Using passwords may be a bit inconvenient sometimes, but they make our online lives more secure. These passwords add an extra layer of security to our computer, especially to our sensitive files and data. We use a password for almost everything we do on and with our computer – from social media and email to simply logging in to use our Macs. However, did you know that there are different Mac passwords?
Different Types of Mac Passwords
- Mac Password. This is also known as your account password or computer login password. This is the password you use during start-up in order to gain access to your user account. If there are multiple users, each user account will have a different login password. If there is only one user account, then your Mac password is also your admin password. You can use your admin password to change system preferences, add or remove users, and install or uninstall programs. You can also login using a guest account without a password, but you won’t be able to make any changes on the computer.
- Keychain Password. This is also known as your login keychain password. Your Mac comes with a built-in password manager called Keychain Access that stores all passwords for your applications. This is very useful especially for people who always forget their passwords. To login to your Keychain Access, all you have to remember is your Apple Keychain For admin user accounts, it is the same as the account password or Mac password.
- iCloud Keychain. This is a type of password manager, and the good thing about this is that you can access your passwords across multiple devices. Aside from storing your Wi-Fi and website passwords, your iCloud Keychain also allows you to generate unique passwords and automatically fill them in. To set up your iCloud Keychain, go to Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud > Keychain and follow the on-screen instructions.
- Apple ID password. This is the same as your iCloud password or the App Store password. This is the password for your Apple ID account, which is needed to access all Apple services like the App Store, iCloud, FaceTime, iTunes, and others. You can go to your Apple ID account page to create your Apple ID account, change your account password or recover your Apple ID password.
- Master Password. This is the same as your recovery key or FileVault password. This is used when you want to access your encrypted files on FileVault. To turn on FileVault, go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault. Click the lock icon located at the bottom of the pop-up window. Then, enter your admin password and choose Turn On FileVault. Once the FileVault has been enabled, you need to set up the master password.
To set up your master password and private recovery key, do the following:
- Go to Apple menu > System Preferences, and then click Users & Groups.
- Click the lock button, then type in your username and password.
- Click the Action menu, then click Set Master Password.
- Type in your password and click OK.
- Drag the file Library/Keychains/FileVaultMaster.cer to the Trash.
- Copy /Library/Keychains/FileVaultMaster.keychain to a safe location, like an external hard drive or an encrypted hard disk. Keep this file secure because it contains your private FileVault recovery key. This recovery key is used to unlock the startup disk of any Mac that uses your FileVault master keychain.
- Firmware Password. Your firmware password prevents your Mac from booting from a different disk, CD, or USB drive. To set up your firmware password, hold down Command + R after turning on your computer. Release the keys when you see the Apple logo. Once the Utilities window appears, choose Utilities > Firmware Password Utility, and click Turn On Firmware Password.
Passwords provide an added security to your Mac so it is important to create strong and unique passwords. Another way of protecting your Mac is by cleaning your computer regularly using a 3rd party cleaning tools. It can delete temporary files, caches, unneeded log files, and corrupt data files that can lead to issues in the future.