Wednesday, 17 Jul 2024
Technology

Resetting Your Mac Login Password

If you find yourself unable to reset the password for your Mac user account using the standard steps, don’t worry. There are additional steps you can take to regain access to your Mac. In this article, we will guide you through the process.

Before You Begin

Before we get started, make sure you have already tried the standard steps to reset your Mac login password. If those steps don’t work, follow the instructions below:

  1. Press and hold the power button on your Mac for up to 10 seconds until it turns off.
  2. Proceed to the next steps.

Starting Up from macOS Recovery

The first thing you need to do is start up your Mac from macOS Recovery. Depending on whether you have a Mac with Apple silicon or any other Mac, follow the appropriate steps.

If You Have a Mac with Apple Silicon

  1. Press and hold the power button on your Mac.
  2. Keep holding the power button until your Mac turns on and the startup options appear.
  3. Release the power button.
  4. Click on “Options” and then click the “Continue” button that appears below it.
    Startup Options on Mac with Apple silicon

If You Have Any Other Mac

  1. Press and release the power button to turn on your Mac.
  2. Immediately after releasing the power button, press and hold Command (⌘)-R.
  3. Keep holding the keys until you see an Apple logo or spinning globe.
  4. You might be prompted to select a network from the Wi-Fi menu or attach a network cable. If you don’t see the Wi-Fi menu, look for it in the upper-right corner of the screen.
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If Asked to Select an Admin User

While starting up from macOS Recovery, you might be asked to select an admin user for whom you know the password. If this happens, follow the steps below based on what your Mac asks for next, either your Apple ID or your recovery key.

If Asked for Your Apple ID Information

If you’re asked for your Apple ID information after clicking “Forgot all passwords?”:

  1. Enter your Apple ID information.
  2. If prompted, enter the verification code sent to your other devices.
  3. Select the user for whom you want to reset the password.
    • Enter your new password information and click “Next.”
    • Once authentication is successful, click “Exit.”
  4. Choose Apple menu  > Restart and log in with your new password. Your password reset is now complete.

If Asked for Your Recovery Key

If you’re asked for your FileVault recovery key after clicking “Forgot all passwords?”:

  1. Enter your FileVault recovery key. You received it when you turned on FileVault and chose to create a recovery key instead of using your iCloud account to unlock your disk.
  2. When prompted to reset your password, click “Reset Password.”
  3. Select the user for whom you want to reset the password.
  4. After successfully authenticating, click “Exit.”
  5. Choose Apple menu  > Restart and log in with your new password. Your password reset is now complete.

Using the Reset Password Assistant

If you haven’t been able to reset your password using your Apple ID information or recovery key, you can use the Reset Password assistant from macOS Recovery. Here’s how:

  1. After starting up from macOS Recovery, you should see the utilities window, showing options such as restoring from Time Machine, reinstalling macOS, and using Disk Utility.
    macOS Recovery: Utilities window
  2. From the Utilities menu in the menu bar, choose Terminal.
  3. In the Terminal window, type resetpassword and press Return to open the Reset Password assistant.
  4. If asked to select an admin user for whom you know the password, click “Forgot all passwords?”
  5. At the Reset Password window, click “Deactivate Mac” and then click “Deactivate” to confirm.
  6. If you see an Activation Lock window, enter your Apple ID email and password, then click “Next.”
  7. At the Reset Password window, enter your new password information and click “Next.” If there are multiple user accounts shown, click the “Set Password” button next to each account name and enter the new password information for each account.
  8. Once the password reset is complete, click “Exit.”
  9. Choose Apple menu  > Restart and log in with your new password.
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If You Still Can’t Reset Your Password

If none of the solutions mentioned above work for you, you can try resetting your password by erasing your Mac. Here’s how:

  1. Shut down your Mac and start up from macOS Recovery as described previously.
  2. When asked to select an admin user for whom you know the password, choose “Recovery Assistant” > “Erase Mac” from the menu bar.
  3. In the Erase Mac window, click “Erase Mac” and then click “Erase Mac” to confirm.
  4. If your Mac restarts to a flashing question mark, press and hold the power button for a few seconds until your Mac turns off.
  5. Start up from macOS Recovery again and reinstall macOS. Refer to Apple’s instructions on how to reinstall macOS.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What should I do if I need further assistance?

A: If you need help, please contact Apple Support.

Q: What should I do if I erased my Mac and the installer doesn’t see a hard disk to install macOS?

A: You might need to change the format of the disk. Follow these steps:

  1. Press Command (⌘)-Q to quit the installer.
  2. When you see the utilities window, select Disk Utility, then click “Continue.”
  3. Select the first item listed in the sidebar, which is your built-in hard disk.
  4. Click the Erase button or tab on the right side of the window and enter the following details:
    • Name: Macintosh HD
    • Format: Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
    • Scheme (if shown): GUID Partition Map
  5. Click “Erase” and confirm the action.
  6. Once the erase is complete, press Command-Q to quit Disk Utility and return to the utilities window. You should now be able to reinstall macOS successfully.
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Conclusion

Resetting your Mac login password can be a daunting task, but by following the steps outlined in this article, you can regain access to your Mac. Remember to always try the standard steps first, but if they fail, macOS Recovery provides additional options to help you reset your password. If all else fails, you can consider erasing your Mac as a last resort. If you need further assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to Apple Support.