How do I recover my Apple password

Forgot your Mac password? Reset - Here's how

Peter Müller

You can reset a forgotten password via iCloud - provided you haven't lost the Apple ID too. There are three other more or less safe methods that help forgetful people.

EnlargeForgot Password? These tips will help!
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Only if no one else has access to your own Mac can you automatically log the most frequently used user on to the Mac under the login options of the “Users and Groups” system setting. In all other cases, you should be asked to enter a password when the Mac starts up. If you tend to forget, you can recover your password in different ways. The simplest and, above all, the most insecure: Just write your password in the memory aid, after three incorrect entries you will see it in the login screen - but unauthorized users will also see your password. If security is important to you, the path is definitely the wrong one.

If you do not receive a notification, you may be able to recover the password via the Apple ID after entering the wrong password for the third time, if this option “User can reset his password using his Apple ID” is set up. In this case, click on the triangle symbol that now appears next to the password entry and follow the instructions.

Of course, it won't work if you have chosen the same password for your Apple ID - but Apple has long since stopped allowing that.

Ask the admin for help

Setting up an administrator account on one Mac and doing the work from a second account is definitely not a mistake. If you know the password for the admin - or the administrator in your company takes care of your computer and that of your colleagues, log in to the admin. He logs on to his account on your Mac and assigns your user account to your user account via the "User" system setting and groups "a new password. Proceed in a similar way if you are the admin yourself, only you must not have forgotten his password.

Restarts with active filevault

If Filevault is activated on the computer, which is particularly recommended for company computers and mobile devices, you may be able to use a tool to restore the password. To do this, Apple recommends switching the computer off with a long press on the on / off switch and then on again. If the Filevault is activated, the Mac will now start in the macOS recovery and a window with instructions for recovering the password will appear. Follow these instructions.

Reset forgotten Mac password

With OS X 10.7 Lion, Apple introduced the so-called recovery partition, which offers various utilities after the start. If the Mac boots into the recovery partition (hold Command-R at startup), a window with several options pops up. The tool required to assign a new password can be found in the menu bar - this is the terminal. There you type the command

a. After pressing the Enter key, type in the exact name of the user whose password you want to change and then the new password.

This only works if no filevault is activated on the Mac. Then you just have to restart the Mac and enter the new password. Here you have to note that the keychain database must be created again afterwards.

Recovery on older Macs

Perhaps - for nostalgic reasons, for example - you want to restart an old Mac that you scrapped years ago. If you have forgotten this password and have not activated a second administrator account and, above all, the system software is older than OS X 10.7 Lion, the above tips will not help. You can still reset your password on Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and earlier versions.

After starting in single-user mode (hold the key combination "Command-S" when the start chime sounds), first enter in the command line:

Now tap in the following

to start the Open Directory system service. After entering

where [username] stands for the short name of the (admin) account, you can assign a new password and restart the computer (just enter “reboot”). As I said: Third parties can also do this, so it is better not to choose a short name that is too obvious.