I need to get administrative privileges from a standard user account. I am using macOS Sierra 10.12.6. I have six accounts on my MacBook for me and my family. One of them is administrative and the rest are standard user accounts.

I gave myself a standard account as well, aside from the admin account. I regularly use the user account. Now I have forgotten the password to the admin account, and we can not gain access to it. Needless to say that is causing some problems here at home, albiet we can still use our separate user accounts but nothing that needs admin privileges. Some insight would be helpful and appreciated.

3 Answers 3


Apple has a guide that covers all the permutations and combinations (iCloud / FileVault / forgetfulness / no password at all)

If you have FileVault turned on, you likely need to reset the password with Recovery boot.

If you don't have FileVault turned on, you can simply make a new admin account and then use that user/password to make any other non-admin accounts back into admin accounts.

The above covers my favorite way - remove .AppleSetupDone and make a new account, but some people prefer to not worry about a new admin user and just do the full reset with ddcl

You can no longer just force the reset from the OS that's running - that's the same as defeating the reason to have a password and Apple has patched all the easy / known ways to do that I believe.


If you have setup the admin account using an Apple ID, you can reset the login password using it. From the macOS user guide article, Reset your Mac login password:

Reset your login password using your Apple ID

If you associated your user account with your Apple ID, you can use your Apple ID to reset your login password.

  1. On your Mac, choose Apple menu > Restart, or press the Power button on your computer and then click Restart.

  2. Click your user account, click the question mark in the password field, then click the arrow next to “reset it using your Apple ID”.

  3. Enter an Apple ID and password, then click Next.

Follow the instructions to reset your login password.

The user guide is for macOS Mojave. I'm not sure if the same works for macOS Sierra, but you can give it a try.


Once again Wrong, FileVault can be on. I believe in this case ( it’s release based) editing sudoers will require a copy and paste. since VIM will obfuscate entries. Prior to opening sudoers in editor, copy the following to your clipboard. [userName ] ALL = (ALL) ALL

In Recovery mode, launch Terminal

Find drive/volume UUID

diskutil cs list

Mount drive

diskutil cs unlockVolume

find sudoers then VIM

vi [driveName]/private/etc/sudoers ‪#SCROLL‬ DOWN Paste user [userName ] ALL = (ALL) ALL ‪#exit‬ vim and force overwrite Esc, :wq!

Boot “standard” account normally Launch terminal sudo dscl . -append /Groups/admin GroupMembership username

Tested on 10.12.5 Sierra Using the Recovery from 10.13.6 Should work. Assuming the standard user wasn’t removed from The fdesetup list. You can also do this from a seconds OS connecting the drive in question externally. Then editing sudoers. Less mess that rm .AppleSetUpDone

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