What to Do If Your Mac Refuses to Accept Your Password

Bethany Walsh

Jun 03, 2022

It is better to use a password even if your Mac is set to log you in automatically without a username and password. If your Mac is password-unfriendly or you've been careless, your password wills no longer work—and you'll have to re-enter it.

You may forget your password if you use an ordinary user account for day-to-day work and haven't logged into the administrator's account in a while. If you forget your Mac password, there are several methods you may use to either recover full access to your computer or at the very least access the data you require. Here are a few pointers on how to go about it.

Password Reset

When using OS X, users may reset their account passwords in various ways. If you have limited access to your Mac, you may want to use one of the methods outlined below.

Change From Admin

You should have both an administrator account and a normal account on your Mac to optimize your computer's security. To change the password for your primary account, you must first enter into the administrator account and then utilize the Users &'' Groups system options. Log in to the account you're having trouble accessing by clicking the lock icon in the Users &'' Groups system options. To change your account's password, select Reset Password on the settings page.

Single-Use Mode

Every Mac has a "root" account, which is used to launch all of the key background services necessary for your Mac to function. You may rapidly access this account, which is normally hidden and inaccessible, by starting your Mac in single-user mode. To reset the password, you will need to know the account's short name, as well as the following steps:

  1. When your Mac starts up, press and hold Command-S until the chimes stop.
  2. To put the boot drive into reading and write mode, type the following command:
  3. Open Directory (Apple's account directory service in OS X) is now loaded.
  4. Enter the following command (change "username" with the short name of the desired account) to reset the password for your user account.

Use Apple ID

If you've forgotten your OS X password, you may use your Apple ID to connect your user account to it. To use this function, you must first associate your Apple ID, which may be done by clicking the Set button next to the words Apple ID and then entering your Apple ID and password. Afterward, you can enable the option of allowing a password reset using an Apple ID.

A Change button next to your Apple ID entry indicates that your account has already been linked.) By default, this feature is activated when you attempt to log in with an incorrect password three times, which results in a panel that asks you for your Apple ID to reset the account password. After following the on-screen directions, you should be able to access your account and change your password.

Switch to Recovery Mode

Apple's recovery tools can be a final resort for resetting your password. In most circumstances, this will be the simplest option, and it may be done as follows:

  1. Press Command-R on your keyboard to enter recovery mode or Internet recovery during startup.
  2. In the Utilities menu, select Terminal.
  3. Reset the password (all one word, lowercase) in the terminal window and hit Return.
  4. Select your boot drive in the utility that opens.
  5. Make a selection from the pop-up menu to log into your account.
  6. When asked, type in a new password and click the "Reset Password" option.

For this, you'll need to launch Disk Utility, where you'll notice your drive is greyed out. Choose your disc, then click the "Unlock toolbar button" to unlock it, and then pick your disc in the password reset utility.

Data Recovery

Using the methods I've shown, you may reset your password and log in to your account again. Even if you've lost or forgotten the password to your Mac, there's a method to recover some of the data you need from it. Also known as "Target Disk mode," If you don't have File Vault or a firmware password on your Mac, you may use Target Disk mode to access your hard drive as if it were an external drive. It's impossible to retrieve data from a disc that has File Vault enabled if you can't recall either the password to unlock the drive or the drive's recovery key. This situation necessitates that you use a backup to restore your data.


Though retrieving or changing a lost password sounds like a hassle, a Mac secured with a strong password is far more important. You'd never have to resort to such measures in an ideal world. But if the worst happens, it's comforting to know that you have many options.

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