Can't get past my FileVault encryption on my Mac as I've forgotten my password. I know my admin username and password, but not my password for my FileVault on my regular user profile. I need to unlock my FileVault to even be able to switch users and login to my admin account. Also, I tried my recovery key and it doesn't seem to unlock it. Any ideas?

  • This is a bit confusing... You know your username, you know your password, you know your recovery key, and yet you can’t unlock your disk? If you set up your Apple ID when you turned FileVault on, maybe Apple can recover it for you?
    – user186048
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 2:01

2 Answers 2


Your description is a bit confused, so I'm not sure exactly what's going on. The current version of FileVault (technically FileVault 2) encrypts the entire disk, not individual accounts. It's normally set up so that any of the users' passwords can be used to unlock the volume at startup time. If you've just lost your user password on a FileVault-protected volume, but remember the password for an admin account on the same volume, just start the computer, log in to the admin account, then use the Users & Groups pane of System Preferences to reset the other user's password.

Note that after you do this, the user account's keychain (an encrypted password database stored within the account) will still be encrypted by the account's old password. When you log in to the user account after resetting its password, you'll get an error stating that the system was unable to unlock your keychain. If you don't know the old password, there's no way to regain access to the old keychain, so the only real choice is to select "Create New Keychain", which discards the old database and starts over with a new (blank) password database.

If that's not what the problem is, then please clarify what's going on.


There are really only two scenarios:

  1. You’ve lost control of all passwords that can unlock the FileVault volume.
  2. You know one password to unlock FileVault - reset the others: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202860

If you know one, just restart if you don’t see the fast user switching and log back in. Once you have control of the Mac - you can make a new account (just to be safe) and enable that for FileVault and then use that admin account to reset any other passwords needed to be reset. If you’ve lost control of all the passwords you can erase the Mac and start over or wait however long you think it will take to remember or find the password written down somewhere.

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