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OS X Mountain Lion: Understand passwords

Understand passwords

OS X is designed to give you a safe and secure computing environment. The security of your computer depends a great deal on using secure passwords in key areas of the system.

Password Assistant

Login password

A login password, also called an user password, is used in the login window and allows the user access to their Mac. Their privileges are limited by the type of user they are. An administrator user is required to perform many important tasks, such as setting certain system preferences, installing software, and administering standard users.

About administrator accounts

Give an account administrator privileges

Passwords in Keychain Access

The Keychain Access utility stores passwords for various apps and services. Keychain Access can remember these passwords and save you the effort of authenticating separately for each of the items on your keychain. The keychain is secured by a keychain password which is unlocked when a user logs in.

About your keychain password

Apple ID

A user’s Apple ID can be use to reset the login password if the password is forgotten.

What is an Apple ID?

Associate Apple IDs with your user account

Recovery Key

When FileVault is use to encrypt a disk, a recovery key is created as a safeguard to unlock the encoded contents of the disk if users forget their login passwords. The recovery key should not be physically stored with the computer where it can be discovered. You can also have Apple store your Recovery key.

If you forget your login password and FileVault is on

Last Modified: Aug 8, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Aug 8, 2013
  • Article: PH10921
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