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Forgot Mac Air Password? Recover/Reset Mac Admin Password

Updated on Wednesday, May 31, 2023

iBoysoft author Connie Yang

Written by

Connie Yang
Professional tech editor

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Jessica Shee

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Forgot Mac Air Password? Here's How to Recover/Reset Mac Password

Summary: A definite guide to helping you recover or reset the password when you forgot Mac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or Mac Air admin/login password. Then, you can unlock and log into your Mac again and access your files. - From iBoysoft

how to recover forgotten Mac password

Like a key to a door, your Mac password lets your access your Mac every time you type it correctly. But the sad thing happened, you forgot your MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or Mac Air login or admin password just now, even no question mark hint appears or the hint can't jog your memory.

So, how can you unlock your MacBook Pro without a password? No worries. Mac supplies some built-in features as remedial measures to help you enter your Mac desktop when you forgot your password.

This post contains all the possible ways with the detailed steps to help you access your desktop under the situation that you forgot your Mac password. These methods are suitable for all Mac models, including Mac Air, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, M1 MacBook Air (2021), M1 MacBook Pro (2021).

Table of Contents:

forgot Mac password

Necessary checks before resetting your Mac password

What is worth mentioning, sometimes, you haven't forgotten your Mac password actually but mistype the uppercase or lowercase characters as passwords are case sensitive.

Thus, before seeking ways to recover or reset your password, check if the Caps Lock key is stuck on your Mac. After debugging the Caps Lock key, enter your admin password and log into your Mac Air.

Forgot Mac Air password? Reset the admin password  

If you forgot your Mac Air password indeed, try the following ways to recover or reset it. Then, you can use the new admin password to access your Mac. By the way, if you don't want to run into such a situation anymore and ensure your computer is in a safe environment, you can also turn off your Mac password to enable automatic login.

Reset your Mac password with Apple ID  

Continue to type a random password into the login box three times. If you get a message as below, it means that you have linked your Apple ID to your Mac account:

If you forgot your password, you can reset it using your Apple ID.

Then, you can use your Apple ID to change your Mac password with these steps:

  • Click the arrow on the Password Hint window.             
    reset your forgotten Mac password with your Apple ID 
  • Type your Apple ID and password, and then click Reset Password.

 Note: Please ensure that uppercase and lowercase are entered correctly.

  • Click Restart to continue when asked to restart your computer.
  • Log in with your new password to unlock your Mac.

Reset your Mac admin password in Recovery Mode

If there's no hint after three attempts of a password and waiting for a while, it means that you have neither linked your Apple ID to your Mac account nor turned on FileVault. In this case, boot your Mac in Recovery mode and use Terminal to reset your password.

Boot your Intel-based Mac in Recovery Mode:

  • Shut down your Mac.
  • Restart your Mac and immediately press down the Command + R keys.
  • Release the keys when you see the Apple logo or a spinning globe appear on the screen.

Boot your M1 Mac in Recovery Mode:

  • Shut down your Mac computer.
  • Hold down the power until you see the startup disk and the Options gear icon show up on the screen.
  • Select Options and click Continue.

When the four macOS Utilities show up, you are in macOS Recovery Mode.

Now, try the following steps to reset your admin password with Terminal:

  • Select Utilities > Terminal from the menu bar in Recovery Mode.          
    reset your forgotten Mac password via Terminal in macOS Recovery
  • Copy and paste the following command in the Terminal window and press Return to open the Reset Password assistant.resetpassword
  • Select I forgot my password (if you are the admin), or choose Forgot all passwords (if the Mac has several user accounts) and select your account.
  • Enter a new password and verify it. Also, set a password hint in case forgetting the Mac password again.

After resetting a new password, restart your Mac. Enter your user name and the new password to unlock your Mac.

 Reset your password using another admin account

If you are one of the shared users of this Mac and know another admin account and password, you can use it to log into the Mac and reset your admin password.

  • Type another admin account and password on the login screen to unlock your Mac.
  • Select Apple menu > System Preferences > Users & Groups.
  • Click the lock icon and type the admin name and password.        
    unlock your Users & Groups preferences to make changes
  • Select your user name from the list of users.
  • Click Reset Password, then follow the instructions to create your new password.
  • Select Apple menu > Log Out to quit the admin account.
  • Enter your account with the new password to unlock the Mac.

Additional ways to reset your Mac password if FileVault is on

FileVault is a disk encryption program in Mac OS that is used to encrypt Mac internal hard drive and all the files on the drive.

If you have turned on the FileVault before, wait a moment, you'll get messages appearing on the login screen to guide you to reset your forgotten Mac login password.

Usually, there are two cases.

With the aid of the Reset Password assistant

If you see a message like: You can press the power button to shut down and then turn on your Mac again to boot into macOS Recovery mode, follow it, and then you'll see a Reset Password window pops up.

use Reset Password Assistant on Mac

  • Check I forgot my password and then follow the instructions on the window to create your new password. Then, click Restart.
  • Log into your account with the new password.

Reset your Mac password with a FileVault Recovery Key

Or, you may see a tip like: You can reset your password using your Recovery Key. Here, it refers to your FileVault Recovery Key. But most of you probably haven't noticed the FileVault Recovery Key at the time your FileVault turned on, let alone remember it.

But if you're one of the few people who remember the FileVault Recovery Key, you can use it to reset your forgotten Mac Air password.

  • Click the arrow icon to enter into the Recovery Key field.
  • Enter your Recovery Key (Note the correctness of the typing).
  • Follow the instructions to reset a new password.
  • Click Reset Password. Then restart your Mac and log in with the new password.

If you still can't log in to your Mac with the reset password, check if your Mac is stuck on the login screen. If that's the case, one of the ways to reaccess your Mac is to wipe your MacBook in Recovery Mode. Notably, to avoid data loss, you can use the target disk mode to transfer files.

How to avoid the 'forgot Mac password' issue happens

As most of you have created many passwords for different uses in daily life, forgetting the Mac password is inevitable. To avoid losing access right to your Mac due to a forgotten password, you can write down your Mac password on a book or other place. Besides, you can also utilize the macOS built-in utilities to take some precautions.

Create a password hint on Mac

The password hint is a helpful reminder if you forget your Mac password. When you click the question mark in the password field on the login screen, the password hint appears. Or it pops up after you have entered the incorrect password three times consecutively.

  • Choose Apple menu>System Preferences>Users & Groups>Change Password.
  • Type your existing password in the Old password box. Then, enter and verify a new password.

 Note: If you don't want to change your existing password, you can also type it in the New password box to keep it unchanged.

  • Type some prompt words in the Password hint field and click Change Password.

Link your Apple ID to your Mac user account

Considered as another password, Apple ID can help you reset and unlock your Mac when you forget your Mac password.

  • Select Apple Menu > System Perferences > Sign in (for macOS 10.15 & later) / iCloud (for macOS 10.14 & earlier).
  • Type your Apple ID and password on the required field respectively.
  • Enter the verification code sent to your trusted devices (usually your iPhone) to finish the Apple ID sign-in.
  • Open Users & Groups in System Preferences. Click the lock to make changes.
  • Check Allow user to reset the password using Apple ID.

Final thoughts

When you forgot your Mac login password, don't lose your head anymore. All the recommended ways above are proven can help you unlock your Mac or the new Apple M1 Mac when you forgot your Mac password. But considering the risk that your Mac password may be forgotten again, taking some precautions is needed.

FAQs about 'forgot Mac password'


If you want to log into your Mac automatically without entering a password, you can turn off the password on your Mac machine. Select the Apple icon > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General. Then, uncheck the Require password option (Here you need to type your password for authentication).


Launch the Apple menu and select System Preferences > Users & Groups. And select your user name from the left sidebar of the Users & Groups window and click Change Password from the right pane. Next, type your password and set a new one. Finally, click Change Password to save your new password.


You can't unlock your MacBook Air without a password if you enabled the password requirement. If you forgot your MacBook Air password, you can unlock your MacBook Air with Apple ID if you've associated your Mac account with Apple ID. If the Apple ID is not available, you can wait a moment at the login screen to follow the pop-up hint to use your FileVault Recovery Key to reset your password and unlock your Mac. Or, you may see the message to lead you to macOS Recovery to use the Reset Password Assistant to reset the login password and unlock your Mac.