No, Facebook won’t email you your password. If they do security correctly, they can’t. (Here’s why.)
There are two approaches to try: the official way, and the not-so-official way. Even if you don’t use the not-so-official way, you should know about it, as it represents another potential security threat.
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
The only legitimate way to get your password reset it to follow Facebook’s own instructions for account recovery. This will use the account recovery information you’ve set up beforehand to confirm you’re authorized to gain access. If you didn’t set up beforehand, or no longer have access to the recovery accounts or numbers, this is a serious problem and may prevent you from recovering your account. One last resort is to have your browser show you the password it remembered for you, if you had enabled that feature.
Facebook login password reset
(Note that the steps here change occasionally, based on Facebook’s own changes as well as the specifics of your situation. Simply follow the steps as they’re presented to you by Facebook, even if they are slightly different than what I’ve outlined here.)
If you know you don’t know your password, you need to recover your account. Just below the login password entry field on Facebook’s sign-in page is a link: Forgot account?
Click that, and you’ll be taken to a page where you can enter the email address or phone number associated with your account.
You’ll then be presented with a list of account recovery options associated with your account.
Select the one you want to use and click Continue. In the example above, I have only an alternate email address configured, so I have no other choice.
No longer have access to these?
You’ll note a link entitled “No longer have access to these?” Click it if you know you no longer have access to the recovery methods you had originally associated with your Facebook account.
This is a serious problem.
You only want Facebook to give access to those who are authorized to have it, but they need a way to prove that. Your account recovery information is that proof. Without it, Facebook has no way to confirm you are the rightful owner of the account and should be allowed access.
Without it, Facebook won’t give you access, and in the worst case, may even elect to disable your account.
Setting a new Facebook password
Assuming you do have access to the recovery account or method you’ve selected, Facebook will send you a code.
In my example, it showed up in email.
Enter the code as requested and click on Continue.
Having proven you are the rightful account owner, you’re asked to select a new password.
That’s the official and proper way to regain access to your account: by proving you can respond to the password recovery methods you set up originally, and then set a new password.
Facebook password recovery
If you want to recover your existing password, I need to make it clear that you might not be able to.
That being said, if you’ve had your browser remember the password for you then it might be frighteningly easy.
I’ll use Firefox as my example, but most browsers have similar functionality.
Click on the “hamburger” menu at the right end of the Firefox toolbar, and then click on Options (or Preferences, depending on your version). Use the search box in the resulting page to search for “password”, and when it appears, click on Saved Logins...
This will open a window listing all of the sites where Firefox saved your password. Click Show Passwords.
After a little extra paranoia:
The Saved Passwords dialog box updates with an extra column — the actual password — visible for all to see.
Naturally, I’ve blurred my password here; in reality, it’s clear as day.
All of this assumes you’ve allowed your browser to save your passwords for you. If you have not, this technique will not work.
If your browser can show you your passwords:
- Go ahead and feel relieved if you were able to recover your Facebook password this way.
- Be very, very scared.
If you allow your browser to save passwords, then anyone with access to your machine can do what we just did: use this technique to discover all your saved passwords.
This is one reason I don’t recommend letting your browser remember passwords. If you feel you must, make absolutely certain your machine is always secure.
After you’ve recovered your account — or after you’ve determined that it cannot be recovered — I strongly recommend you read my article 12 Steps to Keep from Getting Your Account Hacked. You’ll want to do everything you can to avoid this situation again. Be it due to forgetting a password or to having had your account hacked, that article will help you set things up securely to prevent it from happening again.
If you found this article helpful I’m sure you’ll also love Confident Computing! My weekly email newsletter frequently covers issues like account security, password recovery, and how to prevent disasters that might cause you to lose access to your account permanently. It’s full of articles helping you solve problems, stay safe, and give you more confidence with technology. Subscribe now, and I’ll see you there soon,