3 Ways To Protect Against Forgetting Your Mac Password

If a Mac user in your household forgets their password, they can be locked out of their account and data. But there are three easy ways to protect against this. You can set up a backup administrator account on their Mac, enable a back-door by allowing them to change their password with their Apple ID, or set a master password to use for all accounts on their Mac.

Video Transcript
The single most important piece of information you need to use your Mac is your account password. You need it to log into your account. If your Mac's gone to sleep. If you restart it. If you just logged out. You need it to get back in.

Now you're never going to forget that password. But maybe a more casual user, using your Mac with a separate account, or using your own Mac may forget it. So how can you help that person to get back into their account?

Well, you need to do things in advance. One idea is to setup another user account that's an Admin account. So if, say, they have their Mac and they're setup on a regular account. It could be an Admin account. But you can setup a second Admin account on their Mac. Under Users and Groups you can just create a new account. You're going to have to authenticate here. Then you can create a new account that is an Admin account. With an Admin account you can always login, because you know the password to that account, and reset a password for any other account including another Admin account.

So setting up a backup Admin account for a Mac used by a casual Mac user is a really good idea because it allows you to get in. For instance, here is another user on this account and you can see since I'm logged in as the MacMost account, which is an Admin, I can reset the password for that Admin account. So all hope will not be lost if this user forgot their password.

Another thing to consider is for your account and for anybody else's account is to turn on the Allow user to reset password using Apple ID. Turn that on and if they forget their Mac user account, but they remember their iCloud account, their Apple ID account, they can then change the password by entering in the Apple ID associated with that account on the Mac and the password and it will allow them in. It kind of creates a secondary door. A backdoor that allows them to get in with their Apple ID password which would be different than their user account password.

There is a third option. That is to setup a Master Password. Click the gear here. Select set Master Password and it creates this password that can be used by any account here to reset their account password if they forgot it. It's kind of this backup password for the entire Mac. It's supposed to have the added benefit in that it can work on encrypted accounts. Accounts that use firewalls. Although in my experience an Admin password will get you into those accounts as well.

Comments: 5 Responses to “3 Ways To Protect Against Forgetting Your Mac Password”

    Brenda Brooks
    8/24/17 @ 10:27 am

    Gary, I liked your comment about ticking the box to Allow user to reset password using Apple ID. However my admin account doesn’t have this option on my Mac book laptop. I am using the latest software version Sierra version 10.12.6. I am in the UK in case that is relevant. Do you know why it is missing?

    8/24/17 @ 10:32 am

    Brenda: Try this in System Preferences in Users & Groups. Click the padlock button and authenticate. Then Control+click your user name in the list. Select “Advanced Options.” Do you see where it shows “Apple ID” on this screen? Is your Apple ID listed? If not, there may be a “Set” button to the right of that.

    Brenda Brooks
    8/24/17 @ 11:06 am

    Gary, I did as you said and I see my Apple ID listed which was correct. The only button next to it was a change button.

    8/24/17 @ 11:10 am

    Brenda: Hmmm. Not sure why this doesn’t appear for you as an option then. Perhaps it doesn’t work with FileVault turned on?

    Brenda Brooks
    8/24/17 @ 12:47 pm

    Gary, Just checked and yes I do have FireVault switched on.

Comments Closed.