How to change a MacBook password

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

If you're thinking that trying to figure out how to change a MacBook password is going to be a time consuming process, rest assured, it couldn't be easier! When you set up your Mac or MacBook for the first time, you would have created a password that alongside your username is how you access your your laptop or desktop computer. 

But, while purchasing one of the best MacBooks and Macs and setting up a password may be something you thought you only had to do once, it's super important that you change your online and computer passwords regularly to protect your files and data. After all, the last thing you want is prying eyes snooping about in your private information. 

Regularly changing your password is one of the best Mac tips we can offer you. When you don't do this, 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. And the last thing we want is to be making their life simpler! 

Now, when it comes to how to change a MacBook password, the frequency of this is going to depend on whether you own your MacBook or whether your company owns it. If it's the latter, you'll want to follow the company procedure on when and how to do this, but if it's the former, then we recommend changing your password every six months. 

It can be a great idea to stick to a specific schedule so that you remember. So, for example, you might choose January 1 and July 1 every year and set a reminder in your calendar. Or, why not change your password when the clocks change? Daylight savings time ending and beginning can be another great twice-yearly reminder to change your password. 

And really, there's no reason not to change your password twice a year because we promise you, the process could not be more straightforward. In fact, 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. Here's how to do it...

closing app on Mac example

(Image credit: Future)

1. Shut down all apps

Before you change a 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. And there you have it, job done. You now know how to change a MacBook password. We told you it was easy!

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 15-year-old daughter and a puppy, Isabelle. Thanks for reading!