Create A Macos Password App

mocOS 10.15 Catalina is 64-bit only. The other options listed still work.

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Are you tired of trying to come up with a unique and memorable password? Not entirely happy with Safari’s auto-generated passwords? Well, you may not be aware of this, but your Mac has a potent password generator built right in called Password Assistant. Its location is not very obvious, and you need to dig a little bit to get to it, but it’s well worth it!

The Problem – My Memory

Let’s play a quick game of “Would You Rather.” If you haven’t played it before, it’s very simple. Just follow my lead…

Would you rather have to deal with a password similar to one of these:
5J2i-IBcU-xwn7, 8b4,O26cpxX{z[, LSLZ-fBVc-olD6, or 1j1V?#gSBuvYvG?

Or would you rather something more like:
Layton307.fans, tacos520[snout, roams18(verify, or tasty123flows?

Let’s face it – some passwords are easier to work with than others, especially when it comes to our short-term memory. And were I to be completely honest, my short-term memory is growing ever shorter as my years are growing ever longer!

Sometimes I find myself having to look up a password, whether in Keychain Access (the macOS app that stores passwords and account information) or 1Password (my 3rd party password manager of choice). And sometimes, all I want is to quickly generate a password that is both unique and memorable without using too much brainpower. Now, I can glance at Layton307.fan and remember it just long enough to quickly type it in somewhere, but not so much with 8b4,O26cpxX{z[. I’d be continually toggling between windows, processing only a few characters at a time, and proofing myself along the way.

I need to use something functional and straightforward to set my mind—and memory—at ease.

The Solution – Password Assistant

Create A Macos Password Apps

I find the Password Assistant app in macOS to be an excellent solution. It is flexible, powerful, and easy to use – perfectly suited for generating a password I can remember for 5 seconds! Here is where to find it, and how to use it:

  1. Open a new finder window and navigate to Applications > Utilities, or hit ⇧⌘U (shift + command + U) to open your Utilities folder.
  2. Launch the application called Keychain Access.
  3. Create a new Password Item by either hitting ⌘N, selecting “New Password Item…” from the File menu, or clicking the plus sign (+) in the upper-left corner. We’re not going to actually create a new item to store, just fake it so we can access the password generator.
  4. Ignoring everything else in the pop-up window, click on the key icon to the right of the password field.

Viola! Password Assistant opens up and is ready to help!

Five Areas in Password Assistant

  1. Type allows you to choose from:
    • Manual – input your own password and find out how strong it is.
    • Memorable – combinations of words, symbols, and numbers that are easy to remember.
    • Letters & Numbers – random letters, not words, are interlaced with numbers.
    • Numbers Only – like the says, it’s just a bunch of random digits.
    • Random – the most secure, consisting of random letters, numbers, and symbols.
    • FIPS-181 compliant – an ancient (in computer terms) Automated Password Generator protocol from 1993. Feel free to geek out on the document “Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 181” in your leisure time.
  2. is what Password Assistant generates based on your criteria. Clicking on the arrow to the right of the field displays a list of the most recent recommendations for the selected type. Useful if you want to generate a few before deciding which one to keep.
  3. Length is the number of characters used. The longer your password is, the more secure it will be.
  4. Quality shows how strong the suggested password is.
  5. Tips will change based upon what “Type” you choose.

Because we are looking to create a memorable password, choose “Memorable.”

Dragging the “Length” slider will increase or decrease the number of characters used. Notice how the quality changes. For example, though easier to remember, [email protected] at eight characters is not quite as secure as depurators675”anthropomorphizes at 31 characters. Go figure.

Create A Macos Password App

Most of the time, I stick to 14 characters. That generally seems to be the breakpoint between a “good” and an “excellent” memorable password.

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If you need to paste the password somewhere that allows that functionality (not every password field does), select and copy it with a quick ⌘C or select “Copy” from the Edit menu. Otherwise, head back to where you need to input the password and type it in manually. It should be easy enough to remember, which has been the whole point of this exercise!

You can now safely close the Password Assistant window and click “Cancel” on the fake Keychain Item we created.

It’s that simple! Coming up with an easy-to-remember password isn’t always easy, but having a native tool like Password Assistant certainly does help. However, it would be nice to have a shortcut or interface to run the app without having to drill down through Keychain Access. I haven’t stumbled across one yet, but if anyone has, let us know!

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App-specific passwords are passwords for your Apple ID that let you sign in to your account and securely access the information you store in iCloud from a third-party app. For example, use app-specific passwords with mail, contacts, and calendar services not provided by Apple. App-specific passwords maintain a high level of security and help ensure your Apple ID password won’t be collected or stored by any third-party apps you use.

If you are signed in to iCloud for Windows, you don't need an app-specific password when using your Apple ID with third-party Microsoft apps.

To generate and use app-specific passwords, your Apple ID must be protected with two-factor authentication.

You also need an app-specific password for your devices that use Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5 and earlier or iOS 5 and earlier. If you don’t have devices that can be updated to iOS 9 or later or OS X El Capitan or later, you can set up two-step verification and generate app-specific passwords.

How to generate an app-specific password

  1. Sign in to your Apple ID account page.
  2. In the Security section, click Generate Password below App-Specific Passwords.
  3. Follow the steps on your screen.

After you generate your app-specific password, enter or paste it into the password field of the app as you would normally.

How to manage app-specific passwords

Create A Macos Password Application

At any given time, you can have up to 25 active app-specific passwords. If you need to, you can revoke passwords individually or all at once.

  1. Sign in to your Apple ID account page.
  2. In the Security section, click Edit.
  3. In the App Specific Passwords section, click View History.
  4. Click next to a password you want to delete, or Revoke All.

Reset Macos Password

After you revoke a password, the app using that password will be signed out of your account until you generate a new password and sign in again.

Create A Macos Password App Free

Any time you change or reset your primary Apple ID password, all of your app-specific passwords are revoked automatically to protect the security of your account. You'll need to generate new app-specific passwords for any apps that you want to continue using.