Forgot Mac Password: Reset in Recovery Mode!

The Apple Mac, iMac and the mobile MacBook with Mac OS X and macOS are password-protected by the user when the operating system is set up. If you have forgotten your Mac password because you have not used the computer for a long time or have only switched it to stand-by when not in use, then you do not have to despair. If you have forgotten the macOS password, you can reset it. The following step-by-step instructions will help you - without Apple support or an appointment in the store;)

Forgot your Mac password and can't access your account? Here are the instructions for resetting the access for the user account under macOS / Mac OS X. Apple password reset

Forgot your Mac password and can't access your account? Here are the instructions for resetting the access for the user account under macOS / Mac OS X.

Forgot Apple Mac password: reset is possible!

If you have forgotten the password for your user account on the Apple Mac, then simply work through the following step-by-step instructions. At the end you can easily set up a new password and thus restore access to your account. So you don't have to despair, reinstall macOS or use Apple support.

  • Step 1: Boot the recovery system
  • Step 2: reset your password
  • Step 3: protect against unauthorized access?

Step 1: Boot the recovery system

If you cannot access your user account on the Mac because you have forgotten your password, then switch off the computer again. Then start it again and hold the key combination cmd+R (About the command key) pressed. When the boot logo (apple) appears, you can release the buttons again. Now macOS starts in recovery mode, which could take a few minutes.

If the recovery system does not start, it may have been removed or damaged. In this case presses at startup cmd + alt + R (Information on the Alt or Option key) so that the system can be downloaded from the Internet and installed (Internet connection required). If everything works out now, continue with the next step.

Step 2: reset your password

If everything went well, you are now in recovery mode from the Apple Mac, iMac or MacBook. There you choose the item on the menu bar Utilities and in its menu that Port. In the terminal window you now enter resetpassword (ie “reset password” for “reset password”, only without spaces). Confirmed with the Enter key.

Once the command has been executed, the program opens Reset passwords. Now select your user account for which you forgot the password. To reset it, insert a new password in the appropriate fields and set a note that will remind you if it is lost again. Confirmed with Continue and restart the computer.

Step 3: protect against unauthorized access?

As you can see: Resetting the password on the Mac or changing it without access to the corresponding account is not that difficult. However, that also means that basically everyone - thieves; Colleagues; Roommates; Parents or partners who want to force you to clean up; etc. - can perform these steps. Therefore, you should rather remember your access data and deactivate the possibility of a simple reset.

One way to do this is to protect the recovery mode with its own password. You set this so-called firmware password in the recovery system by going to the menu Utilities in the Firmware password utility goes. There you click on Activate and set a password. But be careful: If you forget this again, then you need one Appointment in the Apple Store, where you can submit the Mac with proof of purchase to be reset.

Assign a new password - the short version

And here again the whole manual in a short version, step by step:

  • Start macOS recovery mode: Switch on your Mac and cmd+R Press until the apple logo appears
  • Select the terminal in the utilities and there resetpassword enter and confirm
  • In the window that opens, select the user account, assign a new password and the appropriate note and confirm
  • Restart the Mac
  • Use new password for access
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  1. Victor Bertoni says:

    Hello apple specialists,

    my MacBook pro just shakes my head. Even with more than three unsuccessful attempts, no ID window appears. Turn off and on again, account window. All cmd-r commands have no effect. Only one thing works, cmd-s for booting, unfortunately only the reboot command. Then the shaking account window again.
    Does anyone have an idea how to get such an old noble piece back.
    Year of construction 2009 with OS x.


    • sir appleot says:

      If CMD + R does not work, then the Mac probably does not yet have a recovery partition on the disk. In this case I would proceed as follows: Make a bootable USB stick with a macOS system on another Mac that is still running on the 2009 MacBook Pro (El Capitan for example) is safe. This goes for example with "Install Disk Creator" or with of these instructionsG. Then insert the stick, switch it on and hold down the "option" or ALT key. Then you can choose the boot volume. In that case you choose the stick and can then format the internal hard drive and create a new system on it.

  2. Ramona says:

    Hello Sir Apfelot,

    I did it exactly as you described, start with cmd + r, terminal resetpassword ... but after the restart the new password does not work and there is still the hint of the old password. It looks like it won't adopt the new password. Can you help me?

    Best regards

    • sir appleot says:

      Phew, unfortunately I'm overwhelmed, what could be the reason. But obviously he's not taking the new PW.

  3. Elbow says:

    unfortunately that doesn't work anymore from High Sierra. then comes the email address of the apple ID, so if you don't have access to it, that's the end of the field.

  4. Judith says:

    Hi, my problem is that I can't enter my password because a button doesn't work. It's the "e". So I can't type the word reset either. What else can I do?

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      I always do it by copying such letters from somewhere. From a Word with text or from a web page. Is a bit with cannons on sparrows, but works. 😊

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