I've forgotten my macbook air 2020 password and it won't let me reset it or login through apple id. I've tried to put it into recovery mode but that doesn't work either. i've contacted apple but that didn't help please help" -- Reddit

Don't you hate it when you lose a password for your Mac? At best, you're dealing with the nuisance of losing your time and patience. However, it could be worse than that - if you fail to remember your Mac password after several attempts, you'll have to find a way to go around it.

Shake those worries away. Below is a detailed guide for Mac password reset in four different scenarios. Our Mac experts have also included a quick primer on how to keep your Mac passwords safe in the future, plus bonus tips for protecting your precious Mac data.

Table of Content
    1. Reset Your Mac Password Using Apple ID
    2. Unlock Your Mac With a Different Admin Account
    3. Use Mac Recovery Mode
    4. Use Your FileVault Recovery Key
    1. Use Hints
    2. Use FileVault
    3. Use a Password Manager
    1. Create Strong Passwords
    2. Back up Data Regularly
    3. Use a Data Recovery Tool

How To Reset/Change Your Mac Password When You've Forgotten It

We know you're in a rush to log into your Mac account, so let's go down to business. Here are the proven methods for resetting and changing a forgotten Mac password.

Method 1: Reset Your Mac Password Using Apple ID

Before we move forward, you should know that this method will work only if you've connected your Apple ID to your Mac user account. Otherwise, it's the easiest way to reset your Mac password. Ensure you're at the login window and follow the steps below:

  1. Enter the wrong password three times for reset options to appear.
  2. When you see If you forgot your password, you can… window, click on Reset it using your Apple ID.
    access forgot mac login password options
  3. Now, type in your Apple ID and password.
  4. Choose the user account for which you want to reset the password.
    select a user to reset mac password for
  5. Type in the new password and verify it. You can also enter a Password hint. Click Next.
    reset mac password with apple id
  6. When you see the Reset Password Completed windows, click on Restart.
    restart to use your new password on mac

Method 2: Unlock Your Mac With a Different Admin Account

If you don't have an Apple ID or haven't Image nameed it to your Mac user account, you can get in using a different admin account - presuming you have access to one. It's a convenient option for family computers where you can quickly get another admin to give you their password.

  1. You can enter your Mac with a different admin account from the login window.
  2. Go to System Preferences and locate Users & Groups to change your password.
    access users and groups in system preferences
  3. Choose the Mac account for which you need to change the password and click Reset Password.
    reset mac password from another admin account
  4. Type in a new password and verify it. Click on Change Password.
    change password from a different admin account
  5. Now, switch users and enter your account with a new password.

Method 3: Use Mac Recovery Mode

When nothing else works, Mac users can use Terminal in Recovery Mode as an emergency option for changing a forgotten Mac password. Don't get nervous if you've never executed commands in the Terminal before. Follow these instructions, and you won't make a mistake:

  1. First, shut down your Mac to access the Terminal in the Recovery Mode.
  2. After pressing the Power button, simultaneously hold the Command and R keys.
    use command r to enter recovery mode
  3. Select Utilities at the top of the screen and choose Terminal from the drop-down menu.
    access the terminal from mac utilities
  4. Once in Terminal, type in resetpassword and hit the Enter key.
    execute resetpassword command in the terminal
  5. Click Return and find your main hard drive. Select your user account.
    create a new mac password in the terminal
  6. Reset your password and click OK.
complete mac password reset in the terminal

Method 4: Use Your FileVault Recovery Key

If you would rather avoid using Terminal, there's one more option that may be able to work for you - FileVault. Mac's local encryption system is a reliable ally, but there's a catch. You won't be able to use the FileVault recovery key if you haven't enabled FileVault in the first place.

For those with a FileVault recovery key, resetting the password is easy:

  1. From your login screen, type in the wrong password three times.
  2. Shortly, you will see If you forgot your password, you can… options.
  3. If your FileVault is enabled, choose Reset it using your recovery key.
    reset it using your recovery key
  4. Type in your FileVault recovery key and create a new password for your Mac.
create a new password for mac

How To Avoid Forgetting Mac Password in the Future

use mac password hints

People lose passwords all the time and for various reasons. According to one study, 24% of users forget at least one password every day. While we can't be sure how often people lose their Mac passwords, we know that Apple is working very hard on passwordless logins.

Until there's a better solution, we're destined to repeat the same old mistake. Those willing to change their bad habits can use these simple tricks to prevent password loss.

Use Hints

Password hints are a useful Mac feature that helps you remember a password if you experience a sudden mental block. You can set up your password hint along with the password for our Mac user account, and you can later access it by typing in the wrong password three times.

Use FileVault

FileVault is an encryption system that provides an additional layer of security around your Mac. It comes with a recovery key that allows you to decrypt your files and folders when you need to access them. As shown above, FileVault can also help you log in if you forget your password.

Use a Password Manager

Password managers like NordPass, RoboForm, and 1Password are the best and most convenient way to have multiple random passwords for different accounts without losing them. You can safely store all your passwords in an app and protect them with a strong master password.

Bonus Tip: How To Keep Your Mac Data Secure

use mac safety practices

Here are some additional tips for protecting important files on your Mac.

Create Strong Passwords

While simple passwords are easier to remember, they are also easier to guess. The world's most common passwords are still 123456, 123456789, qwerty, and password, and hackers love that. A weak password leaves your private files exposed to cyberattacks and malware.

What is a strong password, then? An unbreakable password must have more than ten characters, include upper case letters, and have numbers or symbols. Ideally, a password should be random so hackers and their algorithms can't work it out using your digital footprint.

Back up Data Regularly

Backups are a versatile solution against all types of catastrophic scenarios, ranging from accidental deletion to physical damage. Data is vulnerable to many different threats, so the best way to keep it safe is by making copies in a safe location, like an external drive or cloud storage.

Use a Data Recovery Tool

If you fail to protect your Mac data, don't be too hard on yourself. You can only do so much to avoid accidents and fend off malicious actors. Besides, you can almost always retrieve lost data using a powerful data recovery tool for Mac. Wondershare Recoverit is one of the best ones at that.

Wondershare Recoverit
  • Recovers data from 2000+ storage media, including HDDs, SSDs, USB drives, SD cards, etc.
  • Enables recovery of data lost due to formatting, disk corruption, virus attack, and more.
  • Works with all popular file systems, such as NTFS, FAT, HFS+, and APFS, among others.
recoverit boxrecoverit logo

Anyone can recover data with this software. Here's a quick guide:

  1. Download Wondershare Recoverit for Mac from the official website.
  2. Install it on your computer and select a destination to start recovery.
    select a location to start recovery
  3. Wait for the scan to find recoverable files, or stop it to see the results.
    scan your mac for recoverable files
  4. Click on the file to preview it and ensure it wasn't corrupt or damaged.
    preview recoverable files
  5. Select the files you want to keep and click Recover to retrieve them.
  6. Choose a safe destination to save them to and click the Save button.
recover files with recoverit for mac
Free Download
Free Download


When you can't remember a password on a Mac computer, you have a couple of options. You can go to the login window and reset your password from there, but you need a Image nameed Apple ID or FileVault recovery key for this. If you have neither, you'll have to find another way in.

The easiest alternative is to log into your Mac using another admin account and then change your password. If this option doesn't exist, you can always reset your Mac password from the Terminal in the Recovery Mode. Remember to keep your passwords strong and your data safe.

Eleanor Reed
Eleanor Reed May 14, 24
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