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How Do I Find a Password That’s Been Saved Using My Face ID?

I’ve created a Numbers spreadsheet on my iPhone 11, protected with a password. Sadly I’ve forgotten the password, but I can open it using Face ID. I want to access and update the spreadsheet using my MacBook Pro, but it won’t let me do so without the password. I’ve looked for the password under Settings > Passwords on the iPhone, but can’t find it there. Please help!

I want to modify the spreadsheet using my computer (much bigger screen), instead of being restricted to doing so just on my iPhone
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Bob Joubert

Comments: 9 Responses to “How Do I Find a Password That’s Been Saved Using My Face ID?”

    8 months ago

    If you are using iCloud Keychain then you should have the password on your Mac. Did you try to open it there? First, try to open it. If you have Touch ID on your Mac, then it should prompt you to use Touch ID. If not, then it should prompt you to use your Mac user account password.

    They those first.

    If that still doesn't work, then launch the app Keychain Access on your Mac. Search for the exact name of the Numbers file. Make sure iCloud is selected in the left sidebar. Maybe it is there.

    If that doesn't work either, and you can't recall the password, then you'll need to rescue the data from the document by copying and pasting tables from it on your iPhone into a new document.

    I'm not sure of your situation, but if the document is to reside on your devices only, then it is protected by your local encryption and your device passwords. So you may not want to add an additional password to it, especially given what has happened. Usually you would use a password on the document if you had to store it somewhere external or send it to someone else.

    Greg
    8 months ago

    This has happened to me and it’s a pain. If it’s stored in keychain I can’t find it. The Notes, and iWork passwords are not stored anywhere that I can find. I now put the written PW in secure notes in keychain. This helps a lot. If you can’t remove the encryption from your phone side, what Gary said about copying the file and moving it to a new file is what I had to do a couple of times. An easier solution to this would be a great iOS and Mac OS update?

    Larry Jaeger
    8 months ago

    A much easier and permanent solution would be to get Apple and developers to require a field for a hint everywhere there is a field for creating a password. No hint created, no password allowed. Period. I've suggested that to Apple feedback for years, but they can't seem to understand the problem they've created for everyone. I have a list in Notes of every account, document, backup etc. with hints I've created over time. The hints are in multiple languages that only I would connect them.

    8 months ago

    Larry: Hints are very bad from a security perceptive, but probably not in the way you think. The only strong passwords are randomly-created unique ones that you don't even know yourself. They are just stored in a password manager. A "hint" implies that you have memorized the password. Besides the one or two passwords you need to access your password manager (Mac user account, Apple ID) you shouldn't have any passwords memorized.

    Larry Jaeger
    8 months ago

    I agree with the premise, however I create long, complex hints using a variety of characters that I can decode without too much thinking. Apple's password generator rates them(the hints) as Excellent otherwise I don't use them. Your last sentence exposes the weak link. If one uses a memorizable pw, by definition it must be weak. The door is open. Touch ID is great! However, it drives me crazy with its hit/miss use on the Mac. Sometimes it is enabled, sometimes not.

    8 months ago

    Larry: But why? Why go to the trouble of long, complex hints instead of using a password manager with strong unique passwords, something any IT security pro would recommend?

    Larry Jaeger
    8 months ago

    I do use Apple's password manager, however over the past 50 years of experience as a field engineer for a major computer company, 38 years of using Macs, consulting for many business in SoCal and Mexico, the most important thing I've learned never trust computers, especially backups and passwords. I've been locked out of something because of a corrupted or missing password list. Watched backups disappear(Thanks Apple). More than once I've watched customers go out of business overnight.

    8 months ago

    Larry: Exporting your passwords for a backup is fine, like I note in the video. It is just the practice of not using a password manager that becomes a problem.

    Bob Joubert
    8 months ago

    Hi Gary, Thanks very much for your reply. TouchID worked, but weirdly since it hadn't worked earlier. Maybe it's a timing thing? I mean too much delay between opening it on the iPhone with FaceID and trying to do so on the Mac with TouchID. Having opened it recently on the phone, TouchID on the MacBook worked fine. By the way, I tried looking for it on Keychain Access, and while I found it listed, it wouldn't show the password, even when I entered the logon password. Anyhow, problem is solved!

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