You’ve had your Mac connected to your wifi network for some time now and it has been working fine, but now you have a new device that you want to connect to it or possibly a friend who wants to use your wifi network.
Since you don’t type in the password regularly you may have forgotten what it is. This is not uncommon at all, it happens to all of us. Thankfully there are some quick and easy ways that we can find the wifi password even if you are not using Keychain to store them.
Hi, my name is Eric. I’m a software engineer and I have been working with a variety of computers for over 40 years. I love to solve problems and figuring out how to get a wifi password is a common one that I have dealt with before.
If you need a way to find your wifi password, stick around and we’ll take a look at a couple of quick methods you can use to do this even if you are not using Keychain.
2 Ways to Find Wifi Password on Mac without Keychain
I have two methods that you can use to retrieve your wifi password. The first one will require the use of your terminal application, which may sound a little scary to some, but don’t let your anxieties get to you. It’s a fairly simple procedure and I will step you through it.
The second one does not require the use of the Terminal app but if you don’t know your router’s IP or the website to get into your router’s admin console, I will show you how to find it in your Mac’s settings.
So let’s dive in and begin looking at the two different methods.
Method 1: Using Mac Terminal
This is a quick and easy method to get your wifi password and there are only a few things that you will need.
What you’ll Need
- Your Mac’s Admin username and password
- The Name of the Wifi Network
- Your Mac’s Terminal application
Step 1: Startup the Terminal application by clicking on Launchpad, then in the search field at the top of the screen type in Terminal. This will show the application. Click on it to start it up.
Step 2: Once the Terminal app is open, copy and paste the following command into it.
security find-generic-password -ga YOUR_WIFI_NAME | grep “password:”
Step 3: Replace YOUR_WIFI_NAME with the name of your wifi network.
Tip: If you don’t know the name of your wifi network, click on the wifi symbol near the top right of your screen and you will see it under Preferred Network.
Step 4: With the command in the Terminal window, hit return and you will then be prompted for your username and password.
Tip: If you don’t know what your username is, click on the Apple symbol in the upper left corner of your screen. You will see your user name at the bottom of the drop-down where it says Log out. The password will be the same one you use to log into your computer.
Step 5: Enter the username and password and then click on Allow. You will see the password displayed in the output of the Terminal window.
Method 2: Using The Wireless Router Admin Console
Logging into your wireless router’s administration console is also a great way to retrieve your password. Here’s what you will need to do that.
What you’ll Need
- The URL or IP address of your router.
- The admin username and password for the wireless router admin console.
- A browser such as Safari or Chrome.
Get Your Router’s IP address
If you don’t know your wireless router’s URL or IP address you can find it using the steps below.
Step 1: Click on the network icon in the upper right corner of your desktop and then select Network Preferences from the drop-down menu.
Step 2: In the network preferences window, click on the Advanced button in the lower right corner.
Step 3: In the network window, click on the TCP/IP tab and you will see the router’s IP address as shown below.
Step 4: Select and copy the address so you have it in your buffer. This is the URL or location you will use to get to your admin console using your browser.
Get Your Router’s Admin Login and Password
To get into your router’s admin console where you can see and change the wifi password, you will need the username and password. If you don’t use this often then it’s likely you do not remember it.
The good thing is that if you didn’t change it when you set your router up (many people do not), then you should be able to get in with the default login and password. If you did change it, hopefully, you wrote it down somewhere and can find it, otherwise, you may be out of luck.
If you haven’t changed it and don’t remember what it is, try some of the methods below to figure out what it is. There’s a good chance one of these will work for you.
- By default, many routers have the username set to “admin” and the password set to “admin.” Try it and see if it works.
- If you still have the documentation that came with your router, you should find the password there. Nearly all routers provide it with the paperwork; some even have it on the box that it came in.
- Check the back and bottom of the router. In most cases, there will be a sticker on it that has the login information. This is especially true if you got your router from your ISP.
- Google it! Try an internet search for “admin password” along with the make and model of your router. This will usually come up with the documentation—which could list the password or others who may know what the default is.
- Contacting tech support for your router via email, IM, or phone. You will most likely find someone who can provide the information.
Use the Admin Console to Find the Password
If you were able to find your router’s IP address, username, and password, you are now ready to log in to the router Admin Console. This is where all the settings for your wireless router are configured, including the password. Follow the steps below to log in and find the password.
Step 1: Open a browser such as Safari or Chrome.
Step 2: Paste the IP address that you copied into your buffer above, into the browser’s URL or address field. This is where you normally type the address of websites you are going to.
Step 3: You Should now see the login for the Router’s console. Enter the username and password.
Step 4: Different routers have different interfaces. Due to the variety of differences, I cannot tell you exactly where to go in your version. You will need to search for a tab, link, or button that is related to wifi, security, or passwords.
Step 5: Once in the wireless, security, or password section of the console, you should see the password for your wireless network.
In the Router’s console or control panel you can do other things such as change the router’s password and many of the router’s settings. You’ll want to be careful not to change other settings unless you really know what you are doing.
If you would like to learn more about how to use the admin console or control panel take a look here and you will find a lot more detailed information on many different types of routers
If you constantly find yourself forgetting passwords for your wifi network as well as other things, that is perfectly understandable. It happens to all of us. In that case, you might want to consider a password manager.
A password manager is an app that stores and protects all of your passwords, making it easy to retrieve them when you forget them. If you would like to find out more take a look at this article on password managers and see what you think.
As you can see there are ways to find your wifi router’s password even if you don’t use Keychain. This will prevent you from the need to completely reset your router which could be a real pain. We hope this has helped you to recover your wifi password.
As always, please let us know if you have any questions or comments. We would love to hear from you.