MacOS is a very safe operating system and, in fact, a large part of the security measures applied focus on the good use of passwords, which are usually associated with the installation of a new program or changes in the system.
The use of the Touch ID in case you have a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air of 2018 has optimized all these processes. But what should you do if you have lost or forgotten your password? Do not falter. In this article we explain how to recover a lost password on the Mac.
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You can also use one of the best password managers for Mac that we explain in this article that will allow you to use more robust passwords, plus you will not be forgotten.
1 Get a password suggestion
Before resetting your password, you must first verify if the password suggestion (the phrase you chose in the suggestion box when you first set the password), allows you to refresh your memory.
You only have to make three erroneous attempts to access the hint or suggestion:
- Open ‘System Preferences’ from ‘Apple’> ‘System Preferences’
- Select ‘Users and Groups’
- Click on the lock icon in the lower left
- Press the ‘Back’ key three times
The screen will react each time you press the ‘Enter’ key so that, after the third attempt, the track will appear below the ‘Password’ field. Do not worry if you do not have control since the number of times you can enter it has no limits.
If it turns out that the password suggestion does not appear, it will be because in your day you did not configure anything to show password suggestions in the ‘Options’ login.
Unfortunately, the only way to change this configuration is to log in to your Mac. Fortunately, there are other ways to find your password, so we encourage you to continue reading.
If you want to make sure that a password hint appears when you have forgotten your password, go to ‘System Preferences> Users and Groups> Login Options’, then log in and check the box that says’ Show password suggestions ‘
2. Change the password from another account
Do you share your Mac with another person? Is your Mac a business team so that an administrator can monitor it? Can someone else in your family sign in? Or, do you have a different user account on the Mac for which you remember the password?
If in any way there is an alternative to starting the Mac with another account, you can take advantage of it to reset the password of the account that you forgot. Follow these steps that we indicate below to be able to restore it:
- Click on the Apple logo on the top left and select ‘Sign out’
- Select the account that you know the password
- Enter the password for that account
- Open ‘System Preferences> Users and Groups’
- Click on the lock icon in the bottom left of the window
- Enter the password again
- Select the account from which you have forgotten the password in the sidebar
- Click on ‘Reset password’
- Fill in the fields ‘New password, Verification and Password’
- Click on ‘Change password’
After these steps, you will have managed to change the password for that account without previously knowing the password. You can now log in to that account with the new password.
Keep in mind that this does not change the keychain password and the Mac will ask you when you log in to the account, if you want to update the keychain password. To do this, you will need the old password (the forgotten one), so you will have to click on ‘Create new keychain’.
The problem is that if another user does not have administrator rights on your Mac, you will not be able to change the password. The next option, in the case that the previous ones have not worked, is to use the ‘Recovery Mode’ offered by the Macs.
3 Use recovery mode to reset your password
Apple includes a tool to replace the password of a Mac. This is the best option if you have completely forgotten your password. Follow these steps:
- Turn off your Mac as you usually do
- Press the power button while holding down the ‘Command’ + ‘R’ keys. In this way, the Mac will enter the ‘Recovery mode’
- When you see the system loading bar appear, you can release the key. It will take a few minutes
- Select the option ‘Disk Utility’ and press continue
- Select ‘Utilities> Terminal’
- Enter the option ‘Reset password’ and press the ‘Enter’ key
- Select the volume (unit) that contains the account. It will be the main hard disk
- Choose the account to change with ‘Select the user account’
- Enter a new password and indicate it again in the password fields
- Indicates a new password hint associated with your new password
- Click on ‘Save’
- You will see a warning indicating that the password has changed, but not the keychain password. Click on accept
Now you can start your Mac. You can login with the new password created.
4 Use the target disk mode
If it turns out that you can not use any of the above methods, then your alternative will be to use the ‘Target disk mode’ to recover the data you can from the Mac. This allows you to access your Mac’s hard drive from another Mac computer. Follow these steps:
- Turn off the Mac
- Connect the Mac to another with a Thunderbolt cable (as long as your Mac is not very old, you may have to use the FireWire cable). This trick we have verified that it does not work with USB cable
- Turn on your Mac and hold the ‘T’ key while the computer 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 and information from the other locked Mac.
Now that you know these tricks, you may worry that any other user can use the ‘Recovery Mode’ to reset the password. There are some steps that will allow you to protect your data.
The best way to protect them is by using the FileVault encryption offered by the macOS operating system. This encrypts the contents of the Mac so that the password reset utility will not be displayed until you unlock it with the ‘Disk Utility’.
When you configure FileVault, you will receive a ‘Recovery key’ that you should keep in a safe place associated with your password. If you lose both, your data will be lost forever.
You can activate FileVault in ‘System Preferences> Security and Privacy> FileVault’.