How to Reset Your Mac Password

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Reset Mac Password After Upgrading to El Capitan

After upgrading to El Capitan last week I had a weird incident where my Mac stopped accepting my admin password. I’m not certain it was cause and effect, but it seemed correlated. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to update any of my apps and once I restarted my computer I was locked out entirely. Eek!

Fortunately, I was able to cobble together the next steps from a few different searches on my mobile and I’m presenting them here. Next time you need to reset your Mac admin password (and you don’t remember or the computer is not accepting your current password), take these steps:

Restart your computer in recover mode. Hold down Command + R while you power on your Mac. You can release the keys once you see the Apple logo.

reset Mac admin passwordGo to Utilities > Terminal. When your Mac starts up in recovery mode the center of your screen will be dominated with options to restore your Mac or run disk utility. Ignore these options. Instead, go up to the small menu bar at the top and click Utilities. Select Terminal from the drop down.

Type “resetpassword” into the Terminal. Hit enter. Follow prompts on screen to set a new password. reset Mac admin password

Start a new keychain. You can only retain your old keychain information if you remember you previous password. Since you likely aren’t taking this route if that’s the case, when prompted choose to start a new keychain. You won’t have any autosaved passwords anymore, but it’s better than being entirely locked out of your Mac!

Hope that helps you out of the dark!

Like this post? See other posts to make your Mac run better:


About the Author
Kylie Larson is a content wrangler, helping both small businesses and large organizations get their message up and out. When she's not writing and organizing online, you'll find her walking the dog, with a camera in hand, riding the Chicago blue line, and in the midst of a home renovation project that never ends. Connect with her at

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