How To Reset Your Mac Admin Password?.
If you don’t use your Mac often, it’s easy to forget your administrator password and get stuck at the login screen. Apple understands this, which is why you have several options for resetting your password and helping you recover.
The instructions in this guide will walk you through all the possible ways to reset if you forget your Mac administrator password. Just choose the method that suits you best.
But first, you need to know how resetting your Mac password will affect any passwords stored in your login keychain.
Resetting Your Mac Admin Password vs. Login Keychain
Your Mac uses a built-in password management system called Keychain Access to store your login information for apps and websites. Problem?
The default Login Keychain uses the same password as your user account password to encrypt the data stored within it. Unfortunately, this means that you won’t be able to access its content despite resetting your admin password.
In this case, you must go to Launchpad > Other > Keychain Access and select File > New Keychain to set up a new keychain. Or macOS will automatically create one for you. The previous keychain will remain, so you can access it if you remember your old password.
However, if you use iCloud Keychain to sync your passwords with other Apple devices, you can quickly sync everything back to your new Keychain.
Reset Admin Password on Mac Using Apple ID
If you’re using an Apple ID with your Mac user account, you can reset your forgotten Mac administrator password by simply entering your Apple ID credentials. It’s fast and works on any MacBook, iMac, or Mac mini (Intel or Apple Silicon) running macOS 10.14 Catalina or later. The following steps should help you with this.
1. Do your best to guess the administrator password on the login screen. After the third failed attempt, select “Reset” using your Apple ID below the password field.
Note. If you didn’t receive a password reset prompt, look for the question mark icon in the password field and select it instead.
2. Enter your Apple ID username and password and select Reset Password.
3. You will be notified of your current login keychain (if it uses the same password as your administrator account). Select OK.
4. Your Mac will automatically boot into macOS recovery mode. In the password reset assistant that appears, select Forgot all passwords?
5. Use the “Set password” button next to the administrator account.
6. Create a new Mac login password, add a password hint (optional), and select Set Password.
7. Set new user passwords for any other accounts that appear in the password reset assistant.
8. Select “Restart” to restart your Mac normally. Or choose “Exit to Recovery Utilities” and select the “Restart” option from the Apple menu.
9. Select your administrator account and enter your new login password.
10. When you return to the desktop area, your Mac may prompt you to re-enter your Apple ID password. If so, select Apple ID Settings. If not, open the Apple menu and choose System Preferences > Apple ID.
11. Enter your Apple ID password and any other account information to get everything working as usual again.
Important: If you’re using iCloud Keychain, your Mac will also ask you for the password of at least one other Apple device (iPhone, iPad, or Mac) that you own. This will help you sync your passwords with your new login keychain.
Reset Admin Password on Mac Directly via macOS Recovery
An alternative way to reset your Mac administrator password is to open the password reset assistant directly through the Terminal in the macOS recovery program. You can use it in the following cases:
You are using an Intel or Apple Silicon Mac that is not signed in with an Apple ID.You have forgotten your Apple ID on an Intel Mac (without an Apple T2 security chip) .
Note. If you’re using an Apple ID on an Apple Silicon Mac or a macOS device with an Apple T2 security chip inside, this method won’t work if you don’t know your Apple ID password.
Downloading macOS Recovery on an Apple Silicon Mac
1. Turn off your Mac.
2. Press and hold the power button to turn it back on. Keep holding until the flashing message Loading launch options appears on the screen.
3. On the Launch Options screen, select Options > Continue.
Downloading macOS Recovery on Intel Mac
1. Turn off your Mac.
2. Hold down Command + R and press the power button to turn it back on.
3. Release both keys as soon as you see the Apple logo.
Reset your administrator password in macOS Recovery
1. On the macOS Recovery Mode screen, choose Utilities > Terminal from the menu bar.
2. Type the following command into the terminal window and press Enter:
3. In the password reset window that appears, select Forgot all passwords?
4. Select Set password next to your user account.
5. Create a new password and select Set Password.
6. Repeat these steps for any other accounts in the list.
7. Select Exit to Recovery Utilities. Then choose Restart from the Apple menu.
8. Sign in to your Mac using your new administrator password.
Reset Admin Password on Mac With Another Admin Account
Another handy way to reset your Mac administrator password if you forget it is to use a different administrator account. You (or someone else with account credentials) must complete the following steps.
1. Sign in with an alternate administrator account.
2. Open the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
3. Select Users & Groups.
4. Select Click the lock to make changes.
5. Enter the account administrator password and select Unlock.
6. Select the administrator account you want to reset in the sidebar and select Reset Password.
7. Set a new password for the account. Then select Change Password.
8. Log out and log back in with your normal administrator account using the new password.
Reset Admin Password on Mac by Reinstalling macOS
If the methods above don’t work when you forgot your Mac’s password, then you need to wipe your Mac and reinstall the operating system. However, if you don’t have Time Machine or another form of backup, this will result in data loss.
Also, if you use an Apple ID, you must enter it before or after wiping your Mac due to Activation Lock. This only applies to Apple Silicon Macs and Intel Macs with the Apple T2 Security Chip.
For detailed step-by-step instructions, we recommend checking out our Mac reformat without password guide. But here are the steps in brief:
1. Restart your Mac and enter macOS Recovery Mode (instructions above).
2. Select Disk Utility from the macOS Recovery menu.
3. Select Macintosh HD from the sidebar. Then click the “Erase” button to wipe your Mac’s internal memory.
4. Close the Disk Utility application.
5. Select Reinstall macOS from the macOS Recovery menu.
6. Select Continue on the macOS Setup Wizard and follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall macOS.
7. After reinstalling macOS, you need to connect your Mac to the Internet to activate the device. Then follow the Setup Assistant to set up your Mac.
If you have a Time Machine backup, you can restore your data during or after the setup procedure.
Reset Admin Password on a FileVault-Secured Mac
If you’ve secured your Mac with FileVault, you can use your Apple ID or FileVault recovery key to reset your forgotten password. The exact method depends on what you chose when you first activated FileVault.
So enter any password three times on the login screen. After the third failed attempt, select Restart and show password reset options. Your Mac will automatically boot into macOS Recovery Mode.
You will now have the option to enter your Apple ID or FileVault recovery key to unlock your Mac’s internal storage and reset your admin password.
If a password reset requires a FileVault recovery key, but you forgot to write it down, you have no choice but to wipe and reinstall macOS.
To do this, choose Recovery Assistant > Erase Mac from the menu bar in macOS Recovery. In the Erase Mac assistant that appears, select Erase Mac again. If you don’t have a backup, you will lose all your data.
This should wipe your Mac. Then, once it boots into macOS recovery mode again, choose to reinstall macOS.
Mac Admin Password Reset Complete
As you’ve just seen, using an Apple ID is the fastest way to reset an administrator password on a Mac. If not, you can still regain access to your account through the terminal in macOS Recovery. Another administrator account, or a FileVault recovery key.
If the methods above don’t work or you’ve lost your Filevault recovery key, wiping and setting up your Mac from scratch is your only recourse. If you’re having issues with Activation Lock on your Mac, contact Apple Support for help.
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