Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
For most of your accounts, your password is the only thing standing between a stranger and your most private data. It had better be a strong password, otherwise your privacy and integrity may be at risk.
When was the last time you updated the password on your computer, phone, or tablet? It may be time to do it right now – we explain how.
Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10
The following instructions are for Windows 7. They will work almost the same in Windows 8, 8.1, and 10, if you’re using a local account. If you’re using a Microsoft account to log into your computer, please refer to the next section.
Open the Control Panel. In Windows 7, the Control Panel may be listed in the Start Menu. In Windows 8, 8.1, and 10, right-click the Start Menu and select Control Panel from the list. Alternatively, in any version of Windows, press Windows key + R to launch the Run menu, enter Control Panel, and hit Enter.
In the Control Panel, navigate to User Accounts. In Windows 7, select Change your Windows password, followed by Change your password in the next window, and do just that.
If you’re using a local account on Windows 8, 8.1, or 10, click through to User Accounts (as seen in screenshot above), switch to Manage another account, re-select your Administrator account, then click Change your password, and do the obvious.
You can also enter a password hint and review Microsoft’s recommendations for creating a strong password. Click Change password when you’re done.
Should you ever lose access to Windows 7 or 8, we can show you how to reset your Windows Administrator password.
Recent Windows operating systems encourage users to sign in with their Microsoft account. Whether you’re logging into Windows 8, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10, changing the password has to be done online. Log into your Microsoft account, under Security & privacy click Change password, and follow the on-screen instructions. You can even force yourself to change your password every 72 days, a practice we highly encourage.
In Windows 8, 8.1, and 10 you can also access your Microsoft account through the Settings app. In Windows 8 and 8.1, swipe in from the right and select PC Settings. In Windows 10, press Windows Key + I to open Settings. Inside the Settings app, go to Users (Windows 8) or Accounts and click Change your password (Windows 8) or Update my Microsoft account, which will open the respective website.
Did you forget your password or was your account hacked? You may be able to recover your Microsoft account using Microsoft’s password reset or account recovery page. To avoid future hacks, be sure to enable two-step verification in addition to a secure password.
On Windows Phone, open the Settings app from the App list, tap on lock screen, and press the change password button. Enter your current password, followed by your new password, confirm the new password, then tap done to save your changes.
On OS X Lion and up, changing your password works like this:
Log into your computer with an administrator account. Expand the Apple menu, select System Preferences, and from the View menu, pick Users & Groups. Should the window be locked, click the lock button and enter your administrator password.
To change a password, select the user name, click the Reset Password or Change Password button, enter old and new passwords in the respective fields and click Change Password to save your changes.
Click on the key symbol next to the new password field to open the Password Assistant and receive help with creating a safe password.
Should you ever forget your administrator password, we have previously covered ways to reset your OS X account password.
On iOS for iPhone, iPad, and iPod, the device password is called passcode. To change your passcode, go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode (possibly just Passcode if your device does not have a Touch ID), if necessary tap Turn Passcode On, then tap Change Passcode, authenticate your old passcode, then enter your new four-digit passcode.
In any Linux distribution that uses sudo, start the Terminal and type the following command:
If prompted, authenticate with your current password, then enter your new UNIX password, repeat, and you’re done. Linux itself can help you generate a secure password.
On Linux distributions that do not use sudo, simply drop sudo from the command.
Need to reset your Linux password? This can be done with and without GRUB, the article in the previous link explains the details.
Open Settings and go to My device > Lock screen. Under Screen security select Screen lock, and pick a medium or high security login option. We recommend to use a password (high security) or a PIN (medium to high security).
If you’re worried about being locked out of your Android device, give TimePIN a try. This app changes the password according to your phone’s clock.
From your BackBerry’s Home screen, push through to Options > Password, open the menu, click Change Password, and follow the on-screen instructions.
To reset your forgotten BlackBerry ID password, enter your account email address here and follow the on-screen instructions. Alternatively, you can reset the password from your device. Click Forgot Password where you’re supposed to log in with your BlackBerry ID, answer the security question, and follow the on-screen instructions. A password reset email will be delivered to your computer or device, respectively. Follow the instructions to reset your password.
Change Your Password Now
Now you know how to activate and change your device passwords.
We highly recommend that you use unique passwords for all your accounts. We know it’s impossible to remember them all, but a password manager can help. We also recommend that you regularly change your passwords, especially when news about password leaks or data breaches are making the rounds. Password managers like LastPass or Dashlane can change passwords automatically.
How often do you change your device passwords, how do you ensure they’re secure, and how do you remember them? Are there any device passwords we forgot? Tell us how to change them in the comments!