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How to change a MacBook password

Change your password often

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)
(Image: © Future)

When you set-up your Mac or MacBook for the first time, you’ll be asked to create an account along with a password. This username/password combination is required every time you need to log into your laptop or desktop computer. 

You should change your online and computer passwords regularly to protect your information. When you don’t change passwords, it’s more likely someone can figure it out and use it for nefarious purposes. Hackers, who like breaking into computers remotely to steal personal data, love when passwords aren’t changed, since it makes their job that much easier. 

If your employer owns your MacBook, follow the company procedures on when and how to change your password. However, with personal computers, we recommend changing your MacBook password every six months. Stick to a schedule, so you remember to do so. For example, you can decide to change your passwords every January 1 and July 1. Another idea: where applicable, change your passwords when daylight savings time begins and ends. 

How to change a MacBook password is just as easy as knowing how to take a screenshot on a Mac and how to copy and paste on Mac and MacBook. Let us show you.

closing app on Mac example

(Image credit: Future)

1. Shut down all apps

Before changing your MacBook password, exit any open apps. Doing so will make the process run smoother. Click on the name of the app in the menu bar, which is to the right of the Apple logo at the top left.

Choose ‘Quit [Name of App]’ to close the open app. Repeat for every open app. 

For example, choose Mail > Quit Mail to close the Mail app. 

You can also force an app to quit. If you have a lot of apps open, this might be the best option. Select the Option + Command + Esc keys at the same time. Once in the Force Quit Applications pop-up, hold down the Command key while clicking on the names of the apps you wish to close. Click the ‘Force Quit’ button and confirm. 

Mac Users & Groups

(Image credit: Future)

2. Change your password

Now that you’ve shut down the open apps, it’s time to reset your MacBook password. Go into System Preferences on your computer, then select ‘Users & Groups’. Click on the lock at the bottom of the Users & Groups window. Type your password to unlock. 

Highlight your name on the left side of the Users & Groups window.  Click ‘Change Password’. In the pop-up window, add your old password, followed by the new password you want to use. Verify by typing your new password in the third box. Add a password hint that will help you to remember your new password when necessary. Select ‘Change Password’,  then click on the unlocked lock, which will secure your password change. 

Administrative settings on Mac

(Image credit: Future)

3. Administrative settings

If you’re the only person who uses your MacBook, you’re the administrator for your computer. As an administrator, there are other login-related settings you can use. Go into System Preferences on your computer, then select ‘Users & Groups’. Click on the lock at the bottom of the Users & Groups window. Type your password to unlock. 

Click ‘Login Options’ on the left side of the Users & Groups screen to access the administrative options. On this screen, you’ll find different login-related options. You can stick with the default settings or make changes as you see fit. 

Toggle on ‘Automatic login’ if you want a specific user to login automatically whenever the Mac restarts. This setting is best if you’re the only one who uses your computer. And yet, it’s probably best to keep this off for security reasons. If you use FileVault on your MacBook, this option is already off and can’t be changed. 

For the ‘Display login window as’ option, you can select List of Users (the default) or ‘Name and Password’, depending on your preferences. When checked, ‘Show password hints’ will add the previously mentioned password hint on the login screen. It’s off by default. 

Once finished making changes, click on the unlock button to lock. 

Bryan M Wolfe

Bryan M. Wolfe is a staff writer at TechRadar, iMore, and wherever Future can use him. Though his passion is Apple-based products, he doesn't have a problem using Windows and Android. Bryan's a single father of a 14-year-old daughter and a puppy, Isabelle. Thanks for reading!