What is the way to recover a Mac password in case I forget and cannot log on?

How to recover password for Mac

We often forget the Mac Password if we age, or due to work stress or due to longer time we forget to change the password. If you’ve forgotten your Mac password and can’t log on, install apps or make changes in System Preferences here is the best way to recover it with the following five tricks before even setting your password to Mac or after you forgot your set password for Mac.

  1. Get a Password Hint
  2. Change the password from another account
  3. Use Target Disk Mode
  4. Use Recovery Mode to get back your password
  5. Do not allow anyone to reset your password

It’s common sense that MacOS is a secure operating system and the heart of its security is your password.  Apple products always ask for the password whenever you install new software or make serious changes to macOS, usually when logging in unless you log into your Mac with an Apple Watch  and sometimes when deleting important files. So password is important and if you forget then don’t panic.

1. Get a password hint

Before you reset your password, you should first check to see if the password hint (the hint is a phrase you entered into the hint box when you set up the password) refreshes your memory. To see the hint, you just have to make three incorrect attempts:

  • Open System Preferences (Apple > System Preferences)
  • Choose Users & Groups.
  • Click the Lock icon at the bottom left.
  • Press the Return key three times.

The screen will shake each time you press return and after the third shake the hint appears below the Password field. Don’t worry: there’s no limit to the number of times you can enter a test password.

System preference in Mac

If the password hint doesn’t show up, that will be because it wasn’t set to show password hints in the Login Options. Unfortunately, the only way to change this setting is to log into your Mac.

If you want to make sure that a password hint appears next time you forget your password, be sure to go to System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Options, then log in and tick the box that says show password hints.

2. Change the password from another account

This trick is useful if you share the Mac with another person, and they have their own account, Or if you have a different account that you do know the password to.

If you know the password to another account for the Mac you can use this account to reset your password. Follow these steps to reset your Mac password from another account:

  • Click on the Apple logo in the top left and choose Log Out.
  • Select the account you do know the password to.
  • Enter the password for that account.
  • Open System Preferences > Users & Groups.
  • Click the lock icon in the bottom left of the window.
  • Enter the password again.
  • Select the account you’ve forgotten the password for in the sidebar.
  • Click Reset Password.
  • Fill in the New password, Verify and Password hint fields.
  • Click Change Password.

You have now changed the password for that account, and you can log into that account using the new password.

Note that this doesn’t change the password for the Keychain and you will be asked when you log into the account if you want to update the keychain password. To do this you’ll need the old password (which you have forgotten) so you’ll have to click Create New Keychain.

Mac Login chain

The problem here is that if the other user doesn’t have Admin rights on the Mac they will not be able to change the password for you.

3. Use Target Disk Mode

There is another best trick to recover your Mac password and that is to use Target Disk Mode to recover what data you can from the lost Mac. This enables you to access the hard drive on your Mac from another Mac. Follow these steps:

  • Shut down the Mac (Apple > Shut Down).
  • Connect the Mac to another Mac using a FireWire or Thunderbolt cable (unfortunately this trick does not work with USB).
  • Start up your Mac and hold down the T key while it boots.
  • The Mac in Target Disk Mode should now appear as a hard drive in the other Mac. You can use this Mac to recover data from the Mac.

4. Use Recovery Mode

Recovery Mode Mac

Apple includes a tool to replace a Mac’s password. This is the best option if you have completely forgotten your password. Follow these steps:

  • Turn off your Mac (choose Apple > Shut Down).
  • Press the power button while holding down Command + R. The Mac will boot into Recovery mode. When you see the load bar appear you can let go of the keys. It may take a few minutes to load.
  • Select Disk Utility and press Continue.
  • Choose Utilities > Terminal.
  • Enter reset password (all one word, lower-case letters) and press Return.
  • Select the volume containing the account (normally this will be your main hard drive).
  • Choose the account to change with Select the User Account.
  • Enter a new password and re-enter it into the password fields.
  • Enter a new password hint related to the password.
  • Click Save.

A warning will appear that the password has changed, but not the Keychain Password. Click OK.

Click Apple > Shut Down.

Now start up the Mac. You can log in using the new password.

5. Do not anyone else reset the password

You may now be worried that if you can use Recovery Mode to reset the password, someone else could do the same thing and once a person has got access to your Mac, you’ve usually lost control over it. There are some steps you can take to protect your data, though.

The best way to protect your data is to turn on FileVault encryption. This encrypts the contents of your Mac, and the Password Reset utility will not show until you unlock it with Disk Utility. When you set up FileVault you receive a Recovery Key (which you should print out) and a password. If you lose both of these your data will be lost forever. You can turn FileVault on in System Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault.

Now use any of that works best for you and have your smooth Mac device back for your work.

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