Those of us who use our Apple laptops in places other than our homes know that it’s sometimes difficult to remember passwords for all of those Wi-Fi networks we connect to. Fortunately, you can save many of them to the Mac keychain, but what if you need to see what the password actually is? That’s what today’s Quick Tip is all about. (Related: Everything You Need to Know About Keychain in macOS Sierra)
Keychain Access Is Your Friend
We’ve discussed Keychain Access in other articles on the Rocket Yard. It’s the Mac utility that stores encrypted passwords, website addresses, and other security information, and shares that to other Apple devices through iCloud. Keychain Access is where you’ll be able to look up passwords that have been saved in the past on your Mac.
To look at those passwords:
1) Launch Keychain Access. It can be found in Applications > Utilities, which can also be opened by selecting Go > Utilities from the Finder menu. One more way? Type Command-Space on your keyboard, then type Keychain Access and press enter to launch the app.
2) The easiest way to begin your search for the password is to enter the name of the Wi-Fi network you’re interested in into the search field at the top of the Keychain Access window. In the screenshot below, I’ve entered “Rubyshouse”, the Wi-Fi network at my home office:
As you can see there are two entries for each network, both the 2.4Ghz network and the 5Ghz network. I will select one of these entries.
3) Now, double-click the network name. A dialog similar to that seen below is displayed (see screenshot below):
4) Want to see the password? Click the checkbox to the left of the words “Show password”. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be asked to authenticate (enter your password, in other words) before the password appears.
You’d be surprised at how helpful this hint can be. I change my Wi-Fi password on a regular basis and yes, sometimes I forget what it is. Being able to check in Keychain Access has saved my bacon more than once!