Figure Out Your Passwords via Safari’s Preferences on a Mac

Updated July 8th, 2019.

You’ve probably noticed Safari filling in your username and password on certain sites. That happens because you told Safari to remember your username and password for that site, probably a long time ago. And now you don’t remember the password and Safari shows it as bullets, like so:

Amazon login-- password disguised as bullets
Amazon login

Those bullets are not very helpful if for some reason you need to know what that password is.

Turns out there is a way to figure out what those bullets stand for.

1. Go to Safari/Preferences… and go to Passwords (across the top). At first, it looks like this:

Safari locked passwords
Safari locked passwords

Apple keeps these passwords locked. You can unlock them using your user password. This is your main, unlock-the-Mac password. After you enter that password successfully you will see a big list of saved passwords.

Safari unlocked passwords
Safari unlocked passwords

2. Click on the password (or passwords– ⌘-click) you’re interested in.

Voilà! The password appears. No, I’m not going to show you mine. But here’s a blurred-out one.

Safari Passwords in Safari preferences
Safari Passwords in Safari preferences

In this way, you can see a list of the passwords you’ve saved over the years. It is easier to look a password up in Safari’s preferences than it is to reset it.

Even if you aren’t using Safari anymore, maybe you saved the password in it when you did. So take a look.

Note: this is for Safari 12.1.1. Other versions of Safari have handled this slightly differently. Chrome and Firefox also save passwords and you can look them up in a similar manner.

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2 thoughts on “Figure Out Your Passwords via Safari’s Preferences on a Mac

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    1. I’m guessing that your Mac, when it starts up, does not require a password. If it does– that’s the password we are looking for here, to access your website passwords. If it doesn’t, there are two possibilities:

      1. Your Mac has a password (technically it’s your USER account that has a password), but your machine has been set to start up automatically, without you having to enter the password.

      2. Your password is blank. Nothing. Unlikely but it could be.

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