In macOS Catalina, I want to specifically set a different (and longer) password for unlocking FileVault (e.g. when I first turn my MacBook Pro on) vs. a shorter password to use in more casual contexts like unlocking after sleep or when prompted for the admin user password.

Is this possible?

Usually, people have wanted the opposite. But in Catalina I've tried changing it to be different in both System Preferences > Users & Groups > Change Password... and System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Change Password... and it makes them both sync up in either case.

I remember in older versions of macOS I would have to enter a different password for FileVault vs. your user password (if they were different). I'm wanting this distinction back.

My user account is the default and only administrator in the system.

Is there a Terminal command to specify user password as distinct from FileVault password?

1 Answer 1


No. However, you can set up a second admin account.

Any admin user/password can be used to authenticate graphically so you could do something insecure like make an account user and password with me/me.

Unlocking preferences with a short user name

Shift tab, change your name to me, then tab and enter me again for the password and press enter.

What I’m doing is using fingerprint or devices like yubikey or my Apple Watch to unlock but what I have nearby as opposed to what I type.

  • Very nifty ideas, and for unlocking screen, the YubiKey might be a great alternative if you don't have a Touch ID button! Thanks. Will leave this open as unsolved in case someone comes up with an awesome Terminal solution to actually force a unique password for both things in the Q.
    – user163629
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 4:03

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