When you connect your Mac to a Wi-Fi network and enter its password, it will be saved so that you don’t have to re-enter the password every time you want to connect to that network. In this way, whenever your Mac is within the range of a known Wi-Fi network, it will get connected automatically. Most other devices, including iOS devices, work in a similar manner.
Since you’re not required to enter the Wi-Fi password every time you connect, you’d most probably forget the password as time passes on. This becomes problematic when you have to re-enter the Wi-Fi password on another device or share it with a friend.
Fortunately, Mac saves your Wi-Fi passwords to the Keychain, which is a secure and reliable password management tool for macOS. You can easily obtain your saved Wi-Fi passwords with Keychain Access.
Another alternative would be to use Terminal to view your saved Wi-Fi passwords, which is usually recommended for advanced users and people who are familiar with UNIX commands.
In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to access and view your saved Wi-Fi passwords on Mac using either Keychain Access or Terminal.
How to View Your Wi-Fi Password Using Keychain Access
On your Mac, press the Cmd+Space keys to bring up Spotlight, then search and open Keychain Access.
In the sidebar, click on System, then select Passwords from the Category section.
On the right, you’ll find a list of all the saved Wi-Fi passwords. Find your Wi-Fi network in the list, then double-click on it to open.
Tick the box that says Show password.
Enter your Mac’s password as prompted, then press the OK button.
You can now view your Wi-Fi’s password next to the Show password box. Take note of the Wi-Fi password so that you won’t forget it again.
How to View Your Wi-Fi Password Using Terminal
In addition to the Keychain Access method shown above, you can also use Terminal to view your saved Wi-Fi passwords. If you’re not familiar with Terminal and any of its commands, then I would recommend that you follow the previous method as it’s much easier and safer. Otherwise, here’s how you can view your WiFi password using Terminal.
Press Cmd+Spacebar keys to bring up Spotlight, then search and open Terminal.
Enter the following command in Terminal, then press Enter:
security find-generic-password -ga “NameOfWiFi” | grep “password:”
You have to replace “NameOfWiFi” with the exact name of your WiFi network. For instance, if your Wi-Fi’s name is “Cisco”, then the command would look like this:
security find-generic-password -ga “Cisco” | grep “password:”
A prompt will appear to enter your Mac’s username and password. Go ahead and enter them, then press the Allow button.
Terminal will now display the password of your Wi-Fi network.
It’s as simple as this to view the saved Wi-Fi passwords on your Mac. If at any time you forget your Wi-Fi’s password, then you can use either of the methods above to obtain your password again.
Keep in mind that you can only view the password of Wi-Fi networks to which you’ve connected previously. As mentioned earlier, these passwords are saved in Keychain on your Mac, which is why you can easily view them.
Note: You cannot obtain the password of a Wi-Fi network that you’ve never connected before.