Discover The Hidden Password Reset Tool In Lion [OS X Tips]



Apple provides a password reset utility that is very handy when you really need it. In versions of Mac OS X before Lion you accessed this utility by booting your Mac with the included restore DVD. Mac OS X Lion can still reset passwords, but for unknown reasons Apple decided to hide this ability.

Today’s tip will show you how to discover the hidden password reset tool in the Mac OS X Lion Recovery HD Utility.

Older versions of Mac OS X included a utility that you could use to reset a password and restore a user’s folder permissions. Mac OS X Lion lost direct access to this utility, but it is still accessible from the Recovery HD. It is just harder to get too.

Whenever you need the utility access the Recovery HD by using Command+R while restarting your Mac. Once you are in the Recovery HD Utility open Terminal from its Utility menu and enter the following command:


and then press enter. This will launch the password utility, which is like the one that shipped with older versions of Mac OS X.




  • GregsTechBlog

    So… what’s to keep someone from using this maliciously? 

  • Aiiskoplusaiist

    You must have to enter an administrator password before you can actually reset any users password. I hope…

  • Ed_Kel

    thanks for teaching me how to hack a Mac!

  • prof_peabody

    Nothing. If you read the article though you will realise that this is just the new way of doing something that has always been possible.  Anyone with a system disk can reset the password on your current Mac.

  • GregsTechBlog

    And that’s the problem. Before, you needed a disc. Now, you just need a keyboard command at startup. 

  • eworkshop

    You can always setup a firmware password.
    On newer mac it is not easilly removable (hash key and so on…)

  • Chase Hausman


  • Chase Hausman

    Nothing.  In theory, you wouldn’t have your computer alone where lots of people could have access to it for a short period of time.  And, that most people haven’t read this article, so don’t know how to reset passwords in the first place.

  • Tim

    Yes People if you have physical access to a machine you can do anything you want to it. This is not new and is how all computers work. If your paranoid about your data encrypt it silly.

  • Tim

    Of course not. You don’t really want the user to be able to brick a computer by forgetting a password do you. Note you can do the same thing on any windows machine too.

  • James Vaughn

    Actually, you could do it without a disc before by starting up in Single User Mode and changing the passwords via the command line.

  • Hydro Mac

    Thats all well and good but how do you get the app and save it to either a HD or SSD for future use. It has to be hidden some where on the Mac if you can open it via Terminal?