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How to Reset the Password in Apple Macbook Pro

Updated on December 26, 2013

So, the typical scenario is that you bought or acquired an Apple Macbook or Macbook Pro and when you want to download or make a software change. At some point in the attempt, you will get a popup window asking for a password. If you cannot recall it or the former owner cannot recall it, your attempt ends. If you try to change the PW, you cannot do that either because you must also know the old password. I find this nonsensical because even if you cannot recall it, the computer has it. If you are changing it anyway, why do you have to know the old one, just create a new one.

But, in the Macbook, that is not the case. If the old OS was removed and reinstalled, you will still need to create one. Apple actually has several- the Admin password, the keychain (which I don't understand) and the an iTunes PW. So, If you bought something on iTunes, you need a PW that usually is different than the computer Admin PW. That is a lot to remember.

The Admin PW allows you to download or install software. If you happen do not recall it or never knew it and the former owner can't either, you can reset the Admin PW. The following is for Lion OS 6.7+.

To reset, do the following:

  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Turn on the computer.
  3. As the computer reboots, press Command + R keys simultaneously
  4. The Utilities screen appears
  5. Find Utilities > Terminal (if this was a PC, it would like the command screen where you can enter commands)
  6. With the Terminal window displaying, type: resetpassword
  7. Press Enter.
  8. A Reset Password Utility displays.
  9. Select the hard drive and then choose the user account (admin)
  10. A pop up will ask for a new PW
  11. Reboot

You can now install or download software or whatever. The nice thing about this is you no longer have to recall the old password (which nobody knew or could recall!).

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