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How to Change Your Mac’s Admin Password



By default, your Mac’s admin password is your iCloud password. This is a new feature introduced in OS X Yosemite, but it’s something that not all users like, so here’s how to go back to using an admin password of your choice.

The nice thing about past versions of OS X was that you could establish your own admin password during the set up process when you first installed OS X, but OS X Yosemite no longer does that and it simply just uses your iCloud password as the default admin password, which means you have to enter it in every time your Mac needs your authorization to open up a certain app or change a certain setting.

If your iCloud password is long and complicated, this really isn’t a convenient way to go. However, you can still reset your admin password and change it to something that’s a bit easier to type in, and you’ll no longer be forced to stick with using your iCloud password every time.

So here’s how to change your Mac’s admin password in OS X Yosemite.

1234 Is Not a Password

Firstly, before you even change your Mac’s admin password, think of an easy-to-remember password that’s also easy to type in, but you also want it to be somewhat complicated so that nobody can easily guess it.


I’m a big fan of using keyboard patterns for passwords, like “pqlamz,” which is essentially just alternating the last letter keys on each row of the keyboard. Something like that is complicated enough, but it’s also easy to remember and super easy to type in.

Technically, you don’t need a really strong password for an admin password, since it’s really only used for authorizing changes to settings and such on your Mac, but you need one in place, even if you don’t enable a login during startup.

With that said, here’s how to change your Mac’s admin password.

How to Change the Admin Password

The first thing you’ll want to do is open up System Preferences (the icon with a cog inside). Then click on Users & Groups.

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 11.09.16 AM

From there, you’ll want to unlock the padlock in the lower-left corner, so click on that and enter in your iCloud password. After that’s done, click on Change Password. You’ll get a pop-up that gives you the option to use a password other than your iCloud password, so go ahead and click on Use Separate Password.

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 11.09.52 AM

Next, you’ll be asked to enter in your iCloud password and then you’ll type in a new password of your choice below that. Type that new password again in the Verify text box. You can also set a password hint, which will allow you to more easily remember your password if you ever forget it, but that’s entirely optional.

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 11.10.26 AM

Once you’re done, click on Use Separate Password to confirm the change. Your Mac will use that new password that you set. Once that window closes, go ahead and click on the padlock in the lower-left corner to lock up that settings window, and then you can close out of System Preferences.

Now, whenever you go to enter in your admin password, you’ll just need to enter in that new password that you specified, instead of having to use your complicated iCloud password.



  1. hitoshianatomi

    10/24/2014 at 8:00 pm

    Apple is expected do something about the vulnerability that their Touch ID brings: Biometrics operated with a password in the OR/disjunction way (as in the case of iPhone) offers a lower security than when only the password is used.

    Biometrics can theoretically be operated together with passwords in two ways, (1) by AND/conjunction or (2) by OR/disjunction. I would appreciate to hear if someone knows of a biometric product operated by (1). The users of such products must have been notified that, when falsely rejected by the biometric sensor with the devices finally locked, they would have to see the device reset.  It is the same with the biometrics operated without passwords altogether.

    Biometric products like Apple’s Touch ID are generally operated by (2) so that users can unlock the devices by passwords when falsely rejected by the biometric sensors. This means that the overall vulnerability of the product is the sum of the vulnerability of biometrics (x) and that of a password (y). The sum (x + y – xy) is necessarily larger than the vulnerability of a password (y), say, the devices with Touch ID and other biometric sensors are less secure than the devices protected only by a password.

    It is very worrying to see so many ICT people being indifferent to the difference between AND/conjunction and OR/disjunction when talking about “using two factors together”.

  2. hitoshianatomi

    10/24/2014 at 8:02 pm

    Using a strong password does help a lot even against the attack of cracking the stolen hashed passwords back to the original passwords. The problem is that few of us can firmly remember many such strong passwords.  We cannot run as fast and far as horses however strongly urged we may be. We are not built like horses.

    At the root of the password headache is the cognitive phenomena called “interference of memory”, by which we cannot firmly remember more than 5 text passwords on average. What worries us is not the password, but the textual password. The textual memory is only a small part of what we remember. We could think of making use of the larger part of our memory that is less subject to interference of memory. More attention could be paid to the efforts of expanding the password system to include images, particularly KNOWN images, as well as conventional texts.

  3. Kim Schølte

    11/17/2014 at 8:01 am

    Im, not getting that popup :(

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