Mac OS: How to Bypass your Forgotten Password

Apple Mac OS X is a secure operating system, and at the heart of OS X’s security is your Mac password. But what do you do if you’ve lost, or forgotten, your Mac password? If your Mac password doesn’t work, or you’ve plain lost it, then don’t worry. In this article we’re going to look at how to recover a lost Mac password.

You’ll need to reset the forgotten password and there’s several ways to do this, we’ll focus on the three best methods; the first is dirt simple and will utilize the Apple ID (yes, the same on you use for iTunes and App Store purchases), the second method is a hack of sorts and does not require a Mac OS X recovery drive or CD and is guaranteed to be effective, and the third trick is fairly simple but it requires either a Mac OS X DVD, boot disk, or Recovery mode partition to use. Use whichever method works for your situation, but whichever method you choose you will have your password reset and gain access to your stuff again.

Few Methods To Bypass Mac Password:

1] To reset the administrator password using the Mac OS X installation disc:

Insert the Mac OS X installation disc into your computer’s optical drive (or an optical drive connected to your computer), and then double-click the Install Mac OS X icon.

Note: If you’re using another computer’s optical drive, make sure your computer is set up for remote installation, and then go to step 3. For more information about remote installation, see:

Using Remote Install Mac OS X

  1. In the Installer, click Utilities, and then click Restart.
  2. When the Language Chooser appears, select your language, and then click the Continue button (looks like an arrow).
  3. In the Installer, choose Utilities > Reset Password.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to change the password.

Be sure to change the password for your login keychain to match your new account password so your keychain is unlocked when you log in. For more information see:
Changing your keychain password.

2] Get the password from Apple using iCloud Password

Since OS X Mavericks Apple has started to integrate its Apple ID passwords with the admin password for OS X. This is a good thing because you only have to remember the one password, and it’s the same one you use to get apps from the App Store. Another awesome part of Apple ID being linked to your OS X account is that you can use the Apple ID password recovery service to get your admin password and unlock your Mac.

Open System Preferences and click on Users & Groups and check below your name. If you see an email address (such as [email protected]) then you can get your password back from Apple. Follow these steps:

  1. Open System Preferences > Users & Groups.
  2. Click Change Password.
  3. Click Change iCloud Password.
  4. Fill out the two questions in the Verify Your Identity Field.
  5. Click Verify

You can also recover your password by going to appleid.apple.com and clicking Reset your Password.

3] Reset Mac Password – without a CD or Boot Drive

Using a pretty nifty trick you can reset a forgotten Mac password without a Mac OS X installer CD/DVD or any kind of boot drive or recovery partiton, and without having an Apple ID. This is basically the be-all-end-all approach if nothing else works, because it’s guaranteed to get you back into a Mac when the other options are available, and it works in literally all versions of OS X. The steps may seem a little intimidating at first but I assure you it’s easy if you follow them exactly, here is exactly how to do this in three stages:

Stage 1) Boot into Single User Mode and remove a setup file
  • Restart the Mac holding down the Command+S keys, this will take you into Single User Mode and it’s Terminal interface
  • You’ll need to check the filesystem first:

fsck -fy

  • Next, you must mount the root drive as writeable so that changes will save:

mount -uw /

  • Now, type the following command exactly, followed by the enter key:

rm /var/db/.applesetupdone

  • After removing the applesetupdone file, you need to reboot, type ‘reboot’ and hit enter
Stage 2) Create a New User Account upon System Boot

You aren’t finished, but the hard part is now over – no more command lines, you’ll now be in the familiar Mac OS X GUI to finish the password reset process. In this step we just create a new user account as if you just got a new Mac

  • Upon reboot, you will be presented with the traditional “Welcome Wizard” startup screen just like when you first get a Mac
  • Follow the welcome wizard and create a new user account – making the account name different from the account whose password you want to recover
  • Continue on and boot into Mac OS X with this newly created user account, this new user account is an Administrator and has administrative access
Stage 3) Reset the Forgot Password via System Preferences

You are almost done, now you just need to reset the forgotten user account password using the Accounts control panel:

  • Once you are booted into Mac OS X, click on the Apple logo and then navigate down to “System Preferences”
  • Click on the “Accounts” icon in System Preferences
  • Click on the Lock icon in the lower left corner of the “Accounts” preference window and enter the newly created user credentials, this enables you to change other user accounts and reset other users passwords
  • On the left side user panel, select the user account containing the forgotten password
  • With the user of the forgotten password account selected, click on the “Reset Password” button
  • Enter a new password for that user, be sure to include a meaningful hint so you don’t forget it again!
  • Close System Preferences and reboot the Mac
  • You can now login to the previously inaccessible user account using the newly reset password! All user files and settings are maintained as before the password was forgotten

Optional: If you’d like, you can delete the temporary account you created to reset the users password. This is wise for security purposes.

Here’s how this works: by deleting the .applesetupdone file, you are telling Mac OS X to re-run the setup wizard, which by default creates a new user account with Administrative abilities, which can then reset the forgotten password of any other user on the Mac. This is a great trick and excellent troubleshooting technique if you don’t have a Mac OS X installer CD/DVD laying around, which is pretty much the norm as many people tend to lose or misplace the installer disks that come with their computers. I have used this exact method multiple times to restore various Macs with forgotten/lost passwords.

4] Change the password from another account.

Do you share the Mac with another person, and do they have their own account? Or do you have a different account that you do know the password to?

If they (or you) know the password to another account for the Mac you can use this account to reset your password. Follow these steps to reset your OS X password from another account:

  1. Click Apple Log Out.
  2. Select the account you do know the password to.
  3. Enter the password for that account.
  4. Open System Preferences > Users & Groups.
  5. Click the Lock icon in the bottom left of the window.
  6. Enter the password again.
  7. Select the account you have forgotten the password for in the sidebar.
  8. Click Reset Password.
  9. Enter the new Password, Verify fields and Password hint field.
  10. Click Change Password.

You have now changed the password for that account. You can now log in to that account using the password. This doesn’t change the password for the Keychain and you will be asked when you log in to the account if you want to update the keychain password. To do this you’ll need the old password (which you have forgotten) so you’ll have to click Create New keychain.


These are some hack related to Macintosh.

Like this article? We’d appreciate it if you could pass it along to your friends and Mac support folk and give us a shoutout on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *