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How to hack into a Mac and change the password

David Price | May 17, 2016
Forgotten your Mac password? Don't despair. It's pretty easy to sneakily reset the password - here's how

There's a number of reasons why you might want to hack into, or break into, a password-protected Mac computer without using the password.

The first - and we hope this doesn't apply here - is that you're an unscrupulous criminal attempting to access someone's private files. (In fact, in this article we show how to beef up your Mac security so you can ensure other people don't use these methods against you.) But a more likely reason would be that you've simply forgotten your password, or you're trying to help someone who forgot theirs.

Either way, getting past the password protection is relatively - and, one might say, worryingly - straightforward. We're going to explain three methods. The first is by far the easiest and quickest; try the others only if the first one doesn't work.

How to hack into a Mac without the password: Change the password in Recovery Mode

The easiest way to change the user or administrator password, and the one we would recommend, is to use Recovery Mode.

Restart or boot up your Mac and, while it's starting up, hold down Cmd + R. After a short wait this will boot you, without asking for a password, into Recovery Mode. Select Utilities (in the top menu bar), then Terminal. Type resetpassword, press Enter, and you'll be taken to the password reset menu. Now select the hard drive and the user whose password you wish to change, type in a new password (try to remember it this time!), add a password hint if you think this will be necessary, and hit Save.

How to hack into a Mac without the password

Apologies for the state of the screenshot. Taking screengrabs in Recovery Mode is a pain.

How to hack into a Mac without the password: Change the root password and access the keychain

Changing the user password gives you broad access to the user account, but you don't get access to the keychain; and this means that any apps or documents that were secured by additional passwords held in the keychain will be denied to you if you can't remember them. To access the password keychain you'll need to change the root password.

Where it says 'Select the user account', choose 'System Administrator (root)', and then proceed as before.

How to hack into a Mac without the password

How to hack into a Mac without the password: Reset the password in OS X Installer

You can also change the password using the OS X installer, but this is more complicated.


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