Do you need to reset the password on your Mac? It’s not surprising, According to a password management survey involving over 1,000 Australians, 41 percent of the respondents forget their password on a monthly basis.
In other words, it is quite natural to forget your password. Apple understood this and included a password reset feature in your macOS to help you stay logged in. That means you don’t have to dive into a frenzy when you forget your password. Instead, just reset your password using any of the methods outlined below.
FileVault and Password Reset
The password reset option will work differently based on the encryption for your drive. Apple allows to encrypt the data on your SSD using FileVault encryption. You can enable this option under “Apple Menu > Security & Privacy > FileVault” preferences section.
As shown in the warning, you need to have login password or recovery key to access the Mac. There are no other ways to recover data if you forget both of them. When you enable FileVault, Mac will ask you to choose the unlock and reset password method. You can either connect your iCloud account (which is your Apple ID account) or generate a recovery key. If you use recovery key method, ensure to save it in a safe place so that you don’t forget.
5 Ways to Reset Your Mac Password
Described below are five ways to reset your macOS password.
- Reset using Apple ID [FileVault Enabled]
- Try recovery assistant [FileVault Enabled]
- Use recovery key [FileVault Enabled]
- Use another admin account
- Use Terminal in recovery mode
1. Use Your Apple ID [FileVault Enabled]
Depending on your macOS version, you can reset your password with your Apple ID when you have enabled FileVault before. How can you do this, you wonder? Here is how to know if this feature is available on your version.
At the login screen, continue entering the wrong password three times until you see an option of resetting your password with Apple ID.
If you have FileVault disabled or your Mac does not support then you will only see the password hint as shown below. The Reset with Apple ID option will not appear after three attempts. In such case, you have no other options to reset password using Apple ID, consider option #4 or #5.
Try to recall the password using the hint. If you can’t recall then click on the arrow to proceed further. Click on the password reset option and login using your Apple ID.
If you have enabled two factor authentication then enter the verification passcode you have received from the trusted device.
When you have multiple accounts on the Mac connected to same Apple ID, choose the account you want to reset the password. This screen will not appear when you have only one account.
Now enter new password and also a hint for remembering your password next time.
After that, you just have to restart your computer and log in with the new password.
2. Use Reset Password Assistant [FileVault Enabled]
To use this password reset option, you must have enabled FileVault encryption in the past. If you’re sure of this, stay on the login page for a couple of minutes. A message should come up asking you to shut down and start up again in recovery mode using the power button. Note that the message won’t appear if your FileVault is not on.
Now, press and hold the power button till your computer shuts down, then press again to turn on your Mac. You will see a “Reset Password” screen appears like below:
Choose “I forgot my password” option. You need to login using your Apple ID and follow the instructions similar to option #1 to reset your account.
3. Use Recovery Key [FileVault Enabled]
This time, not only must the FileVault be turned on, but you should also have a FileVault recovery key. In case you were wondering, that’s what you’ll use to reset your password.
At the login screen, continue entering the wrong password until you see an option to reset your password with your recovery key. (Needless to say that if this message doesn’t appear after three attempts, your FileVault isn’t on. )
Click the Proceed icon next to the message to change the password key to a recovery key field, then input the key. Pay attention and use a combination of uppercase and lowercase characters, including hyphens when necessary. Next, follow the onscreen instructions to create a new password and click Reset Password.
4. Use Another Admin Account
If you have another admin account on your computer, you’re in luck. As long as you know the name and password of the account, you can use it to reset your password. Here is how.
First, log into the other admin account with the username and password. Next, click on the “Apple Menu” and select on “System Preferences…”. Go to “Users & Groups” section at the last row which will give you access to a list of individual accounts on your Mac.
To make changes, you must click the padlock icon at the bottom of the page and input the admin name as well as password again. Finally, select your name from the list of users and click “Reset Password..” button.
Enter a a new password and verify by re-entering again. You have also an option to enter password hint in the text box. This password hint will appear when you multiple times enter wrong password on the login screen.
Just log out from the other admin account from the Apple menu and log in to your account with new password.
5. Use Terminal Window
If the Apple ID and other admin methods didn’t work, you have one last move. For this to work, you should not have enabled FileVault option. Restart your Mac again and hold down the “Command + R” shortcuts keys until you see a spinning globe or the Apple logo. You should have access to the “macOS Utilities” window within seconds. Click “Utilities” and select “Terminal” from the menu bar.
Now, type resetpassword in the Terminal window and press the Enter key. This should give you access to the reset to the Reset Password Assistant. Select “My password doesn’t work when logging in” and click “Next”. Follow the instructions to reset your password.
As said earlier, it’s natural for you to forget your password. That’s why Apple provided different ways of resetting it. We recommend to enable FileVault to reset password using your Apple ID or recovery key. However, if you’re unable to reset your password after using all the methods above, contact Apple support for help.