How to reset an OS X account password with an Apple ID

Among other options, Apple supports resetting a user account password at the login window using a valid Apple ID.

Topher Kessler MacFixIt Editor
Topher, an avid Mac user for the past 15 years, has been a contributing author to MacFixIt since the spring of 2008. One of his passions is troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware at home and in the workplace.
Topher Kessler
2 min read

There are several ways to reset an account password in OS X. The primary method is to use the Users & Groups system preferences, under which you can use the "Change Password" option for your account (called "Reset Password" for other accounts), but you can also use the hidden "resetpassword" tool in the OS X Recovery drive; or if you are savvy with the Terminal, boot your system to Single-User mode and use the "passwd" or "dscl" commands to give a specified account a new password.

While all of these available options have their own conveniences, you can also associate your account with an Apple ID and use that as a means to reset your password. Of course this requires a valid ID be linked to your account, so first create and associate one to your account by following these steps:

Apple ID account association in OS X
Use this option to associate your account to an Apple ID, which will be shown here. If you add more than one ID, then the word "Multiple..." will be shown. Screenshot by Topher Kessler/CNET
  1. Open the Users & Groups system preferences
  2. Authenticate and then select your user account
  3. Click the "Set" box next to the Apple ID field
  4. Enter your Apple ID, or choose "Create Apple ID" to make a new one. You can associate more than one Apple ID to your account.
  5. Check the box for the option to "allow user to reset password using Apple ID"

Next close the Users & Groups system preferences to save these changes, and you should be all set up.

Apple ID password reset in OS X
Click this arrow to initiate the password reset using your Apple ID. This message will only show up after several failed attempts to log into your system. Screenshot by Topher Kessler/CNET

Now if you forget your user account password you can reset it directly at the login window using your Apple ID. To do this, after using the wrong password several times, the system will issue a message stating if you forgot your password, you can reset it using your Apple ID. The message will have a small arrow in it, which when clicked will initiate the password reset process. Click this arrow and follow the on-screen instructions, and your password will be reset.

As with any password change, this process will break the link to your account's default keychain, so passwords to mail accounts, Web sites, and other services that you have saved will need to be re-entered and re-saved when you access those services.

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