I recently changed my password and promptly forgot it :P What is the best option for resetting it? I can still access the mac via SSH (ssh key auth method), can I do anything with that?

  • 2
    Try this: osxdaily.com/2010/08/10/… - Google is our friend :D Jul 5, 2012 at 13:17
  • My preference is to boot to single user mode and make a new admin account. You'll need access to the mac locally either way unless you happen to have access to a second admin account. Then you can use sudo to overwrite the "lost" password.
    – bmike
    Jul 5, 2012 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


No - the typical ways to reset a password or delete the file that lets the Mac reboot to the setup assistant where it lets you create a new admin user that will have a known password all require you to know a working user/password combination that works for sudo.

You'll want to boot to the Recovery HD or install media or into single user mode to make a new admin user (which can be deleted once you've reset your password) or use the normal OSX procedure to reset your password.


If you are an administrative user (or can login as one on the shell prompt), you should be able to use sudo passwd USER to change the password.

  • 2
    No, that requires the old password. Unless you can run it as root, which he can't. Jul 5, 2012 at 14:20
  • sudo should be enough, of course this still requires him to be logged in as an admin user (or to be able to ssh into an admin account).
    – nohillside
    Jul 5, 2012 at 16:42
  • thanks patrix, that did it on my ML 10.8 machine. i was working remote on a mac and the screen saver kicked in, and all i have is the password box. used to be able to put in admin username/pwd but not anymore, i think it changed in 10.7(?) I was able to ssh and use admin creds to sudo pwd change and then use ARD to unlock screen. thanks again!
    – user49980
    May 24, 2013 at 17:19

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