Forgot your document password in Pages, Numbers, or Keynote? Try this

Protecting your document with a password can keep sensitive data safe. And we’ve shown you how to password-protect documents in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, as well as how to change or remove that password. But what happens if you forget the password?

We’ll show you one way to recover that password on Mac, as well as tips for preventing this in the future.

Set Password Remember Keychain Numbers Mac

Apple is very clear on their support pages for iOS and Mac when it comes to using passwords:

Important: There’s no way to recover your password if you forget it. Be sure to choose a password you won’t forget, or write the password down in a safe place.

Ways to prevent being locked out of your document

As we showed you in our tutorial for creating passwords in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, you have options that you should take advantage of when setting up the password.

  • Use the password hint box. It may seem unnecessary when you’re setting up the password, but you’ll certainly be thankful later if you forget the password and your hint saves you. Password hints are available on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, in all three apps.
  • On iPhone, iPad, and supported Macs, when creating your document password, enable the Touch ID or Face ID option. While passwords can be forgotten, fingerprints and facial authentication are forever. So if you use Touch ID or Face ID on your device, you can also use it to access your password-protected documents.
Set Password Use Hint Touch ID iPhone
  • On Mac, check the box to remember the password in your keychain. And if you own a Mac that uses a fingerprint, you can enable the Touch ID option just like on iOS.
Set Password Use Hint Keychain Mac

Recover a document password on Mac

If you follow the suggestion above for saving your document password to your keychain on Mac, then here is how to recover it.

1) Open Keychain Access, which is in your Utilities folder. While there are several ways to access that folder, the easiest is to either click Go > Utilities from the Finder menu bar or enter “Keychain Access” in the Spotlight search.

2) When Keychain Access opens, click Passwords on the top or the left side.

3) Then, locate your document in the results area. You can do this easily by entering a keyword in the Search box or sorting the column for either Name or Kind.

Find Document Keychain Access Mac

4) Double-click the document and when the details window pops open, check the box for Show Password.

5) You’ll then be prompted to enter your Mac system user password twice. Once you do, that document password will display in the details window.

Show Password Keychain Access Mac

You can then close the details window and Keychain Access.

It’s actually quite unfortunate that Apple does not give us a way to securely and easily recover a document password. Hopefully, it’s something that will be added down the road. Until then, use the tips here for options when creating your password so that if you do forget it, you’ll have another way in.

Have you ever lost a Pages, Numbers, or Keynote document because you couldn’t remember the password? What steps have you taken since then to avoid it happening again? Share your suggestions below!

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