Quick Guide: How to Reset Mac Password with Terminal Commands

Quick Guide: How to Reset Mac Password with Terminal Commands

Ever found yourself in the sticky situation of forgetting your Mac password? You’re not alone. It happens to the best of us, turning a moment of haste into prolonged frustration. However, fear not, for there is a beacon of hope. Understanding how to reset a Mac password, especially using Terminal commands, can turn this daunting task into a piece of cake. This guide will walk you through the steps to regain access to your Mac, whether you’ve forgotten your password, bought a second-hand Mac without a password, or simply want to change your password for security reasons.

In detail, this article will explore several methods starting with how to restart your Mac and access Recovery Mode, a crucial first step in the password reset process. We’ll delve into the nitty-gritty of using Terminal to reset your password, a powerful tool for those who prefer command-line simplicity. For those looking for alternative solutions, we’ll cover how to reset your password using your Apple ID, as well as how to leverage another admin account on the Mac to reset your password. By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and confidence to tackle a Mac password reset, ensuring you’re never locked out of your device for too long.

Restarting Your Mac and Accessing Recovery Mode

To restart your Mac, begin by shutting it down completely. If it does not shut down normally, press and hold the power button for up to 10 seconds until the device powers off. For laptops with Touch ID, press and hold the Touch ID button instead. Once your Mac is off, turn it on to proceed to the login window.

Access Recovery Mode

For Intel-based Macs, immediately after turning on your Mac, press and hold the Command (⌘)-R keys. Continue holding these keys until you see an Apple logo or spinning globe. If you have an Apple Silicon Mac, press and hold the power button and wait for the startup options to appear on the screen. In both cases, if prompted, choose a network or attach a network cable.

Once in Recovery Mode, you can select from various utilities depending on the issue you’re facing. Options typically include Restore from Time Machine Backup, Reinstall macOS, Get Help Online, or Disk Utility. If required, select your Mac startup disk, usually labeled as Macintosh HD, and if necessary, log in with your Apple ID or enter your FileVault recovery key to proceed.

Using Terminal to Reset Password

To reset your Mac password using Terminal, follow these simple steps:

Open Terminal

Once you’re in Recovery Mode, navigate to the Utilities menu and select Terminal. This action will open the Terminal window, ready for your commands.

Type Command

In the Terminal window, type resetpassword and press Return. This command opens the Reset Password assistant, where you can manage password changes.

Enter New Password

At the Reset Password window, you’ll see an option to enter a new password and provide a hint for future reference. If the window displays multiple user accounts, click the Set Password button next to each account name and enter the new password information accordingly. After entering your new password, click Next to finalize the changes.

Remember, when typing your password in Terminal, no characters will appear on the screen, and the cursor won’t move. This is a security feature to keep your password secure. Even though it seems like nothing is happening, rest assured that your keystrokes are being registered. Once you’ve entered your password, press Return to proceed.

If you encounter any issues or continue to enter the wrong password, you can verify and change your password via System Preferences under Users & Groups. Here, click on the padlock icon, enter your password to see if it unlocks successfully, allowing you to access and modify your account details.

Using Apple ID to Reset Password

To reset your Mac password using your Apple ID, follow these straightforward steps:

Log in Using Apple ID

If you’ve forgotten your password, you can use your Apple ID to initiate a reset. Start by selecting the ‘Forgot password or don’t have an Apple ID?’ option, available during the device setup or within the Apple ID sign-in screen of your Mac. Enter your Apple ID and follow the prompts to receive a verification code on your trusted device. Enter this code to proceed.

Enter New Password

Once authenticated, you’ll be directed to reset your password. Enter a new password, confirm it, and then click ‘Next’ to finalize the process. If you’re managing multiple user accounts, you’ll need to set a new password for each by clicking the ‘Set Password’ button next to each account name. After setting the new passwords, a restart might be necessary to apply the changes effectively.

This method ensures that you can regain access to your Mac quickly and securely, using the trusted recovery options linked to your Apple ID.

Using Another Admin Account to Reset Password

Log in to Another Admin Account

If you have access to another admin account on the same Mac, you can use it to reset your password. First, log out of your current account by selecting “Log Out” from the Apple menu. At the login screen, enter the username and password of the other admin account and click “Log In.”

Reset Password via System Preferences

Once logged in, navigate to “System Preferences” from the Apple menu and click on “Users & Groups.” You’ll need to unlock the settings by clicking the padlock icon at the bottom left of the window and entering the admin account password. Next, select the user account for which you want to reset the password. Click “Reset Password,” fill in the new password fields, verify it, and optionally add a hint. After changing the password, log out of the admin account to return to the login screen, where you can log in with the new password for the other account.


Throughout this guide, we’ve navigated the various avenues available for resetting a Mac password, including using Terminal commands, leveraging your Apple ID, and utilizing another admin account. These procedures not only aim to alleviate the stress associated with being locked out of your Mac but also ensure that you can maintain security and privacy for your device. By understanding these essential steps, users can swiftly regain access to their Macs without compromising on data security or needing professional assistance.

The significance of mastering these password reset techniques extends beyond mere convenience; it embodies self-reliance and the importance of cybersecurity awareness. As technology continues to evolve and security becomes increasingly paramount, equipping oneself with the knowledge to manage and troubleshoot access to personal devices is invaluable. Therefore, whether you’re performing routine security maintenance or troubleshooting access issues, the information shared herein serves as a comprehensive resource for navigating through password resets on your Mac confidently and securely.

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What are the steps to reset a password on a Mac using Terminal?

Q: What are the steps to reset a password on a Mac using Terminal?A: To reset your Mac password using Terminal in Recovery Mode, follow these steps:
Access “Utilities” from the Apple menu.
Open “Terminal.”
Type “resetpassword” (as a single word) and press “Return.”
Choose your main hard drive and select your user account.
Enter a new password and click “Save.”

What should I do if I forget my Mac password?

If you forget your Mac password, you can reset it using your recovery key by following these steps:
After incorrectly entering your password up to three times, select the option to reset using your recovery key.
Enter your FileVault recovery key.
Input your new password details, then click “Reset Password.”

Is there a keyboard shortcut to reset a password on a Mac laptop?

es, the keyboard shortcut to reset a password on a Mac laptop is Control + Option + Fn + Delete (Ctrl + Option + Fn + Delete).

How can I retrieve my Mac password using Terminal?

To find your administrative password on a Mac using Terminal, perform the following:
Open Terminal on your Mac.
Type “sudo -s” and enter your current user password.
Enter “cat /var/log/secure.”
Look for lines that start with “Password:”. The characters following “Password:” represent your admin password.