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How to recover a forgotten password on Mac

forgotten password on Mac

(forgotten password on Mac)MacOS is a very secure operating system and, in fact, a large part of the security measures applied focus on the good use of passwords, which are usually associated with the installation of a new program or the making of changes to the system.

Using Touch ID in case you have a 2018 MacBook Pro or MacBook Air has optimized all of these processes. But what should you do if you have lost or forgotten your password? Don’t falter. In this article we explain how to recover a lost password on Mac.

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If the same thing is happening to you on an iPhone, see How you create, change, reset and delete your Apple ID

1 Get a password hint

Before resetting your password, you should first check if the password hint (phrase you chose in the hints box when you first set the password) allows you to refresh your memory.

 

To access the hint or suggestion, you just have to make three wrong attempts:

  • Open ‘System Preferences’ from ‘Apple’> ‘System Preferences’
  • Select ‘Users and Groups’
  • Click on the lock icon at the bottom left
  • Press the ‘Back’ key three times

The display will react each time you press the ‘Enter’ key so that, after the third attempt, the track will appear below the ‘Password’ field. Do not worry if you do not have control since the number of times you can enter it has no limits.

el capitan system preferences users and groups

If it turns out that the password hint does not appear, it will be because in your day you did not configure anything to show password hints in the login ‘Options’.

Unfortunately, the only way to change this setting is to log into your Mac. Fortunately, there are other ways to find your password, so we encourage you to keep reading.

If you want to make sure that a password hint appears when you have forgotten your password, you must go to ‘System Preferences> Users and Groups> Login options’, then log in and check the box that says’ Show password hints ‘.

2 Change the password from another account

Do you share your Mac with someone else? Is your Mac a corporate team so that an administrator can monitor it? Can someone else in your family log in? Or, do you have a different user account on the Mac from which you do remember the password?

If in any way there is an alternative to start the Mac with another account, you can take advantage of it to reset the password of the account you forgot. Follow these steps that we indicate below to be able to reset it:

  • Click on the Apple logo in the upper left and select ‘Logout’
  • Select the account for which you know the password
  • Enter the password for that account
  • Open ‘System Preferences> Users and Groups’
  • Click the padlock icon at the bottom left of the window
  • Enter the password again
  • Select the account you have forgotten your password in the sidebar
  • Click on ‘Reset password’
  • Fill in the fields ‘New password, Verification and Password key’
  • Click on ‘Change password’

After these steps, you will have managed to change the password of that account without previously knowing the password. You can now log in to that account with the new password.

Please note that this does not change the keychain password and the Mac will ask you when you log into the account if you want to update the keychain password. To do this, you will need the old password (the forgotten one), so you will have to click on ‘Create new keychain’.

3 Use recovery mode to reset your password

Do you share your Mac with someone else? Is your Mac a corporate team so that an administrator can monitor it? Can someone else in your family log in? Or, do you have a different user account on the Mac from which you do remember the password?

If in any way there is an alternative to start the Mac with another account, you can take advantage of it to reset the password of the account you forgot. Follow these steps that we indicate below to be able to reset it:

  • Click on the Apple logo in the upper left and select ‘Logout’
  • Select the account for which you know the password
  • Enter the password for that account
  • Open ‘System Preferences> Users and Groups’
  • Click the padlock icon at the bottom left of the window
  • Enter the password again
  • Select the account you have forgotten your password in the sidebar
  • Click on ‘Reset password’
  • Fill in the fields ‘New password, Verification and Password key’
  • Click on ‘Change password’

After these steps, you will have managed to change the password of that account without previously knowing the password. You can now log in to that account with the new password.

Please note that this does not change the keychain password and the Mac will ask you when you log into the account if you want to update the keychain password. To do this, you will need the old password (the forgotten one), so you will have to click on ‘Create new keychain’.

The problem is that if another user does not have administrator rights on your Mac, you will not be able to change the password. The next option, in case the previous ones have not worked, is to use the ‘Recovery mode’ offered by the Mac.

4 Use destination disk mode

If it turns out that you can’t use any of the above methods, then your alternative will be to use the ‘Destination Disk Mode’ to recover the data you can from the Mac. This allows you to access your Mac’s hard drive from another Mac computer. Follow these steps:

  • Turn off the Mac
  • Connect your Mac to another with a Thunderbolt cable (as long as your Mac isn’t too old. You may have to use the FireWire cable). This trick we have verified that it does not work with USB cable
  • Turn on your Mac and hold down the ‘T’ key as the computer boots

The Mac in ‘Target Disk Mode’ should now appear as a hard drive on the other Mac. You can use this Mac to recover data and information from the other locked Mac.

Now that you know these tricks, you may become concerned that any other user may use ‘Recovery Mode’ to reset the password. There are some steps that will allow you to protect your data.

The best way to protect them is by using the FileVault encryption offered by the macOS operating system. This encrypts the contents of the Mac so that the password reset utility will not show up until you unlock it with ‘Disk Utility’.

When you set up FileVault, you will receive a ‘Recovery key’ which you should keep in a safe place associated with your password. If you lose both, your data will be lost forever.

You can activate FileVault in ‘System Preferences> Security and Privacy> FileVault’.

Now that you know all this, you may also be interested in knowing how to create, change, reset or delete your Apple ID.


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