stop shop for all the passwords on your Mac. It stores app passwords, the ones you use for Wi-Fi networks. In addition, you can find Safari passwords there too. This is also the place to find different digital keys and certificates macOS uses for encryption and verification, but more on that later.
How to Use Keychain Access
Apple uses its Keychain to store your passwords so that you can quickly and easily access your accounts. The Apple Keychain stores passwords on all of your devices making for seamless access to every account you manage on any device. For the purposes of this article, we’ll cover how to access your Apple Keychain on your Mac in this section.
To open Keychain, follow these steps:
- Type the Space + Command keyboard shortcut to open the Spotlight.
- Then, type ‘Keychain’ and click on ‘Keychain Access.’
- Click ‘Login’ or ‘iCloud’ on the left-hand side, then double-click on the account you’re interested in.
- Click the ‘Show Password’ box in the lower left-hand corner of the pop-up window. Then, input your Mac password (the one you use to unlock your computer).
There is more than one way to launch Keychain Access. You can click Launchpad, select Utilities, and choose the Keychain app. We’ve included the instructions for older versions of macOS below.
Once you enter the app, the interface and all the links and information might seem a bit overwhelming. But you should easily find the password you’re looking for and the app has an intuitive search. Here’s what you need to do.
First, make sure you choose the right menu. To preview the logged passwords, select Passwords under Category at the bottom left of the app window. The main window lists all the accounts, password type, and the date modified.
Double-tap or click on an account to reveal a pop-up window with more actions. As indicated, you don’t need to browse the entire list; use the Search bar instead. For example, you can type Facebook, and the app lists all the accounts associated with this social network.
Click the small box in front of “Show password” and another pop-up window appears asking you to provide the password for your mac (it’s the one you use to unlock the computer). That out of the way, and you’ll be able to see the password for that account.
There’s a small @ icon in front of the accounts for web-based apps and services. Other accounts feature a pen icon. This is where you can find the passwords for Wi-Fi, certain apps, and macOS features.
If you failed to save the password for a specific account, there’s a “Password Not Saved” message in brackets next to the account name. Otherwise, you’ll be able to see the email or digital location that’s associated with that particular account.
Other Keychain Categories
As we stated previously, macOS stores a few more security-related categories – here’s a quick recap of each one.
- Keys – This one is for program encryption and it usually contains a bunch of keys for iCloud and Messenger.
- Certificates/My Certificates – Safari and some other web-based apps use these certificates to verify a website’s authenticity. This also applies to any service or online app that requests to access your information.
- Secure Notes – Avid Notes users will find all their secure notes here. Fun trivia: this is probably the most underutilized feature of macOS.
How to See Saved Passwords on Safari
The easier way to see some of your passwords is to use Safari. Of course, this method works if you save the passwords with Safari in the first place. Anyway, these are the steps to take.
Launch Safari and select Preferences – the quick way to do it is to hit CMD + on your keyboard.
Select the Passwords tab and click the box in front of “Show passwords for selected websites.” A window appears asking you to provide the Mac password to gain administrative privileges.
Once inside, you’ll be able to see all the accounts and the saved passwords. However, the exact combination of characters is hidden behind the dots. Click on those dots to reveal the combination.
An Interesting Thing: The Password menu on Safari is timed and there’s a limit to the number of clicks. This means that if you go to another window on your Mac, the menu automatically locks itself. The same goes when you click on more than three or four passwords.
Can You Do It on iPhone?
The quick answer is yes, you can see the saved passwords on an iPhone. And if you’re using iCloud all the saved passwords sync across your devices.
Long story short, launch the Setting app, swipe down, and select Passwords & Accounts. Choose Websites and App Passwords and provide your Touch or Face ID to gain access.
The accounts come in alphabetical order and you can also use the Search bar for navigation. The password appears in the following window when you tap on an account.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some more answers to your most frequently asked questions.
My Mac unlock password isn’t letting me access Keychain. What do I do?
On the off chance that you can’t access your Keychain from your Mac, you aren’t completely out of luck. You’ll need to set the password back to default (which means your Mac unlock password). Here’s how:
1. Click on ‘Keychain’ in the far upper right corner of your Mac. Then, click ‘Preferences.’
2. Click on ‘Reset Default Keychains…’
Now, you can try to log into Keychain again using the same password that you use to unlock your Mac.
What do I do if a password is outdated in my Keychain?
If you’re skimming through your passwords in Apple’s Keychain and notice that some are not accurate or up-to-date, you can easily remedy this. First, open Safari and go to the website of your choice. Next, type your login credentials but don’t click ‘Login’ just yet.
Note: If you’re already logged in, log out of the account.
With your password typed in the field, click on the keychain icon. Then, click ‘Save Password.’
The Key to Everything
In the end, it’s not that tricky to see the saved passwords and the best thing is that you don’t need to use third-party apps. Even if the native password manager interface could be more user-friendly, it’s a minor downside.
Which password did you forget? Have you used and third-party password manager? Give us your two cents in the comments section below.