How to Change the Password on a Mac

Whether you remember your password or forgot, you can still change it

There are a lot of reasons to change the password on a Mac. You may have forgotten your old password, or perhaps you shared your password, or it was compromised and you need a new one. It's also a good idea to just change your passwords from time to time to maintain security. Whatever your reason here's how to change the password on a Mac and some tips for getting it done.

This article explains how to reset or recover your Mac login password. If you forgot your Apple ID password, you will need to reset your Apple ID password instead.

Ways to Reset a Password on Mac

Changing the password on your Mac isn't difficult, but it does complicate matters if you don't remember your old password or aren't able to use your Apple ID as a backup.

Here are the primary methods you can use to reset your Mac password:

  • Basic reset: This method only works if you remember your current password. If you have forgotten your password, you'll need to use a different method.
  • Change via Admin: This method only works if your Mac has an Admin account. If you can access the admin account, you can use it to set a new login password for your regular account. If someone else controls the admin account, you can ask them for assistance.
  • Recover using Apple ID: This method requires you to remember your Apple ID login details. If you don't remember your Apple ID password, you will need to reset your Apple ID password first.

How to Change a Password on Mac If You Know the Current Password

This is the easiest and fastest method of setting a new login password on a Mac, so you'll want to do it this way if you remember your current password. If you have forgotten your current password, then you'll need to try one of the other methods.

  1. Click or tap the Apple menu icon in the upper left of the screen, and select Preferences.

    A screenshot of the apple menu on a Mac.
  2. Click or tap Users & Groups.

    A screenshot of the macOS System Preferences menu.
  3. Make sure your user account is selected, and click or tap Change Password.

    A screenshot of the Users & Groups menu on a Mac.
  4. Enter your current password in the Old Password field, enter your new password in the New Password field, and then enter it a second time in the Verify field.

    A screenshot of setting a new password on a Mac.

    For information about how to select a secure password, you can click or tap the key icon.

  5. Enter a hint that will help you remember the password if you forget it.

  6. Click Change Password.

  7. Next time you log in, you will need to use your new password.

How to Reset a Mac Login Password as an Admin User

If your Mac has local admin account, you can use that to change the login password of any regular user account. Not every Mac is set up in this way, but it does come in handy. You will need access to the admin account to use this method. If someone else controls the admin account, then you will have to ask them to reset your password.

Here's how to reset a Mac password using an Admin account:

  1. Log into the Mac using an admin account.

    A screenshot of the Mac login screen.
  2. Click or tap the Apple menu icon, then open System Preferences.

    A screenshot of the apple menu on a Mac.
  3. Click or tap Users & Groups.

    A screenshot of the macOS System Preferences menu.
  4. Click the lock symbol in the bottom left corner.

    A screenshot of the Mac Users & Groups menu.
  5. Enter your Admin username and password, and click Unlock.

    A screenshot of unlocking Users & Groups in macOS.
  6. Click the account in the left pane for which you have forgotten the login password, then click Reset Password in the right pane.

    A screenshot of changing a user password on a Mac.
  7. Enter and verify a new password, enter a hint if desired, and click Change Password.

    A screenshot of setting a new password on a Mac.
  8. Click or tap the Apple menu icon, and select Log Out Admin.

    A screenshot of logging out of a Mac admin account.
  9. Log into your regular user account using the password you just created.

How to Use Apple ID to Change a Forgotten Mac Password

If you have forgotten the login password for your Mac, you can use your Apple ID to reset it. This process isn't difficult, but you should make sure that you actually forgot your password first. Mac passwords are case sensitive, so make sure the caps lock is off, and make sure to capitalize any letters the same way you did when you created the password.

If you enter the wrong password enough times, a question mark icon will appear. Click or tap the icon, and you will be presented with a hint that may help you remember your password.

If you really aren't able to remember your password, here's how to reset it using your Apple ID:

  1. Attempt to log into your Mac by typing the wrong password several times.

  2. After about three attempts, you will see a message with an arrow next to it. Click or tap the arrow icon next to reset it using your Apple ID.

    A screenshot of the Mac login screen.
  3. Enter your Apple ID details.

  4. Click OK.

    If you go through with this process, you will lose access to your iCloud Keychain. You will need to remember your original password to access your old keychain. Additionally, proceeding beyond this point will require you to reset the passwords for every account on your Mac.

  5. Your Mac will restart automatically.

  6. Click Forgot All Passwords.

    If you have an Admin account that you know the password for, you can select it during this step to create a new login password for your user account. If you don't, you will be required to choose new passwords for every account on your Mac.

  7. Click the Set Password button next to your user account.

  8. Enter a new password and hint and click Set Password.

  9. Click the Set Password button next to any additional accounts, and repeat that process.

  10. Once you have reset all the passwords, click Next.

  11. Click Restart.

What If You Forgot Your Mac Login Password and Apple ID?

If you forgot both your Mac login password and your Apple ID, and you don't have an existing admin account on your Mac, that complicates matters. You may be able to create a fresh admin account on your Mac and use that to change your password, but that process is a bit complicated. If you are able to create a new admin account, then just use the admin method above to reset your user password.

Beyond that, you will need to attempt to recover your Apple ID. If you don't know your Apple ID password, Apple has a process that you can use to recover your Apple ID. You'll have an easier time if you have access to the email associated with the ID. If you don't, you may need to contact Apple customer service for further assistance.