Most modern computers provide users all the conveniences possible. This will include remembering access details, like usernames and passwords from various services. A Mac OS X system will store passwords in an internal application called Keychain Access, which is used by different programs like the Safari Web browser and other applications that require access to a username and password.
The keychain also stores wireless keys for WiFi networks, webmail passwords, and others. If you want to secure your Mac from possible intrusions through on-site access, you will need to delete stored passwords from your system.
To delete stored passwords from your Mac, you will need access to Keychain Access. You have several ways of opening this application:
- Press CMD-Space or click the magnifying glass on the toolbar to bring up the Spotlight text box.
- Enter “Keychain Access” or even just “Keychain” and wait for the results to come up.
- Click on “Keychain Access.” Alternatively, you can press your cursor key until you select “Keychain Access.” Then press Return.
- Open a Finder window by clicking on the Finder icon at the Dock. If you already have a Finder window open, press Ctrl-N to open a new window.
- Click the Applications shortcut at the left shortcuts column.
- Open the “Utilities” folder.
- Double click “Keychain Access.”
In keychain access, you have the option to delete individual passwords or the entire record. To look for a password and delete it, do the following steps.
- Under the Category column, click Passwords.
- In the main column, look for the name or URL of the website or application for which you want to delete the password.
- Right click on the selection or CTRL-Click (if you have a one-button mouse or a trackpad). Alternatively, you can click Edit on the Menubar, and then select “Delete.”
- Select “Delete.”
- You will be asked to confirm whether you want to delete the password. Click the “Delete” button to confirm deletion.
Through Keychain Access, you can also retrieve information for sites you have forgotten the passwords for. Simply open the Keychain Access application as outlined above, and then look for the application or website under the “Passwords” category. Look for the name or URL, and then right-click the selection. Click the “Get Info” option.
You will see details for the website or application. Check the “Show password” checkbox. You will be prompted for your Keychain password. After entering your password, you will now be showed the password for that particular account or website.
Through Keychain Access, you can also lock down the system such that OS X will require a password from you in order to make further edits. Simply click the padlock icon to lock the login keychain.
Deleting a stored password can give you an added level of security when you need privacy in accessing websites. You may have inadvertently saved your password for your webmail or other online accounts. If this happens, you can delete passwords selectively, or you can delete everything in one go.