If you have been locked out of an old admin account, or if you have recently received a used Mac with other information left behind, knowing how to access the device without passwords is extremely helpful.
How to Change The Administrator On A Mac Without The Password
An administrator account on a Mac cannot be accessed without a password. A new admin account may be created without a password, which can be used in place of the old admin account. If the old account needs to be accessed, the password can be reset and certain files can be found on iCloud.
While the admin account can’t be accessed without a password, you still have a wealth of options available to you to access your device again.
Review the steps below to find which option best suits your circumstances.
How to Add a Separate Admin Account
To add a new administrator account, do the following:
- Restart your Mac
- As it’s booting up, press the “Command” and “S”
- In the Terminal, type: /sbin/mount -uw /
- Press Enter and type: rm var/db/.applesetupdone
- Press Enter and type: reboot
- Press Enter to complete the boot up
After you have completed the steps above, you will be prompted through several screens where you can set preferences.
Click through these screens, filling in any necessary information. It will ask for an Apple ID.
You don’t have to connect your Apple ID to your new administrator account, but if you do, you’ll be able to access your files more easily, as they will be saved on iCloud.
When setting up your account, choose a password you will remember or write it down so you won’t forget it.
Once you’ve created the new account, you can set it as the default account that pops up when you open the computer.
Then you can use this account rather than the old one without doing anything to the old account.
If you have no use for the other account, you can delete it or manage it in System Preferences.
How to Remove an Administrator from Mac
- Open the Apple menu.
- Click “System Preferences”, then “Users & Groups”.
- Click on the lock icon and enter the administrator password for the account you are logged into (the one you just created), then click “unlock”.
- Choose the administrator user you would like to delete, then click the “-” symbol.
- Click on what you would like to do with the user: “Save the home folder in a disk image” to remove and save, or click “Delete the home folder” to delete completely.
- Click the “Delete User” button.
- If you saved the deleted user, you could find it again in the Mac OS_ location in the “users” folder.
If you don’t want to lose the information on the old account, you may “save the home folder as a disk image” instead of deleting it when prompted to choose.
This will remove the account, but save the information that is stored on it.
If you want to temporarily hide the folder, click “Don’t change the home folder.” All of the information and users connected to the admin account will remain intact and can be recovered at any time.
If you delete the admin account, everything on it will be lost.
If the account was connected to an Apple ID and was set up to save files to iCloud, you may be able to access the information from it through another Apple device using your Apple ID.
Check out the video below for step-by-step instructions.
How to Reset Password on Mac
If you have forgotten your password and want to access your account.
You can recover or reset your password and access the admin account again.
If you remember your Apple ID credentials, you may reset your password using your Apple ID.
- Try your password several times
- After the drop down menu appears, select “reset password using Apple ID”
- Login with your Apple ID
- Reset your password
- Click “Restart”
- Log in with new credentials
If you didn’t set up your account with an Apple ID, you will need to reset the password on the recovery screen.
- Restart your Mac
- Press and hold “Command” and “R” to open recovery mode
- Click on “Utilities”
- Click on “Terminal” in the drop down menu
- In the terminal, type: resetpassword
- Press “Enter”
- Enter your new password and hint
Be sure to write down the new password and keep it somewhere safe, so you can always remember it.
If you have a second admin account or if you just created one in the steps above, you may use it to change the password for the old account.
- Login to the account you created by following the steps above
- Go to System Preferences
- Click “Users & Groups”
- Click on the lock icon on the bottom left
- Enter the credentials for the account you’re currently signed into
- Select the old admin account
- Click “Reset Password”
- Choose an easy-to-remember password
Once the password is reset, you may log in to the old account as normal with the password you just set. If you are still having trouble resetting a password, contact Apple Support.
How to Factory Reset a Mac
If you just received a Mac, and you want to add an admin account and remove the old account and its information, you can do that through a factory reset.
The easiest way to do this is to access a new admin account.
Once you have created and logged into your new admin account, follow the following steps:
- Click on the Apple Icon in the top right corner
- Click “Open System Preferences”
- Select “Erase all contents and Settings”
- Enter your password for the account you are on
- Click “OK”
- Click “Erase all Contents and Settings”
After you’ve chosen to erase everything, your Mac may take time to restart and reconfigure.
Ensure that your Mac remains plugged in and undisturbed while it is restarting.
Once it has booted up, you will be ushered through the same process of creating an admin account.
If you are having trouble with any of the above steps, ensure that you have followed the steps carefully.
If you are still experiencing issues, contact Apple Support.