Never Forget A Password Again

by John Carroll on July 21, 2011

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We all forget passwords. It’s a never-ending source of unhappiness. But the solution is on your Mac… and it’s been there for years.


What Do I Need To Do?

Keychain Icon

Under Applications in the Utilities folder you’ll find a program called Keychain Access.

When you locate Keychain Access drag it to your dock so it will be easily accessible in the future.

Double-click on the Keychain icon and you will be asked for a password. This is the password that you use to sign on to your Mac.
If you decide to use this utility, it’ll be the only password you’ll ever need to remember.

When the Keychain opens you’ll be presented with a window filled with information. It looks confusing. Don’t panic.

You are looking at the place where your Mac stores all the passwords and keys needed to keep your system secure. Apple have also provided a place here where you can store data.

On the sidebar on the left under Category is an item named Secure Notes. Click on Secure Notes.

The main window will most likely become empty. This is normal. It means you have not yet created and saved any Secure Notes.

In the screenshot below, my window is full, because I’ve been using this for a few years.

These screens may slightly differ from your own as these were done using Mac OSX Lion and not Snow Leopard.

Keychain Window 1

At the bottom left corner of the screen you should see a + symbol. Click the + symbol. This tells the Mac that you want to create a new secure note.

Keychain Window 2

A window will pop up with two fields; Keychain Item Name and Note. You can enter whatever data you wish into these fields. As an example, if we were saving bank account details, we might enter the following information:

Keychain Window 3


What Do I Need To Do To Access The Information I Saved?

Click on Keychain Access to open it.

In the left hand sidebar click on Secure Notes.

Find your Secure Note in the main window. Double click to open it. A window will pop up.

The Attributes Tab should be dark gray. Locate the check box named “Show Note.” Check this box.

Keychain Window 4

You will be prompted for a password. Enter the password that you use to sign on to your Mac and click “Allow.” Once you do this the Secure Note will open to show you the information you saved earlier.

Secure Notes are encrypted and can only be accessed using your primary password. Using Mobile Me, and later iCloud, Keychain Access can be synced between all you Macs.


Three Password Tips

  1. Always create a password at least 8 characters long, use capitalization randomly and use numbers. An example of this would be – oVerlord3000
  2. Never use “123456,” your phone number, license plate number, a pets name, partner’s name or the name of your children. It is highly unlikely that your computer will be hacked, but if it is these are the first things they will try.
  3. If your password is “Apollo13”, don’t write “Apollo13” as your password. Try using a brief description that will remind you of it, like “Losing The Moon.” Using this method takes a little getting used to, but it adds one more layer of security.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Roger Altemus February 7, 2014 at 7:34 pm

This was just what I needed.

Many thanks. Roger

ps temperature here this am was _ 5 degrees.

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John Carroll 2 John Carroll February 8, 2014 at 12:39 am

50 degrees here in LA. Brrrr 🙂

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