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How to Find a Saved Wi-Fi Password on a Mac

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Last updated: October 10, 2023

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TL;DR

To find a saved Wi-Fi password on a Mac, you can check the label on your router, use the built-in Keychain Access utility, or use the Terminal for command-line retrieval.

Additionally, Macs offer features to copy or share Wi-Fi passwords directly via the System Settings and Contacts app without revealing the actual password.

Key Points

  • Macs store Wi-Fi passwords for convenience, allowing you to share with guests, set up new devices, or recall them for personal reasons.
  • The default Wi-Fi password for most routers is printed on a label on the device.
  • Keychain Access is Apple’s built-in utility that securely stores user credentials, including Wi-Fi passwords.
  • The Terminal, Mac’s command-line interface, can also find saved Wi-Fi passwords by entering specific commands.
  • Macs also provide an option to copy a Wi-Fi password to the clipboard or share it directly with someone nearby without disclosing the password.

Ever been stuck trying to recall a Wi-Fi password for a new device or a friend? If you’ve connected to that network on your Mac before, there’s a nifty trick to retrieve it.

This guide will walk you through the simple steps to find a saved Wi-Fi password on a Mac, ensuring you’re always connected when you need to be. So, let’s dive in and retrieve your saved passwords on Mac.

Why Do You Need to Find a Saved Wi-Fi Password on Your Mac?

There are several reasons why you might need to find the Wi-Fi password on your Mac. Some of these reasons are as follows:

  1. 📱 New Device Connection: If you’re setting up a new device (like a smartphone, tablet, smart TV, or IoT device) and don’t remember the Wi-Fi password, you can retrieve it from your Mac if it’s already connected to that network.
  2. 👥 Guest Access: When friends or family visit and want to connect to your Wi-Fi, you can quickly retrieve it from your Mac instead of rummaging through papers or trying to recall the password.
  3. 🔧 Network Troubleshooting: If you’re troubleshooting network issues, sometimes it’s helpful to have the password handy to reconnect after resetting network settings or making other adjustments.
  4. 🔒 Changing Password: If you’re thinking of changing your Wi-Fi password, you might want to know the current one as a reference or to ensure you don’t use a similar one.
  5. 🛡️ Security Reasons: Regularly checking and updating your Wi-Fi password is a good security practice. Before updating, you might need to know the current password.
  6. 📝 Documentation: If you’re documenting network settings or creating a backup of important information, you might want to include the Wi-Fi password.
  7. 🔄 Transferring to a New Router: If you’re replacing or upgrading your router but want to keep the same Wi-Fi credentials, retrieving the password from your Mac can be helpful.

Remember, while retrieving passwords is convenient, it’s essential to handle them responsibly and ensure they’re not shared or exposed inappropriately.

How to Find a Saved Wi-Fi Password on a Mac

Your Mac often remembers Wi-Fi passwords for convenience, but sometimes you may need to share your network with a guest, set up a new device, or simply recall it for personal reasons.

While multiple methods exist to find saved passwords on your Mac, always ensure you access and share them responsibly. With that in mind, let’s explore the various ways to find a saved Wi-Fi password on a Mac.

1. On Your Router

Most routers have a default Wi-Fi password printed on a label, usually found on the back or bottom of the device. If you haven’t changed the default password, you can use this. If you have, accessing the router’s web interface using a browser can often allow you to view or reset the password.

Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Look for a label on your router that provides the default SSID and password.
  2. If changed, connect to the router’s IP address (commonly 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1) via a web browser.
  3. Log in using the admin credentials (often admin for username and password unless changed).
  4. Navigate to the wireless or Wi-Fi section to view or reset the password.

2. With Keychain Access

Apple’s built-in utility, Keychain Access, serves as a secure vault, storing your user credentials, from website logins to Wi-Fi passwords. Designed with user convenience in mind, it ensures you don’t have to remember every single password while maintaining a high level of security.

Here’s how to use Keychain Access to find a saved Wi-Fi password on a Mac:

  1. Open Spotlight, type Keychain Access, and open the application.
pressing command ⌘ space and type in keychain access
  1. In the left pane, select System and click the Passwords tab at the top of the right pane.
click system and select the passwords tab
  1. Double-click your Wi-Fi network in the list.
double click your wi fi network name
  1. It will open a new window. Check the Show password checkbox on this window.
check the show password checkbox
  1. You might need to enter your Mac’s username and password to reveal the Wi-Fi password.
type your username and password
  1. Right-click the password and select Copy to copy your Wi-Fi password.
right click your wi fi password and click copy

3. Using Terminal

The Terminal, Mac’s command-line interface, might seem intimidating, but it’s a powerful tool to access your Mac’s inner workings. Beyond its complex workings, you can use Terminal for simpler tasks, like retrieving a saved Wi-Fi password.

Here’s how to find a saved Wi-Fi password on a Mac using Terminal:

  1. Open Terminal from the Finder > Applications > Utilities folder or via Spotlight.
type terminal in spotlight search
  1. Type the following command and press Enter:
security find-generic-password -ga wifiname | grep “password:

Replace the wifiname with the name of your Wi-Fi network.

type a command to find the wi fi password in terminal
  1. You might be prompted to enter your Mac’s username and password.
  2. The Wi-Fi password will be displayed after password: in the Terminal window.

How to Copy a Wi-Fi Network Password on Mac

Thanks to Apple’s built-in tools, retrieving and copying a Wi-Fi password on a Mac is straightforward. Your Mac securely stores various credentials, including Wi-Fi passwords, making managing access details easier.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you copy a Wi-Fi network password on your Mac:

  1. Click the Apple icon in the top menu and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Choose Network in the left sidebar.
click network from side bar
  1. Click Wi-Fi in the right pane.
click wi fi in network settings
  1. To get the password of the Wi-Fi network you’re currently connected to, click the three dots icon next to the network name.
click the three dots next to your wi fi
  1. Click Copy Password in the context menu.
click copy password from the context menu
  1. For passwords of networks you’ve connected to in the past, scroll down and click the Advanced button.
click the advanced button in network settings
  1. In the new window, scroll down to the Known Networks and click the three dots icon beside the desired network.
click the three dots next to different wi fi networks
  1. Choose Copy Password from the context menu.
click copy password for old networks
  1. The Wi-Fi password is now on your Mac’s clipboard, and you can paste it wherever needed using the Command ⌘ + V shortcut.

How to Share a Wi-Fi Password on Mac

You can share a Wi-Fi password from your Mac without actually disclosing the password itself. The process is quick and easy if the individual you’re sharing the password with is listed in your Contacts app.

Here’s how to share a Wi-Fi password on Mac:

  1. Connect your Mac to the Wi-Fi whose password you wish to share and log into your Apple ID.
  2. Next, the person you’re sharing with should be near your Mac.
  3. Have them attempt to connect to your Wi-Fi network.
  4. After a brief wait, a Wi-Fi Password notification will appear on your screen.
  5. Click Share.

And voilà! They’re connected, and you didn’t have to spill your password beans.

Find Saved Wi-Fi Passwords on Your Mac

Finding a saved Wi-Fi password on your Mac is simpler than you think. Whether helping a friend, setting up a new gadget, or just jogging your memory, this guide has got you covered. Just remember always to be careful with passwords.

Here are some more password-related tips for you:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Where are saved Wi-Fi passwords stored on Mac?

    On a Mac, saved Wi-Fi passwords are stored in the Keychain Access utility. This secure tool keeps various credentials, including Wi-Fi passwords. To view or manage these saved passwords, you can access the Keychain Access through Spotlight or the Utilities folder.

  2. Can I see a saved Wi-Fi password on Mac?

    Yes, you can see a saved Wi-Fi password on Mac using two methods: Keychain Access and Terminal. Keychain Access stores passwords securely, while Terminal allows command-line retrieval. Both provide efficient ways to access your saved network credentials.

  3. How do I share my Wi-Fi password from my Mac to my iPhone?

    To share your Wi-Fi password from your Mac to your iPhone, ensure both devices are signed into the same Apple ID. When the iPhone tries to connect to the Wi-Fi, a notification appears on the Mac. Click Share on the Mac, and the iPhone will connect automatically.

Hashir Ibrahim

Author

I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.

Ojash

Reviewer

Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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