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How to find saved WiFi passwords on Mac

If you need to know a forgotten saved password, you’re in luck.

apple macbook pro 13 m2 on purple background
Image: KnowTechie

When you attempt to join a new WiFi network, your Mac prompts you to enter a security key. You only need to enter this password the first time you connect. But what happens when you eventually need to find your saved WiFi passwords on Mac?

Typically, macOS automatically joins known wireless networks using previously-stored keys. But occasionally, you might need to find that password.

If you need to know a forgotten saved password, you’re in luck. macOS stores security credentials in the keychain, which you can access at any time to extract the information you need.

Let’s discuss how to find and view saved WiFi passwords in macOS using Keychain Access and Terminal.

How to find saved WiFi passwords on Mac using Keychain Access

Here’s how to view saved WiFi passwords in the macOS keychain:

  1. Launch Keychain Access via Applications > UtilitiesMac utilities keychain access

  2. Select System under System Keychains in the side menu Computer screen command

  3. Click the Passwords tab to filter results Computer keychain system log in

  4. Locate and Double-click the appropriate wireless network name computer screen keychain system password

  5. Tick the Show password box and enter your admin username and password to reveal the security key computer screen network password

How to find saved WiFi passwords in Terminal

If you simply can’t stand intuitive user interfaces, you can instead use Terminal to locate saved WiFi passwords.

READ MORE: How to add a printer to Mac

To use this method, you’ll need to know the exact name of the wireless network whose security key you want to see.

Here’s how to view saved WiFi passwords in Terminal:

  1. Launch Terminal via Applications > Utilities
Mac utilities terminal
Image: KnowTechie

2. Enter the following command, replacing “SSID” with your wireless network name, and press Return:
security find-generic-password -ga “SSID” | grep “password:”

Terminal wifi command
Image: KnowTechie

3. Enter your admin username and password when prompted to show the security key in Terminal

mac admin on computer
Image: KnowTechie

Use Keychain Access to find forgotten passwords

While Keychain Access is great for finding WiFi passwords on Mac, it can also reveal your other saved application passwords. You’ll find most of the relevant entries in your login keychain.

Having a repository of saved passwords is handy when you inevitably forget all of those rarely-used app logins you’ll undoubtedly need to use again.

READ MORE: How to find saved WiFi passwords in Windows 11

Who needs a functioning memory when our gadgets can remember things for us? Soon, our brains will be obsolete. In truth, some of ours already are.

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Matt is an Australian freelance writer with a degree in creative and critical writing. Prior to commencing his studies, he worked in tech support and gained valuable insights into technology and its users. His true passion is telling stories, and he hopes to one day write a novel worthy of publication.

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