How to Recover/Reset a Forgotten Mac Password

By Connie | Posted to Home > Mac Data Recovery Tips, updated on March 5th, 2021 | User rating:

Summary: This guide tells you how to recover or reset your forgetton Mac password easily. Then you can unlock your Mac to access your files.

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 that you've forgotten your login or admin password on Mac like M1 MacBook Air.

No worries. There still have ways to unlock your Mac as Mac supplies some built-in utilities as remedial measures. You can reset your login password or use other available accounts or keys to open your Mac desktop again.

Here are the ways to reset your Mac password (login password), which are suitable for all Mac models, like M1 MacBook Air, M1 MacBook Pro, M1 Mac mini, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air.

Forgot Mac password

Necessary checks before resetting your Mac password

What is worth mention, sometimes, you haven't forgotten your Mac password actually but typed the wrong one, like mistyping the uppercase or lowercase characters. Thus, before seeking ways to recover your password or resetting it, go to check if there's an error in your password typing.

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And if you are a MacBook Pro user without an admin password, you can unlock your MacBook Pro with your Touch ID.

How to reset your forgotten Mac password

If you have set a password hint, you can click the question mark on the login screen to get some help. If you still couldn't recall your Mac password with the password hint, continue to type a random password three times. Then, you’ll see some messages or tips. You can reset the password according to these tips or try some other ways.

Use Apple ID to reset your Mac password

Apple ID is the account you can use to sign in to all your Apple devices like iPhone, iPad, and Mac. If you have linked your Apple ID to your Mac account, you will get a hint: If you forgot your password, you can reset it using your Apple ID. So, follow this message to reset your password.

  • 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 password if FileVault is on

If you have turned on the FileVault (FileVault is a disk encryption program) before, you'll get messages to guide you to reset your forgotten login password.

With the aid of the Reset Password assistant

Wait a moment, you'll 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.

This message will lead you to use the Reset Password assistant tool to reset your password.

  • Press the power button to turn off your Mac. And then, press the power button again to turn on it. Wait until you see the Reset Password window as below:
  • 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 in to 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. However, here still offered you the steps of the method.

  • 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.

Reset your Mac password in macOS Recovery mode

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

How to fix recovery mode not working

  • Select Utilities > Terminal from the menu bar.
  • Reset your forgotten Mac password via Terminal in macOS Recovery
  • Type 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.
  • Follow the instructions to reset a new Mac password.
  • Restart your Mac, and then enter your user name and the new password.

Use an Admin account to reset your Mac password

If you are not the administrator of this Mac but one of the shared users, you can use the admin account to reset your password.

  • Type the 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.

If you still can't log in to your Mac, check if your Mac is stuck on the login screen. Besides, to avoid data loss, you can use the target disk mode to transfer files.

How to avoid that 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 the 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.

Create a password hint on Mac

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 filed 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.

When you forgot your login password for Mac, 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 are needed.

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