If you’ve ever forgotten the password to your Mac, you know the panic that begins to take over with each failed attempt to log in. Instead of freaking out, take a deep breath, and find comfort in the fact that you’re only a few minutes away from getting back into your Mac.
Thankfully, MacOS includes built-in tools to reset your account password in situations just like this. Which tool you use depends on whether or not you have you linked your Apple ID to your user account on the Mac during setup. If you didn’t, that’s all right, you still have another option to reset your account password.
Use Recovery Mode to reset your password
You’ll need to boot your Mac into Recovery Mode in order to access the password reset tool. I’ve found the easiest way to do that is to turn off your Mac (instead of restarting your Mac and trying to time the keyboard shortcut).
With your Mac turned off, press and hold the Command and R keys on your keyboard, then press the power button. Hold in Command+R until you see a progress bar show up below the Apple logo.
With your Mac now in Recovery Mode, click on Utilities in the menu bar followed by Terminal. A new window will show up, waiting for you to enter a command. Type “resetpassword” as one word, without the quotes, and press Return.
Close the Terminal window, where you will then find the Reset Password tool. A list of all user accounts on your Mac will be on display. To reset the password for your account, you’ll need to set a new password for all users. Make sure you write down the new password for anyone who shares your Mac.
Use your Apple ID to reset your password
After entering the wrong user password a few times, you might be asked if you want to reset the password using your Apple ID. Alternatively, you can click on the question mark icon in the password text field followed by the arrow icon to trigger the same process.
After entering your Apple ID email address and password, an alert will let you know a new keychain that stores your passwords will be created, but your old keychain will remain saved on your Mac. If you ever remember your old password, you’ll be able to unlock the old keychain. When this alert shows up, just click OK.