I just installed macOS Mojave and put in my usual short desktop-only password I've been using for years (yes, you read that right). Now though, the operating system rejects setting a password less than 4 characters. It also does not allow having no password at all.

I am completely comfortable using the shell if need be.

How can I change the password policy to allow quite short passwords?

  • 1
    What about setting up with longer password and then changing to a short password with passwd command? – JBis Sep 25 '18 at 3:12
  • @JBis passwd outputs passwd: authentication token failure each time I attempt to change it to less than 4 characters. It works if I use 4 characters. – Eric Majerus Sep 26 '18 at 22:39
  • Great. Use 4 characters I will add answer and edit if I find better solution. – JBis Sep 26 '18 at 23:18
  • 1
    Found the answer please hold on the line while I transfer you.... – JBis Sep 26 '18 at 23:25

Optionally, learn a bit of the regular expression language - regex (this may take a while) and you can use the one crafted below for a 4 character length password. Here’s how to retrieve the configuration, edit that file, and then load it into the system:

  1. pwpolicy getaccountpolicies > ~/Desktop/file.plist
  2. nano ~/Desktop/file.plist
  3. Delete the first line, which says Getting global account policies to make the file valid XML.
  4. Change the quoted part to your Regex.

    policyAttributePassword matches '^$|.{4,}+'
  5. pwpolicy setaccountpolicies ~/Desktop/file.plist

  6. passwd


  • ^$|.{1,}+ : Any password. (Not the best Regex, but I didn't want to mess around with it too much.)

Confirmed this works with macOS Mojave (10.14).

Source: Modify pwpolicy in Sierra

  • This no longer works in Mojave 10.14.4 (the setaccountpolicies gives an error about wrong format.) See answer from @david-p below for a working solution. – Motsel Mar 27 at 11:37
  • 3
    @Motsel Step 3. – JBis Mar 27 at 11:41
  • 🤦🏼‍♂️😴👍🏼🎉 – Motsel Mar 27 at 16:25

You can also use the much more straightforward command:

pwpolicy -clearaccountpolicies

to remove the 4-character requirement for all users. The man page gives other useful examples if you want to change the policy on a per-user basis.

  • Worked for me, thanks! MacOS Mojave (10.14.2) – Tim N. Jan 7 at 2:23
  • David P. thank you very much! this Mojave requirement was driving me crazy! This totally works! you can even set a password blank Cheers! – Mike Van Rose Jan 25 at 22:16
  • Thank you so much! :D, I should keep that line in mind. now I can use my one letter password xD – user318860 Jan 26 at 22:20
  • Works perfectly. – wonsuc Aug 11 at 21:45

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