Everyone has that moment: the one where you’ve forgotten your Wi-Fi password.
It can happen to anyone, at any time, and when the issue arises it’s always at the worst possible time. If you’re needing your Wi-Fi password, chances are you’re connecting a new device, or having to reconnect to your home network. This stressful time is never a fun moment, but especially so when you can’t access the information needed immediately.
It’s not as easy as simply looking underneath the router anymore, as most home network devices require you to change the password upon installation. This a good thing, of course, but it also can lead to the simple process of adding a device or reconnecting to the network becoming a chore.
But there is a silver lining here: you have a Mac.
This means your computer can show you that information for you. It will take a few steps to get there, and there is a prerequisite in identifying the lost password, but it’s not difficult. Apple made this a priority, and in doing so created a quick-fix for this ever-so-common problem. If you need to know how to find your Wi-Fi password on a Mac, read on.
Finding Your Wi-Fi Password Isn’t as Hard as It Seems
Thankfully, if you’re stuck on how to find a Wi-Fi password on Mac, it’s not as problematic as it sounds.
Plenty of devices, but specifically your Mac, can store passwords to different items. From your Google Chrome or Safari website passwords to that specific network you’re trying to access, your Apple hardware has you covered. There are a few steps involved, and one program that must be enabled to obtain the information you’re looking for, but rest assured the job can be completed.
Understanding What Program Stores Your Passwords, and How to Use It
If you’re unfamiliar with iCloud Keychain, it’s time to become friends. The program is an Apple software that is aimed at accessibility. Specifically, it can handle storing all your passwords, credit card, or social login information across multiple devices. The only catch is that your Apple computer will have to be running OS X Mavericks 10.9 or later.
Step 1: Locate the Apple Menu
This is a straightforward process, but you’ll have to know how to access the Apple menu to change Keychain’s ability to run. This simple button is necessary when finding your Wi-Fi password on Mac.
Thankfully, the Apple menu is accessible in the top left corner of your computer, once powered on. The neat thing about the menu, too, is that it’s available at any time, should you need it.
Step 2: Click on the System Preferences Menu
This menu-within-menu is your friend, especially when needing to change the software settings on your Mac. Here you’ll find plenty of different items to mess around with, from Bluetooth settings or your keyboard and mouse shortcuts.
What we’re concerned with, however, is the iCloud settings. Once you’re in the System Preferences panel, the third row will have the icon you’re searching for: iCloud.
Step 3: Open iCloud Settings and Enable Keychain
You’ve made it this far, and in doing so are one click away from making sure you’re pesky Wi-Fi password is always available to you.
Once you click on the iCloud icon, your computer will probably prompt you to enter your iCloud password. After doing this, and inside the iCloud menu, you’ll see various software like Reminders, Calendars, and Safari. While those are great, you’ll need to scroll down until you find the Keychain tab. If you don’t see a blue check mark in the box–like most of the others on the screen–then you’ll want to click in the box to enable Keychain.
What About the Security Issues of iCloud Keychain?
It makes sense to be a little concerned with the information that is stored within your iCloud account, but especially important data, such as your Wi-Fi password.
If you’re nervous about all your information being accessible bits of data around in the air, you don’t’ have to be. Apple uses end-to-end encryption, a model of security that provides a high-level of security in their system. The simple version of this process is that your computer has a passcode, or any device for that matter, while your data also has a specific keycode. Both work together to provide a layer of security that protects your information, whether it’s in transit or storage.
Now That Keychain is Enabled, It’s Time to Find Your Password
Apple doesn’t make it a point-and-click operation when searching for a Wi-Fi password, but that’s probably for the better. After all, if it was easy to find your Wi-Fi password then all your connected devices and their data could be compromised.
The good news is that with Keychain, there is a simple utility that brings up all your secured information, all in one spot. The name is fitting: Keychain Access. This program can be found in two different ways, and whichever is easier for you should make things more laid-back in the long run. To do this, you can click on the Spotlight Search icon on the top left of the desktop, which is found right next to the Apple Menu.
Once the search bar has appeared, all you need to do is type in “keychain access” and the program will auto populate. From here, how to find your Wi-Fi password on Mac is just a few clicks away. First, click on the passwords category on the lower left-hand side of the window. After the passwords tab is open, go back to the search bar in the top right and type in your Wi-Fi network’s name. You should find the network you’re looking for once here, and then you’ll need to double-click on the line of data on the screen.
From here, you’ll find two tabs, labeled “Attributes” and “Access Control.” On the first page, “Attributes,” there is the title you’ve been looking for this whole time: Show password. All that’s left to do is check the square next to that box, and your password will appear. Most Mac’s will double check that you have administrator privileges to access that information, so simply type in your normal username and password and you’ll be good to go.
The second method you can do uses most of the same parts, minus the Spotlight Search function. What you’ll have to do is open your Applications area and then click on the second page of them. In this area, you’ll find the Utilities folder, which is home to the Keychain Access program. You’ll then click on the application, and instead of clicking on passwords in the category area you’ll sort by the Kind tab in the middle of the window. This will bring up all the Wi-Fi network passwords stored on your Mac, so knowing this method can help if you’ve forgotten the credentials to more than one network.
Moving forward, you won’t have to learn how to find your Wi-Fi password on Mac again, and this same method can be used to locate other passwords that have been saved through Keychain Access. Simply click on category you need when logged into the program, and you’ll be up and running again in no time.
There are Other Programs That Store Your Passwords
If, after reading the steps and trying to walk through them yourself, you find it’s too confusing to locate your passwords, there are still options to utilize. Plenty of programs can be purchased or downloaded–though, you’d probably not want a program advertised as “free”–that can simplify this procedure down to one password.
The Mac App Store is home to products that will keep track of your passwords, across different uses, and keep them secured under one software-specific password. Simply search the App Store to learn about the differences between them, and what product could best suit your needs.
Learning How to Find Your Wi-Fi Password on Mac Should Be Relaxing
No one wants to spend unnecessary time searching for that old password on their computer. This is certainly the case when talking about the key to accessing the internet via another device, or your Mac itself. The process can be frustrating and take chunks of time out of your day in doing so.
Thankfully, Apple has tried to alleviate any future setbacks with the inclusion of iCloud Keychain and Keychain Access. These applications work together to securely save any sensitive data you’ve used on your device, providing quick access to it when you need it most. Within a few clicks you’ll have all the data at your fingertips, and back to working on the necessary task at hand.
It’s a common problem, no doubt, but also has a humble solution. The inclusion of the Keychain programs is one example of how Apple understands the delicate balancing act of providing something a customer would want, and need, at the same time.