How to find Wi-Fi Network passwords on your Mac

BY Osas Obaizamomwan

Published 9 Aug 2015

Your password is the virtual key used to lock and unlock your computer, bank account, Facebook login, or Wi-Fi network. With so many passwords floating around in your head it’s pretty commonplace to forget which one is which. Apple designed iCloud Keychain to make accessing all of your passwords across all of your devices pretty easy. But you can access your Wi-Fi passwords just using Terminal as well.

How to find Wi-Fi Network passwords on your Mac

Open Terminal in Applications -> Utilities, or type Command (⌘) + space bar to open Spotlight and launch Terminal.

Spotlight - Terminal

Step 1.

To access your Wi-Fi password you’ll need your Administrator username, your computer password, and the name of the Wi-Fi network for which you need the password.

Inside of Terminal, copy and paste the following command:

security find-generic-password -ga “WiFiNAME” | grep “password:”

Where it says, “WiFiNAME” enter in the name of the network that you are seeking the password. So, if your network name was Bille Jean, your command line would look like this:

security find-generic-password -ga “Bille Jean” | grep “password:”

Step 2.

Press return/enter and you will be prompted to enter in your username and password. This is the username and password for your computer.

Admin Password - Mac

This information is used to gain access to your Keychain and provide the password you’re looking for. When your information is entered in, click Allow. Terminal will reveal the password of the network below your previously entered command.

Terminal - Wifi

It should be noted that you can only access Wi-Fi passwords that you have previously used. You cannot gain access to a Wi-Fi network that your computer was never connected to. Basically, if you know the name of a network that you previously connected to with a password stored on your computer, you can access it following the steps above.

For Windows users you’ll use the Command Prompt. Open the command prompt as the administrator. Type cmd in the Run box, and right-click the command prompt icon and choose “Run as Administrator”. Enter the following command:

netsh wlan show profile name=WiFiNAME key=clear

Replace WiFiNAME with the name of your Wi-Fi network.  Hit Enter and the password will appear under the Security Setting section.

Let us know how it goes in the comments.