3 Ways to Recover Forgotten Admin Password

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26 / 12 / 2017

3 Ways to Recover Forgotten Admin Password

What would you do if you didn’t remember your administrator account password? Sooner or later this may happen to every Mac user. Losing admin password means you will no longer be able to log in to your Mac, install apps, or make any system changes. How do we handle that? Fortunately, there are several possible solutions.

Use Another Admin Account

Resetting the existing admin password is easy in case you have a second admin account and know its login password. Why would you need two admin accounts? Forewarned is forearmed. It’s the easiest way to change the password for another account and a perfect troubleshooting method. Assuming that you still remember your password for the second admin account, log in to it.

  1. Navigate to System Preferences and select the Users and Groups tab.

  2. In the bottom left corner, click the lock icon and enter the admin password for your second account.

  3. Select the admin user whose password you need to reset.

  4. Click Reset Password.                                                                                                                        

  5. In the window that appears, create a new password, and click Change Password.

Use Your Apple ID

macOS users can reset admin password using an active Apple ID that is associated with their account. This feature can help reset the password for any user account type.

  1. Restart your Mac and type the wrong password 3 times in the login window. You’ll see the password hint and an option to reset account password with Apple ID.

  2. Click the small right-facing button.

  3. Enter your Apple ID and its password, and click Reset Password

  4. A warning will appear about changes in Keychain, where frequently used passwords are stored. Click OK to proceed.

  5. Enter a new password and set up a hint for it.

  6. Click Reset Password again.

Use Recovery Mode

macOS includes an extremely useful tool to reset forgotten passwords. The Recovery Mode allows changing the password using the Terminal utility. If you were out of luck and didn’t create a second admin account or associate your account with Apple ID, this is a perfect way to reset the admin password. Follow these steps:

  1. Shut down your Mac.

  2. Press the power button and use the Command+R key combination to enter the Recovery Mode.

  3. Click Utilities at the top of the screen and select Terminal.

  4. In the Terminal line, type resetpassword.

  5. Select the volume with an admin account (usually it’s your main hard drive).

  6. Choose the account for which you want to reset the password.

  7. Enter a new password and re-type it.

  8. Type the password hint and click Save.   

  9. Shut down your Mac.

  10. Start up the Mac and log in using your new password

If you’ve already changed the password after logging in to your account, you’ll see the alert that the system could not unlock the login keychain. This message is displayed because the user account and keychain no longer match. Just click Create New Keychain and type in your new credentials. That’s it!

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