Safari tip: Change password field from dots to letters

There are many times while using Safari when I have come back to a Web site after a long time, thankful to find that my password was saved. My thanks is usually due to the fact that I couldn't remember the password. With a recent tip from a Mac OS X Hints user, you can reveal the letters behind those password field dots using developer tools in Safari.

There are many times using while Safari (5.0.4) when I have come back to a Web site after a long time, thankful to find that my password was saved. My thanks is usually due to the fact that I couldn't remember the password. With a recent tip from a Mac OS X Hints user, you can reveal the letters behind those password field dots using developer tools in Safari.

Screenshot by Joe Aimonetti/CNET

The hint is actually a pretty simple little trick, taking advantage of Safari's ability to change elements in a Web site via developer tools that can be enabled by users. To enable these tools, navigate to Safari's menu bar > Safari > Preferences (or Command + ,). Click the Advanced tab and check the box for "Show Develop menu in menu bar."

Screenshot by Joe Aimonetti/CNET

Once you've enabled the Develop menu, you can do the following hint to show what's behind those password field dots:

  1. Right-click on the password field you wish to reveal.
  2. Choose "Inspect Element" from the contextual menu.
  3. When the Elements window pops up, a line will be highlighted. This is the coding for the site you are currently surfing and the highlighted portion is the element you right-clicked on (which is also highlighted in Safari). The line will have code similar to [input type="password" ...]
  4. Double-click on the word "password" and enter "text" in its place.
  5. Press Enter and the dots in the password field you've highlighted will change to the letters that were entered.

Screenshot by Joe Aimonetti/CNET

This of course does not permanently change the code of the site, but only offers a preview of what the site would look like with the proposed changes.

The tip is a great way to figure out your password quickly (or that of say, a client, who has their passwords saved but does not remember what they are). Keep in mind that saving your passwords in Safari (or any other browser) can be a security risk. Use caution when sharing your computer or leaving it in a public space, and always log out of Web sites and machines when using a public computer.

Got any password hints for the Mac? Let me know in the comments!

About the author

    Joe is a seasoned Mac veteran with years of experience on the platform. He reports on Macs, iPods, iPhones and anything else Apple sells. He even has worked in Apple retail stores. He's also a creative professional who knows how to use a Mac to get the job done.

     

    ARTICLE DISCUSSION

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Don't Miss
    Hot Products
    Trending on CNET

    Hot on CNET

    CNET's giving away a 3D printer

    Enter for a chance to win* the Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer and all the supplies you need to get started.