Use Password Assistant To Create Random Passwords

Your Mac as a password generator built into the Keychain Access utility. It takes a few steps to access, but it can be handy to generate passwords outside of Safari or in unusual situations. You can vary the length and type of password and copy and paste the result.

Video Transcript
So suppose you want to create a password for something but you're not in Safari or maybe it's a form in Safari that Safari isn't recognizing as a password field. You just want to generate a random password. You'd think there would be a way to do that on your Mac. Just ask your Mac to give you a random password. Well, there is a utility that does this but it's really hidden and it's a little difficult to get to. At least the first time.

It's part of Keychain Access. So Keychain Access is an app that most Mac users never have to go to. So you may never have seen it before. But you can Search for Keychain and find the Keychain Access app. This gives you lots of stuff about passwords and certificates and all sorts of things you probably don't need to even worry about. But you can generate a password with it.

The trick is once you have Keychain Access launched make sure you have a Keychain selected. Just like the first one here, Login. Then you can access File, New Password Item. Now you're not actually going to create a new password item but you're going to use this little button here. This is the password assistant button. Click that and you get this Password Assistant. This is what we've been going for. Forget about Keychain Access.

What we want is the Password Assistant. Here we can select the type of password we want, so something Memorable. It's going to create something that's kind of easy to remember. I don't like that. You do random Letters & Numbers. I like that better. You can set the length to whatever you want. I like to set it to odd numbers like nine or something or thirteen. You can say Numbers Only. If you need to generate a new Pin Code for your ATM card, a very insecure four characters. You can just go and take the first four characters of Numbers Only there. You can click here and actually see more suggestions. So if you do something like Random and you say well I don't like that first one, how about that one there.

You can Copy and Paste out of this. So you can copy, Command C, and then paste it into whatever you're doing and then close this. So this is a handy little utility. It even shows you the quality here. So you can actually see a much more secure password versus one that's not very secure. Something in Numbers Only isn't going to be very secure at all. It's actually going to give you a warning there. So it's just a really great simple way for you to create passwords and you don't have to use it in anything in particular. Just copy and paste out. Quit out of this. Cancel creating the new one. Quit Keychain Access when you don't need it anymore.

Comments: 6 Responses to “Use Password Assistant To Create Random Passwords”

    Bob_L
    11/2/18 @ 2:27 pm

    Apple used to give you the Password Assistant app in early versions of OSX…. I keep it handy and have multiple backups of it on various drives at home…

    Carl Hammel
    11/8/18 @ 11:47 am

    I, too, saved Password Assistant to my Applications folder several iterations of the macOS past. It is version 1.3.0. Now, in Mojave, when I launch it, it notes that it’s not optimized to work with Mojave. Is it possible to find the Password Assistant associated with Keychain access, on Mojave, and save it to the Applications folder???

    11/8/18 @ 11:57 am

    Carl: I don’t believe that exists. It simply isn’t a stand-alone app. But someone could create something similar. In fact, most password managers already have a way to generate passwords. I use 1Password to do it, for instance.

    james collison
    11/9/18 @ 7:41 am

    Gary thank you for all your good work and hints.. my question is how do you find a PW so you can use it on something else? If I am not on my Mac, I sometimes need to know PW so I can get into my app and need to know how to access that PW that the assistant has generated
    thank you,
    jack

    11/9/18 @ 7:55 am

    People usually use Password Management software for that. Safari/Mac has this built in, and you can manually add one if you are doing something offline, like an ATM pin or something. Safari, Preferences, Passwords. You can see those on iOS too. Or, you can use a third-party one like 1Password which is handy as it works on Windows and Android too.

    Erik Pittoors
    11/10/18 @ 7:08 am

    Thanks Gary for sharing! By Myself, I use “LastPass” available as an extention in my Chrome browser for generate paswords…Kind Regards, Erik.

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