How Do You Actually Find Saved Passwords on A Mac?

passwords on a mac

How Do You Actually Find Saved Passwords on A Mac?

Key Points

  • iCloud Keychain is Apple’s official solution for managing passwords.
  • Try asking Siri for a password you want.
  • iCloud Keychain is designed to automatically capture passwords for you whenever you sign into accounts on any of your Apple devices.
  • If you decide to use a third-party password manager you have to go through a few steps to enable autofill for passwords on your Mac.

Mac computers and devices are known for being user-friendly and simple. Unfortunately, the simplicity of these devices doesn’t mean it’s always obvious how to do things.

Even if you’ve been using your Mac for many months, or even years, you may not know how to access all your stored passwords, or even how to manage your passwords using your Apple devices. This, like most things on a Mac, is simple to do, but only once you know how to do it.

Spend a few moments learning how Apple devices store passwords and how to see them and you can stop worrying about remembering all those pesky passwords yourself. This simple skill is essential for every Mac owner to learn.

Believe us, once you understand how to store passwords and access them on all your Apple devices you’ll wonder how you ever went without this feature!

Accessing iCloud Keychain Passwords

iCloud Keychain is Apple’s official solution for managing passwords, phone numbers, credit card numbers, and much more between all your different Apple devices.

This powerful solution can be used to store your information and to keep it all available on your full lineup of Apple devices including your Mac, your iPad, your iPhone, and even on Windows-based PC computers.

The password manager stores this essential information on your personal iCloud and encrypts the information to protect it from other people. Once you begin storing information in your iCloud Keychain you won’t have to remember the information anymore.  

This password storage solution also makes accessing any passwords you need simple and fast. There are two ways for you to get immediate access to this information, but the simplest method is by using simple Siri commands. With the right command, you can see a specific password by uttering a single sentence. 

Ask Siri for a Password

Before digging through any of your Apple device settings you should try asking Siri for a password you want. If you use your device to store passwords, tell Siri “Show my Adobe password” or whatever account password you would like.

As long as Siri understands which account you’re asking about you’ll see a password displayed on your screen seconds later.

Using Siri makes getting passwords to everything effortless, but what if you don’t know what the account is called on your Apple account? Well, there’s another method available that gives you access to all your passwords. When you use this method you get a search bar and a list of every password stored in your Apple iCloud. 

See the Full iCloud Keychain Password List

passwords on a mac
iCloud Keychain can be used to store passwords on an iPhone.

When you aren’t sure what to tell Siri for a specific password account, or when you want many passwords there is a faster solution. 

  • Begin by selecting Settings on your Mobile Device, or by pressing the Apple Menu Icon and choosing System Preferences on a Mac computer
  • Select Passwords in Settings
  • Authenticate your Apple account using Touch ID, Face ID, or by inputting your password. 
  • You should now see all your stored passwords in a neat list. Choose the account names you’re interested in one by one and choose “Edit” to see all the account and password information. 
  • Input account names in the Search bar above, and you’ll immediately see different results that match your search. Once you choose “Edit” on an account you can update passwords through the menu easily. 
  • Copy passwords from this menu, or manually enter them on another device you need them on. 

Passwords you access in this way are stored on your iCloud Keychain. This built-in password manager tool is something all Apple users get access to, and it can input passwords for you on all your Apple devices and more once you understand how to use it. 

Using iCloud Keychain

By default, Apple devices rely on iCloud Keychain to manage passwords, but it’s still important to verify your devices are doing so if you want to use the service. Open “Settings” on mobile devices or “System Preferences” on a Mac computer and choose “Passwords” 

With the Passwords menu open, select “AutoFill Passwords”, verify the “AutoFill Passwords” slider is green, and check Keychain as your password manager. Once you do that your device will begin saving password information that you type in.

When you revisit those sites and services your Apple devices will have you authenticate your account and automatically input password and personal data for you. 

iCloud Keychain is the most straightforward way to manage passwords on Mac devices, but not the only way. If you prefer to use an external password-management solution, such as LastPass or Dashlane, you’ll have to configure things differently, and you won’t access passwords the same way on your Mac. 

Manually Add Passwords to Keychain

iCloud Keychain is designed to automatically capture passwords for you whenever you sign into accounts on any of your Apple devices. If you don’t want to wait until you next access an account to get it into the password manager, you can manually add passwords as well. There are two simple ways to do this depending on if you’re on a Mac, or you’re on a mobile device. 

Manually Add Passwords on a Mac

To add passwords on your Mac device access Safari and open “System Preferences” from the top menu. Once in your preferences, you can open the “Passwords” section. From there it’s simple to click the “+” symbol and manually enter account information for any accounts you want to store on your Keychain. 

Manually Add Passwords to Keychain on iOS

Adding passwords to your Keychain through an iOS device is even simpler than on a Mac. Open the “Settings” section of your iPad or iPhone and tap on “Passwords”. Once you’re in this menu there’s a “+” symbol in the top right of the screen.

Tap that symbol and input new passwords manually whenever you like. They will get added to your iCloud Keychain and become accessible on all your connected Apple devices. Maintaining unique passwords will help you avoid getting hacked on your iOS devices.

Gabe with Indigo Software walks you through step-by-step on how to use iCloud Keychain on a Mac in the below video.

See Passwords in Safari

Along with offering access to your Apple passwords from within the device Settings or System Preferences menu, you can see the same list of passwords from within the Safari web browser on a Mac. 

To see all the stored passwords choose “Preferences” from the Safari Menu and select “Passwords”. Once you do this you’ll see a list of all your passwords. Search using the built-in bar, or scroll through your stored passwords. Select “Edit…” to view the password, change it or delete it. 

passwords on a mac
Use the device settings in Safari on a MacBook to see passwords.

Third-Party Password Applications Work Differently

It’s important to note that if you utilize a third-party password management tool such as Dashlane or Lastpass you’ll have to go through a different process to access your passwords.

Instead of asking Siri for help, or digging through your Mac settings, you must use your password manager app directly. Open the app, input your security password or authenticate the app, and you will gain access to all your stored passwords. 

One of the biggest downloads of having a password manager is that all of your passwords are all stored in a single place but one master password. There is actually some potential risk in that an attacker or hacker could gain access to some if not all of your passwords with a single hack to your password manager.

Autofill Passwords from Third-Party Applications

If you decide to use a third-party application program you’ll quickly realize your device isn’t automatically inputting your stored information.

Until you adjust your Mac and iOS settings you’ll spend more time than necessary copying and pasting passwords wherever you need them. Fortunately, it’s simple to change your Autofill settings to your other password manager. 

Enable Autofill for Mac and iOS

M1 Pro vs. M1 Max

MacBook Pro Retina Display with Touch bar and a Touch ID sensor integrated into the Power button.

If you choose to use a third-party password manager you must go through a few short steps to enable autofill for passwords on your Mac and iOS device. 

On a Mac

Start by selecting the Apple Icon and then “System Preferences”. Choose “Extensions” and select “Password Autofill”. Check the box for the password manager you want your Mac device to autofill passwords from and you’re finished. 

On an iOS Mobile Device

On an iPad or iPhone, you must go through slightly different steps. Begin by opening “Settings” on your device and “Passwords”. Authenticate the device and choose “AutoFill Passwords” to get into the autofill settings.

Make sure that AutoFill Passwords has a green slider and check your third-party password software to enable auto-filling from Dashlane, Lastpass, or another password manager. 

Enable Autofill in Safari

Since Safari is the most common web browser used on Mac and iOS devices it’s important to understand how to activate your third-party password manager in the browser as well.

Once you activate LastPass, Dashlane, or whatever service you use, the web browser will automatically fill in passwords and contact information whenever you visit a website you have stored data for. 

On a Mac

On a Mac, you must open Safari, choose the “Safari” menu, select Extensions, and check the password manager you want to use. 

On an iOS Mobile Device

Open “Settings” on your iOS device and scroll down to Safari. Open Safari to access the web browser’s settings. Tap on “Extensions”. Select your third-party passwords app, turn the slider green and grant it permissions for All Websites. Your password manager will now input passwords and personal information into websites you visit. 

Let Your Mac Remember Your Passwords for You

Modern computers and mobile devices can remember passwords, credit card numbers, and much more for you. Stop trying to remember all this information yourself and leave it to your devices to do the heavy lifting for you.

By using the simple instructions above you can get access to all your important passwords and you can instruct your computer or mobile device to handle your secure information for you, so you have one less thing to think about. 

Next Up…

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the password manager on Mac?

Mac users can store all their passwords on the iCloud Keychain. This built-in password manager is simple to use and stores passwords on all your Apple Devices.

What do I do if I can't access my Mac password?

If you’ve forgotten your Mac password you can use one of the three recovery options available through the device. Try to use your Apple ID password, then use another administrator password, and finally your FileVault recovery key. If none of those options work you may have to erase your Mac and start over with a fresh account.

How can I bypass the Mac password screen?

If you want to bypass the login screen because you’ve forgotten your password, either hold the Command and R keys during bootup and you’ll go into Recovery Mode, or press and hold power until you see startup options and can choose Recovery Mode. While in this mode input “resetpassword” in Utilities and Terminal and follow the on-screen instructions.

How to check passwords in a Macbook?

To see passwords stored on your Macbook select the Apple Icon, System Preferences, and Passwords. Authenticate your device and you’ll see a list of passwords stored on your Macbook.

Where are my passwords on Mac?

By default, the passwords are stored in the iCloud Keychain on Mac devices. Access this by selecting the Apple Icon, System Preferences, and choosing Passwords. Enter your password or authenticate and you can see all the stored passwords.

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