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How to Reset Keychain Password after Mac Password Change

No matter which method you use to reset administrator password on mac, it won’t automatically update the password protecting the account’s login keychain. Since the keychain is still protected with the old administrator password, there would be no way to get back into it unless you could update keychain password or create new keychain.

prompt at startup after mac admin password reset

Probably you are just prompted to do that at startup after Mac admin password reset, such as on Yosemite, or constantly asked to enter the keychain password after Mac login. Regardless of which happens, resetting keychain password would help you access Keychain again.

be asked to enter keychain password

  1. Method 1: Reset Keychain login password in Keychain Access
  2. Method 2: Reset Keychain password in single user mode

Method 1: Reset Keychain login password in Keychain Access

After you log into Mac with new administrator password, follow the steps below.

1. Open Keychain Access from Finder> Applications > Utilities, and choose Keychain Access > Preferences from top menu.  

open keychain access preferences

2. In newer versions of Mac OS X, such as on Yosemite, you will see a button Reset My Default Keychain under the General pane.

choose to reset default keychain

3. Click it and enter the new login password in Password field to create new keychain.

enter new password to create new keychain

confirm to create new keychain without password

Note: If you have no such button, choose Edit > Keychain List (Command + Option + L), select the login keychain, and click the minus button to delete it.

4. Quit Keychain Access and restart Mac. A new login keychain will recollecting and storing the passwords for Wi-Fi networks, email accounts, Web sites, and other logins as they occur.

Method 2: Reset Keychain password with command line in single user mode

If you cannot work with Keychain Access because of something like Messages Agent constantly asking for the forgotten login keychain password, you can use command line to reset Keychain password in single user mode.

1. Restart Mac and hold on Command + S to enter single user mode.

2. After you are prompted to enter a command-line after numerous lines of status messages, type this command to mount the root Mac OS X drive as writable.

mount -uw /

3. Delete that account’s login keychain.

rm /Users/shortname/Library/Keychains/login.keychain

Note: If you are not sure the shortname, please confirm it with command "ls /Users" at first.

4. Reboot Mac by command "reboot".

After Mac starts, you should have created a new keychain on Mac.


Update keychain password if you still remember old administrator password:

1. Click Update Keychain Password and enter the old password at startup, or continue login and enter old password when you are asked.

2. Open Keychain Access and right click on login, and choose the option Change Password for Keychain "Login" from pop-up menu.

choose to change password for keychain login

3. Enter the old password in "Current Password" field and new password in "New Password" box. Verify it and click OK to successfully change keychain password.

reset or change keychain login password

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