One of the biggest problems arising out of the fact that devices can remember passwords, and fill them out on their own, is that we, the users, tend to keep forgetting them. Sure, it’s better that we don’t need to remember passwords, but there are times when we want to view saved WiFi passwords.
In this short how-to guide, I’ll acquaint you with two ways that you can use to access passwords for WiFi networks that your Mac has joined in the past, or is currently connected to.
Note: This is not a guide on how to gain access to secure WiFi networks that you have never joined.
I’ll keep this short and simple: There are two methods that you can use to access saved WiFi passwords on your Mac.
Method 1. Using The Keychain Access App
Follow the steps outlined here to view saved WiFi passwords on your Mac:
1. Launch Keychain Access.
- You can do this by going to “Spotlight” and typing “Keychain Access“.
- You can also go to “Launchpad“; Keychain Access will be located in the folder named “Other“.
2. In the search box, on the top-right corner, type the name of the WiFi network that you want to view the password for.
- The Keychain Access window will locate the entries corresponding to the name you entered.
- For illustration purposes, I’m using my home WiFi network, “Lord Of The Pings”.
3. Double click on the entry corresponding to the WiFi network you want to access the password to.
4. A small pop-up window will appear, containing details about the WiFi network.
5. Select the checkbox next to “Show password”.
- Keychain Access will prompt you to enter an administrator’s credentials. Enter the credentials, and click on “Allow”.
6. You will now be able to see the WiFi password for the selected network.
Method 2. Using The Terminal
You can also view saved passwords using the Terminal. One scenario where this can be useful is, if you’re planning on writing a shell script to display passwords. Follow the steps given below to view saved WiFi passwords using the Terminal:
1. Launch the Terminal application
2. Type in the following command into the terminal, replacing the “SSID” with the name of the WiFi network that you want to view the password for.
security find-generic-password -D "AirPort network password" -a "SSID" -gw
3. A dialog box will appear, prompting you to enter administrator credentials. Enter the credentials, and click “Allow”
4. The password will be displayed on a new line in the Terminal
Never Forget a WiFi Password Again
Now you know what to do the next time you need access to a password that you no longer remember. You have been acquainted with two surprisingly easy methods that you can use to view saved WiFi passwords on your Mac. Have you encountered a problem with remembering passwords earlier? More importantly, how did you solve it? Let us know in the comments below.