Setting Your Login Password

IMPORTANT: Your Mac must have a login password that is compliant with Cornell Policy 5.10, as follows:

  • At least 8 characters long
  • Contains 3 of the 4 following:
    • Uppercase Letters
    • Lowercase Letters
    • Numbers
    • Symbols
  • Does not include your NetID
  • Does not include your first or last name
  • Does not include character repetitions or common sequences (AAA, abc, cba, 123, qwerty)
  • May include dictionary words, but no single word of 5 letters or more can make up more than 40% of the entire password

Learn a few easy steps to creating a complex password that you can easily remember. See How to Choose a Strong NetID Password.

When you have created a password that meets all of the requirements, you may then set it as your computer's login password. To do this, follow these steps.

1. Open System Preferences. (If you do not know how to do this, please review the section of this guide titled "How to open System Preferences.")

2. Click on the "Users and Groups" icon under the "System" heading.

System Preferences dialog box

3. First, click the lock in the bottom left corner of the window to make changes. Enter your computer's username and password if necessary.
Next, click the "Change Password" button next to your user icon.
Finally, click the left arrow near the top to go back to the main System Preferences pane.

Change password

4. Next, you will need to create a second account that will serve as your administrator account. Click the "+" icon as shown below.

Create a second account

5. Select "Administrator" from the drop-down menu, and provide a name and password for the account. Make sure that the password you choose is not the same as the password for your personal account and is compliant with Cornell’s passwords strength guidelines. (You can check your password’s strength here:  Since you will log into the Administrator account, be sure to write down the password for it in a safe, secure location. Click “Create User” when you are finished.

Create an admin account

6. Select your personal account from the list on the left side of the window.
Deselect the checkbox labeled "Allow user to administer this computer."
Click the left arrow at the top of the window to return to the main System Preferences pane.

Admin account permissions

7. On the main preferences page, click "Security and Privacy" beneath the "Personal" heading.

Open Security and Privacy control panel

8. Click the lock at the bottom once again, and enter your computer’s username and password if necessary. Check the following boxes:

  • Require password immediately after sleep or screen saver begins
  • Disable automatic login
  • Require an administrator password to access system preferences with lock icons
  • Automatically update safe downloads list

Security and Privacy settings

9. You may now close the window.