How to Find Forgotten / Lost Web Site Passwords on Mac

Jul 27, 2020 - 4 Comments

How to Find Lost Web Site Passwords on Mac

Did you forget the password for a website you recently visited? Or perhaps, you lost the login credentials of one of your social networking accounts? Either way, if you ever logged into these websites on your Mac and saved the login credentials to Keychain, then you can recover your forgotten passwords easily with Keychain Access.

Keychain Access is an app in macOS that securely keeps a record of all your passwords and other login information, thereby eliminating the need to constantly remember and manage the passwords to your online accounts. It’s similar to a third-party password manager like 1Password, LastPass, or Dashlane, except that Keychain is seamlessly integrated in Apple devices including Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

Trying to regain access to your accounts but you’ve forgotten or lost the credentials? Don’t worry, as this article may help, and we’ll guide you through the necessary steps to find lost and forgotten website passwords on a Mac.

How to Find Forgotten / Lost Web Site Passwords on Mac

Recovering a lost password is a lot easier than you think on macOS. Simply follow the steps below to find that one password you forgot.

  1. First, you need to access Spotlight search on your Mac. Click on the “magnifying glass” icon located at the top-right corner of your desktop. Alternatively, you can open Spotlight search by pressing Command + Space bar.

    How to Find Lost Web Site Passwords on Mac
  2. Next, type “Keychain” in the search field and open “Keychain Access” from the search results.

    How to Find Lost Web Site Passwords on Mac
  3. Once Keychain Access opens up, make sure you’ve selected “All Items” under category. Now, narrow down your results using the search field at the top-right corner of this window. For example, you can start by just typing in the website’s name.

    How to Find Lost Web Site Passwords on Mac
  4. When you’ve found your desired result, control-click or right-click on it and choose “Get Info”. You can also choose to copy this account’s password to the clipboard if you’re just looking to copy/paste the password.

    How to Find Lost Web Site Passwords on Mac
  5. Clicking “Get Info” will open a pop-up window on your screen with all the necessary details regarding the login information you used. You’ll notice that the password is hidden. To view this, check the box next to “Show password”.

    How to Find Lost Web Site Passwords on Mac
  6. Now, you’ll be prompted to enter your keychain password. By default, this is the same as your Mac’s user password which is used to log in to the system. Click “OK” once you’ve typed in the password.

    How to Find Lost Web Site Passwords on Mac
  7. The password for your account will now be visible in the window. You can hide it again by unchecking the box.

    How to Find Lost Web Site Passwords on Mac

That’s how you recover lost and forgotten passwords on your Mac with Keychain Access. Pretty easy, right?

It’s important to note that you will only be able to find this lost password in Keychain access if you chose to “save password” when you typed in your login credentials on the particular website. If you aren’t aware, Safari prompts you to save password whenever you log in to a site for the first time and if you chose “Not Now” or “Never for this website”, your password details will not be stored in Keychain.

That being said, Keychain makes it a whole lot easier to manage all your login credentials under one password which is easy to remember, especially considering it’s the same password you use to log on to the Mac (sometimes this password syncing fails however, requiring a Keychain reset, but that’s a separate topic).

Thanks to the nifty Keychain feature, you don’t really have to remember all your passwords anymore. Furthermore, all the web passwords that Safari save to Keychain will be synced across all your other Apple devices with the help of iCloud.

Speaking of other Apple devices, do you also own an iPhone or iPad? If so, you might be interested in learning how you can use Keychain on your iOS device to securely store your passwords. You can manually add passwords to Keychain just like a third-party password manager and even edit saved passwords on your iPhone and iPad.

By the way, this trick works on basically all versions of MacOS and Mac OS X, as Keychain has been around for a very long time. And for the geekier folks out there who prefer Terminal, you can also retrieve forgotten passwords via the command line using keychain tools.

We hope you were able to recover and find any lost and forgotten website passwords with this Keychain trick on Mac. Did this work for you? Did you find another solution? What are your overall thoughts on Apple’s Keychain integration on macOS and iOS devices? Share your valuable thoughts, experiences, and opinions in the comments section down below.

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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

4 Comments

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  1. ChuckR says:

    Far simpler= Safari>Preferences>Passwords tab.
    Enter your mac’s unlock code (which brings up keychain info for websites), scroll to or enter website domain in the search field. Password is revealed (by hovering over the “dots,” and can be copied with a right-click.

  2. simeon says:

    How to Find Forgotten / Lost Web Site Passwords on Mac

    You should state which MacOS minimum is needed for each tip and trick!

    The above mentioned tip seems not to apply to High Sierra 10.13, which caused me greate time loss!

    • Paul says:

      Hi Simeon,

      Keychain Access is available on basically every version of macOS / Mac OS X, including High Sierra, Mojave, Big Sur, Catalina, Sierra, Tiger, Snow Leopard, Lion, Mt Lion, El Capitan, Yosemite, etc. This is mentioned in the article.

      If you do not have saved passwords in Keychain, then you won’t be able to use Keychain to find any lost passwords, however.

      Hope that helps!

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