Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

Administrator Password Not Working on Mac? Fix

If you’re experiencing issues with your administrator password not working on your Mac, you’re not alone. Many users have encountered this problem, where their admin password is suddenly not accepted anymore. In this article, we will guide you through troubleshooting steps to fix this issue and regain access to your Mac.

Possible Causes and Symptoms

Users have reported various symptoms when their admin password fails to work. Some have mentioned that after entering their password, the password box shakes, indicating an incorrect password. This prevents them from logging into their accounts. Others have stated that their admin password is not accepted in System Preferences, preventing them from making system changes such as adding or removing users.

Some users have also noticed that this problem started after one or more macOS updates. It’s possible that a software bug or other factors may be causing your Mac to forget or refuse your valid password.

Update Your Mac

Before diving into advanced troubleshooting steps, it’s worth checking for any available updates for your Mac. Updating your macOS does not require admin user rights, so you can use a regular user account to perform the update.

  1. Go to System Preferences > Software Update.
  2. If there are updates available, follow the onscreen instructions to download and install them.
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Reset SMC

If your Mac has the Apple T2 Security Chip, it may be the cause of the password issue. However, we recommend resetting the System Management Controller (SMC) regardless of whether your Mac has this chip or not. Here’s how you can reset the SMC:

Mac Notebooks with T2 Chip:

  1. Turn off your Mac (Apple menu > Shut Down).
  2. On your keyboard, locate the Control, Option (Alt), and Shift keys.
  3. Press and hold these three keys for seven seconds.
  4. After 7 seconds, press and hold the power button as well (now you are pressing Control, Option, Shift, and Power).
  5. Keep holding these four keys for another 7 seconds, then release them.
  6. Wait for 15 seconds.
  7. Finally, turn on your Mac by pressing the power button.

Mac Desktops with T2 Chip:

  1. Turn off your Mac.
  2. Unplug the power cord.
  3. Wait for 15 seconds.
  4. Reconnect the power cord.
  5. Wait for 5 seconds.
  6. Turn on your Mac by pressing the power button.

Even if your Mac doesn’t have the T2 chip, resetting the SMC may still help resolve the password issue. For detailed instructions on resetting the SMC, refer to our previous article on How to Reset the SMC.

Create a New Admin Account

If the previous steps didn’t solve the problem, you can try creating a new admin account using Terminal. Please note that this method may not work if you are asked for your admin password during the process. Here’s how you can create a new admin account:

  1. Determine the name of your startup disk by going to System Preferences > Startup Disk. Take note of the disk name, typically “Macintosh HD.”
  2. Boot your Mac into Recovery mode. Write down or print the following steps or open this article on another device.
    • Turn off your Mac and ensure it’s fully shut down.
    • Press the power button and immediately hold down Command-R keys. This will open the macOS Utilities window.
    • From the menu bar, click Utilities > Terminal to open the Terminal.
    • In the Terminal, enter the following command and hit enter: rm "/Volumes/Macintosh HD/var/db/.applesetupdone."
    • Make sure to include the quotation marks and the space after rm.
    • Type the following command: reboot.
    • Follow the onscreen instructions.
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After creating the new admin account, you can use it to reset the password for your original account.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is my admin password not working on my Mac?
A: There can be several reasons for this issue, including software bugs or issues caused by macOS updates. Following the troubleshooting steps mentioned in this article should help you fix the problem.

Q: Can I update my Mac without admin privileges?
A: Yes, you can update your Mac using a regular user account. Simply go to System Preferences > Software Update and follow the onscreen instructions to download and install any available updates.

Q: Do I need to reset the SMC if my Mac doesn’t have the Apple T2 Security Chip?
A: Although the password issue may be more common on Macs with the T2 chip, resetting the SMC can still be beneficial for all Mac models. It’s worth trying regardless of whether your Mac has the chip or not.


Experiencing difficulties with your admin password on your Mac can be frustrating, but there are several steps you can take to resolve the issue. Try updating your Mac, resetting the SMC, and creating a new admin account to regain access to your Mac. If the problem persists, consider reaching out to Apple Support for further assistance.