Forgot your Mac’s password? Here’s how to get back into your locked-down computer

Dusting off and powering up an old MacBook only to realize you can’t remember the password is a frustrating experience. Each failed login attempt can cause confusion and even panic. Don’t worry, though. Apple knows that a forgotten password situation is a personal hell that many of us run into, which is why the MacOS software includes built-in features for this exact situation. 

There are a few different tools you can use, and the road you take to unlock your Mac without a password could depend on whether or not you linked your Apple ID to your user account on your Mac during setup. If you didn’t, that’s OK, there’s still another option to reset your account password. Here’s how to get started regaining control over your Mac computer.

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Getting locked out of your Mac is annoying. But don’t get too frustrated. 


Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Use your Apple ID to reset your password

Ideally, you’ll have linked your Apple ID to your user account on your Mac during the initial setup, which will make it possible to reset your user password with just a few clicks. 

After entering the wrong user password three times, you’ll be asked if you want to reset the password using your Apple ID, if it’s linked to your account. If you don’t see the message after your third attempt, your account isn’t linked to your Apple ID and you’ll need to use the method outlined below. 

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Using your Apple ID to reset your Mac password is an easy process. 


Jason Cipriani/CNET

Here’s what to do:

Enter your Apple ID email address and password, and follow the rest of the prompts to create a new password. When you change the password, you’ll see a prompt letting you know a new login keychain — what MacOS uses to