How to Recover Lost Password on a Mac

Introduction

People forget things. It's normal. But there's nothing like forgetting your Mac computer's password and locking yourself out of it.
Person with a question mark

While the password hint can be helpful, it doesn't always work to jog your memory.

This guide will help you reset your password if you have an Apple ID. Unfortunately, if you don't have access to these accounts you'll need to factory restore your device.

1 Apple ID vs Local Account

Most up to date Macs are tied to your Apple ID. You can use it to reset the password to your Mac. If you sign into your Mac with an email, you have an Apple ID.

If you do not use an Apple ID, you will not see the following screens on your Mac.

An example of an Apple ID shown on an iPhone:
Apple ID screen on iPhone

? Do you log in using your Apple ID or Local Account?

  1. Apple ID
  2. Local Account

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People forget things. It's normal. But there's nothing like forgetting your Mac computer's password and locking yourself out of it.
Person with a question mark

While the password hint can be helpful, it doesn't always work to jog your memory.

This guide will help you reset your password if you have an Apple ID. Unfortunately, if you don't have access to these accounts you'll need to factory restore your device.

Most up to date Macs are tied to your Apple ID. You can use it to reset the password to your Mac. If you sign into your Mac with an email, you have an Apple ID.

If you do not use an Apple ID, you will not see the following screens on your Mac.

An example of an Apple ID shown on an iPhone:
Apple ID screen on iPhone

  1. Try guessing your password until the message saying If you forgot your password, you can reset it using your Apple ID.
    macOS log on screen showing the Apple ID option
  2. Click the arrow next to Apple ID.
    Apple ID arrow
  3. A popup with information on the Apple Keychain will appear. Click OK.
    macOS keychain warning
  4. Type in your Apple ID information and click Reset Password.
    Apple ID reset password
  5. Type in your new password information.
    macOS reset password fields
  6. You'll be asked to restart your Mac.
If you are a PST, follow the Escalation Process to PTE.

If FileVault is turned on, you might be able to reset your password using the Reset Password assistant:

  1. Wait up to a minute at the login screen, until you see a message saying that you can use the power button on your Mac to shut down and start up again in Recovery OS.
    macos Recovery message
  2. If you don't see this message, FileVault isn't on and you cannot use this method.
  3. Press and hold the power button until your Mac turns off.
    Macbook power button
  4. Press the power button again to turn on your Mac.
  5. The Reset Password window will appear. Select I Forgot My Password.
    macOS reset password selections
  6. Select your User Account.
    macOS selecting a user for password reset
  7. Type in your new password information.
    macOS reset passwords field
  8. When done, click Restart.
  9. If you were able to reset your password with the Reset Password assistant, log in to your account using your new password.

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