My girlfriend forgot the password for her MacBook (don't ask), so I reset it using the Utilities.

But as you may be aware, this doesn't reset the Keychain password. Her MacBook is now virtually unusable due to Keychain demands continuously provoking a request for the Keychain password.

There are lots of other people asking this around the web and they're usually pointed towards this Apple support page, which doesn't apply in our situation because the support advice involves entering the old password.

We don't know the old password.

Is it possible to reset Keychain without knowing the old password? We're not bothered about what's in there and what will be lost, we just want the continuous password prompts to go away.

  • 2
    The link you gave does have relevant info, it specially states if you don't know the old password, create a new keychain. You can not in fact "reset" the password on the old keychain because it is encrypted using the password as part of the key.
    – Tyson
    May 1, 2016 at 20:17

1 Answer 1


An administrator can change your login password without knowing the old password. The is no way for anyone to change a keychain password without knowing the old password.

Normally your login password is the same as the keychain password. For you to change your login password, you need to enter the old password and new password. After the software changes your login password, an attempt is made to change the keychain password. This only succeeds if the old password you entered is the current keychain password. If not, then the current keychain password remain unchanged.

When an administrator overrides you old login password with a new password, the old password is never entered into the software. Without the old login password, the software can not change the keychain password. If you do not know the old password (i.e. the current keychain password), then you have to "Create a new login keychain". Doing so erases all the passwords stored in the keychain.

This throwing away the keychain with all the data “resets” the slate and you won’t have prompts with the new keychain that you can’t unlock since you now know the correct password to unlock.

  • I have what appears to be a similar issue but the Apple linked info does not work. "Reset My Default Keychain" results in "The specified keychain could not be found." Jul 27, 2016 at 12:16

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