Forgot your MacBook password? Learn how to reset it quickly and easily

Lukas Grigas
Cybersecurity Content Writer
how to reset mac password

Have you ever forgotten your MacBook password? It can be a frustrating experience, much like losing the keys to your car or getting locked out of your own home. Just think of all the stuff you keep on your device!

But fear not – we are here to help. There are several ways to regain access to your Mac and keep it secure from unauthorized users. In this blog post, you’ll find out what you can do if you’ve forgotten your MacBook password: Namely, how to reset and then change your login credentials. Also, we’ll give you a few tips on how to keep your device secure and never end up in this situation again.

How to reset your MacBook password with Apple ID

One of the easiest methods to reset your MacBook password is through your Apple ID. Think of your Apple ID as your personal identification card, a kind of personal gateway to everything Apple. Essentially, having an Apple ID is like having a spare key in case you lose the original. Here’s a quick walkthrough of how you can reset your Mac password with Apple ID:

  1. Start your MacBook and wait for the login screen to load.

  2. Select the question mark icon next to the password field.

  3. Click the arrow icon next to “Reset it using your Apple ID.”

  4. Enter your Apple ID and password.

  5. Click “Next.”

  6. You will be prompted to reset your Mac password. Create a new password for your device and select “Restart.”

How to reset your MacBook password using the FileVault recovery key

The FileVault recovery key is generated when you enable FileVault on your MacBook. Using your FileVault recovery key, you can reset your password and regain access to your device in no time. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Start your MacBook and wait for the login screen to load.

  2. Click the question mark icon next to the password field.

  3. Select “Reset it using your recovery key.”

  4. Enter your FileVault recovery key.

  5. Create a new password for your device.

  6. Click “Reset password” for the changes to take place.

Resetting your MacBook password in Recovery Mode

If all else fails, try the recovery mode. Recovery Mode is like the emergency exit in a building – your last resort in a worst-case scenario. By accessing Recovery Mode, you can reset your Mac password and restore your device to its original settings. Keep in mind that access to Recovery Mode in older generations of Mac devices is different from the newer generation devices.

Here’s how you can access Recovery Mode on an Intel-based Mac:

  1. Turn off your computer.

  2. Simultaneously hold the power button, Command, and R keys.

  3. Wait for the loading bar to appear on the screen while your Mac boots to Recovery Mode.

Here’s how you can access Recovery Mode on an M1 Mac:

  1. Turn off your computer.

  2. Press and hold the power button

  3. Click “Options” and select “Continue.”

Here’s how you can reset your Mac password in Recovery Mode:

  1. Go to “Utilities” in the Apple menu.

  2. Select “Terminal.”

  3. Type “resetpassword” (a single word), and click “Return.”

  4. Navigate to the main hard drive and select your user account.

  5. Reset your password and click “Save.”

Resetting your MacBook password with another admin account

If you have another admin account on your Mac, consider using it as a backup plan. It’s like a trusted friend who can help you out in case of an emergency. Here’s how you can reset a Mac password with another admin account:

  1. Log in to your alternative user account.

  2. From the Apple menu bar, go to “System Preferences.”

  3. Select “Users & Groups.”

  4. Click the “Lock” icon.

  5. Use the password for the account to unlock it.

  6. Select the account for which you have forgotten your password and click “Reset password.”

  7. Enter your new password and tap “Enter.”

  8. Log out of the current user account and restart your Mac for changes to take place.

How to change your MacBook password

You might want to change your Mac password for a variety of reasons. Maybe you want to have a stronger one from now on, or perhaps your current password appeared in a data leak. Whatever the reason may be, changing your password is quick and easy. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. From the Apple menu, go to “System Preferences.”

  2. Select “Users & Groups.”

  3. Click the “Info” button next to your username.

  4. Next to the password field, click “Change…”

  5. Enter your current password in the “Old Password” field.

  6. Enter your new password in the “New Password” field. Your new password should contain at least 12 characters and include a combination of upper- and lowercase letters and a healthy mix of special characters and numbers.

    Tip: if you need ideas for a strong and unique new password, click the key icon next to the “New Password” prompt to generate a new one, or use the NordPass Password Generator.

  7. Enter your new password again in the “Verify” field.

  8. Click “Change password” to confirm the change.

The essentials of MacBook password security

Now that you know the ins and outs of handling your MacBook password, here are a few additional tips for best security practices.

  • Turn on FileVault

FileVault is a built-in macOS feature that encrypts the data on your Mac's hard drive and, as we already know, provides a handy way to reset your password in case of an emergency. By enabling FileVault, you add an additional layer of security to your computer, making it harder for unauthorized users to gain access.

  • Create and use password hints

A password hint is — just as it sounds — a sort of reminder that helps the user remember their password. A hint can be anything from a single word that reminds you of your password to a full sentence, a string of characters, or anything else that helps you jump-start your associative memory. The only thing that should not be in your password hint is, of course, your actual password.

  • Use strong, unique, and complex passwords – but don’t reuse them

Only a strong and unique password can protect your Mac from unauthorized access. We’ve already touched on the standard requirements for a strong password: it should contain at least 12 characters, a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, as well as special symbols and numbers. If you find password creation somewhat difficult and dull, you can simply use a password generator to come up with strong and unique passwords on the go.

Extra tips

Now that you’ve safely logged back into your Mac and updated your password, you can take the following steps to secure your device. Here are the answers to the most pressing Mac-related security questions.

Never forget your passwords with NordPass

If you're someone who frequently forgets passwords and gets stuck in reset loops, using a password manager like NordPass can be a lifesaver. NordPass provides a single secure place for your passwords, passkeys, and other sensitive data such as credit card details, personal information, and secure notes. In fact, we’re proud to be the first password manager to launch passkey support on iOS 17 devices. So, if you’re a diehard Apple fan, you can enjoy the synchronized convenience of secure data management wherever you are.

One of the best things about NordPass is that it allows you to go about without needing to type your login credentials – the autofill feature does it for you. On top of that, NordPass comes equipped with advanced security tools that can further improve your overall online security. The built-in Data Breach Scanner detects whether your emails and credit cards have been compromised in a data breach. Password Health aids you in identifying any weak, old, or reused passwords, while the Password Generator generates unique and strong passwords in the blink of an eye.

Try NordPass Premium for free and start a life where passwords are no longer a burden.

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