You’ve just updated to macOS Big Sur but aren’t able to unlock your Mac? Is the admin account password not working although you’re sure that you’re entering the correct one? Are you asked to enter your password again or are prompted by the ‘No users available for authorization’ error message? Or, worse the Mac freezes on the password authentication screen and a spinning wheel is running in a loop?
These issues have occurred for some during the beta testing stage and it seems that the macOS Big Sur Password bug has found its way to the public release. It causes your Mac to ‘forget’ which accounts have been assigned with administrator privileges and which not. This renders your admin password unusable when you want to edit System Preferences and change other admin-level settings.
3 Ways To Fix Mac Password Not Working
Here are the most common troubleshooting tips if macOS Big Sur doesn’t recognize your admin password:
1. Use US Keyboard Layout
In some cases macOS Big Sur forces the US keyboard layout although the icon shows something different, in the top-right corner of the screen. So, when you type your password make sure that you do it as if you would be using an US keyboard layout. Does it work?
2. Reset SMC
The next step is to reset the system management controller (SMC). This solution has been confirmed by users that have managed to fix the macOS Big Sur password issue. Resetting the SMC doesn’t cause any data loss. Here is what you have to do:
Tip: First, you need to know of your Mac packs a T2 chip. This info is usually available in System Information, but since you can’t unlock your Mac you have to recognize it by manufacturing year. Recent Macs have this chip: MacBook Air (2018 or later), MacBook Pro (2018 or later), mac Mini (2018 or later), Mac Pro (2019 or later), iMac (2020 or later), iMac Pro.
A. SMC Reset Sequence for Mac With T2 chip
- 1. Shut Down your Mac. Press & hold the Power button for 10 seconds.
- 2. Mac has to remain powered off. If it turned back on, shut it down again and repeat step 1.
- 3. Press & hold Control (ctrl) + Option (alt) + Shift (Right).
- 4. Hold them all for at least seven seconds and add the Power button while continuing to hold the initial keys.
- 5. Hold everything for seven more seconds before releasing them all.
Tip: That’s it. Press the Power button again to reboot your Mac and check if the admin password is now working!
- 3. Unplug the power cable for 15 seconds.
- 4. Reconnect the power cable and wait five seconds.
- 5. Press the Power button to restart your device.
On a MacBook:
On an iMac (desktop computer):
B. SMC Reset Sequence for Mac Without T2 chip
To reset the SMC on an older Mac, please use the sequence described here.
3. Add New Admin Account
Another troubleshooting option requires you to reset the administrator account. This can be done from the Terminal app. You can then assign admin privileges to the initial account and delete the new account that you used to fix the problem.
- Restart Mac using the Control (ctrl) + Command (cmd) + Power Button combo.
- Press & hold Cmd + R keycombo as your Mac restarts to enter Recovery mode.
- In the macOS Utility screen, click on Utilities (top of the screen) and select Terminal.
- Use the following Terminal command (replace ‘Macintosh HD’ with the name of your startup disk):
rm "/Volumes/Macintosh HD/var/db/.AppleSetupDone"
- Tap Enter to execute the command.
- Follow the on-screen info and create a new user account.
- Restart Mac and log-in to the newly created account and browse for Apple -> System Preferences -> Users & Groups.
- Click on the the padlock and type your password to perform edits.
- Select your initial account and enable the ‘Allow user to administer this computer’ setting.
- Restart Mac and sign back into your old account.
- Delete the newly created account for this fix, from the Users & Groups system preferences.
Did any of the tips listed above help you to fix admin password not working on macOS Big Sur? Use the comments section and let us know.
Related: Other problems encountered by users after updating to macOS Big Sur are:
– Touch Bar not displaying properly or not displaying at all.
– Black screen of death during macOS Big Sur update
– macOS Big Sur not enough space to upgrade