OS X Mavericks: Understand passwords

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Understand passwords

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

Password Assistant

Login password

A login password, also called a user password, allows the user to log in and access the information on the Mac. Privileges are limited by the type of user. An administrator user is required to perform many important tasks, such as setting certain system preferences, installing software, and administering standard users.

About users, administrators, groups, and guests

Set up users on your Mac

Passwords in iCloud Keychain

Keeping track of passwords is hard, especially if you never use the same password twice and have multiple devices. iCloud Keychain keeps website and Wi-Fi passwords up to date across your Mac computers and iOS devices. It also keeps account passwords and settings that you add to Internet Account preferences up to date on your Mac computers.

When you need to create a new password for a website, Safari suggests a unique, hard-to-guess password and saves it in your iCloud Keychain. Safari fills it in automatically the next time you need to sign in, so you don’t have to remember it or type it on any of your devices.

Set up iCloud Keychain

Passwords for websites or Internet apps

If you need help with a password for a website, see the website’s help, or the account information on the website.

If you need help with a password for an app that connects to an account on the Internet or network, see the documentation that came with the app, or online information which supports the app. For example, if you have a mail account with a service provider or website, see the documentation on the website or contact the provider.

If Mail keeps asking for your password

Passwords in Keychain Access

Keychain Access stores passwords for various apps and services, and saves you the effort of authenticating separately for each of the items in 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 used to reset the login password if the password is forgotten on an unencrypted disk.

Create and use Apple IDs

FileVault Recovery Key

When you encrypt a disk using FileVault, a recovery key is created as a safeguard. If you forget your login password, you can use the recovery key to unlock the encoded contents of a disk. 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

Published Date: Oct 20, 2015