How to recover & view passwords stored in your Keychain file


OS X (and well written applications) stores many of your various passwords for web sites, servers, and wireless networks in a Keychain file. These stored passwords are only viewable if you know the computer’s login password. This is true in most cases, as it is possible (and much more secure) to have more than one keychain, so your bank password doesn’t unlock itself just by logging into your computer. If you have you forgotten a password to a website, email account, or other password, chances are that your password can be easily retrieved

Open Keychain Access.app

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You’ll find this program in your Utilities folder, which is inside of the Applications folder. From the Finder, use the Go menu for fast access.

Keychain Access main window

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Once Keychain Access opens, scroll through the list of keys until you find the one that you’re looking for. Double click that entry.

Stored credentials screen

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Once the details screen shows up, note the Show password section. Checking the box presents the next screen.

Login password entry

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Once you are presented with this screen enter your login password and click Allow. The login password is the password you use to log into your account if you log out or reboot, or if the computer asks you for a password most any other time.

* As far as I can tell, there is no difference between the “Always Allow” and “Allow.” “Always Allow” doesn’t seem to do anything more than the regular “Allow” button.

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One Response

  1. […] Make sure you enter your email username (and depending on your mail server it might just be the part before the @ symbol, or your entire email address. If you don’t know your email password because your computer stores it for you, click here to learn how to retrieve it from the Keychain. […]

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