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Changing your passphrase for macOS and Apple ID

This step-by-step guide shows you how to set and change your passphrase for macOS and Apple ID.

Table of contents

What is a passphrase?

A passphrase is a more secure version of a password.

Passphrases use four or more random words as your password. For example, ‘crystal onion clay pretzel’.

Create passphrases that are:

  • Long: The longer your passphrase, the better. Make it at least 14 characters in length.
  • Unpredictable: use a random mix of unrelated words. No famous phrases, quotes or lyrics.
  • Unique: Do not reuse passphrases on multiple accounts. 

Why it is important to use a passphrase?

Passphrases are hard for cybercriminals to crack, but easy for you to remember.

For accounts or devices that don’t have multi-factor authentication enabled, it is important to use a unique strong passphrase to stay secure. In these situations, a secure passphrase may be the only barrier between adversaries and your valuable information.

Where do I change it?

Changing your macOS or Apple ID passphrase is simple. It can be done via your account settings on your computer.

Note: This guidance applies to macOS Catalina and newer. If you are running an older version of macOS, visit apple.com for guidance on how to change your passphrase.

Changing your passphrase for macOS

1. Click on the Apple icon in the top left corner.

2. Click on System Preferences.

3. Click on Users & Groups.

4. Click the Change Password button, then follow the onscreen instructions.

5. Enter your new passphrase (if you’re changing an existing password/passphrase you will need to enter your current password/passphrase first). Then click Change Password.


Changing your passphrase for Apple ID (on a macOS device)

1. Click on the Apple icon in the top left corner.

2. Click on System Preferences.

3. Click on Apple ID.

4. Click on Password and Security.

Note: If you have just re-set your Mac Password you may be prompted to confirm it again before accessing your Apple ID.

5. Click Change Password. Enter your new passphrase (if you’re changing an existing password/passphrase you will need to enter your current password/passphrase first). Then click Change Password.

Note: In order to change your Apple ID password/passphrase, you need to be connected to the Internet. If you have two-factor authentication enabled, you may be prompted to verify yourself.


Changing your passphrase for Apple ID (on an iOS device)

1. Open the Settings app from your Home screen.

2. Tap your initials in the top left corner.

3. Tap the Password & Security in the top right corner.

Note: In order to change your Apple ID password/passphrase, you need to be connected to the Internet.

4. Tap Change Password.

5. If you are changing an existing password/passphrase you will need to enter your current iPhone passcode first.

6. Enter your new passphrase then click Change

Note: If you have two-factor authentication enabled, you may be prompted to verify yourself.

 

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