Are you unable to login to your user account after your Mac went into automatic sleep mode?

It happened to me, I left my MacBook Pro for a minutes, came back, and was surprised that my password didn’t work. I tried again, again, again… you get the picture. I was 100% sure my password was right, and I had not changed it. What was going on? Had I been hacked? No, the answer was simple.

Here’s how I solved it:

It turns out that since I had been doing some web development work for a foreign client, I had changed my Mac’s input source language to Czech to be able to use their accented characters (such as š, í, and ě) for a website).

Various Mac Input Source Languages

Different input sources on a Mac.

Let’s move on. I don’t keep it a secret that my password has some numbers in it, and on a default Czech keyboard, the number buttons are primarily the characters I mentioned above — to get a number, you have to hold down Shift.

Default Cyech Keyboard Layout mac

The Czech language keyboard layout on a Mac.

Luckily, I was able to remember which input source language I had switched to before I left my Mac and it went into sleep. The solution is simple: try to remember what input source you changed to, and find out what keyboard layout it has. Then type your password as it would be in that language, and hopefully it should work.

How do you avoid something like this happening again? For example, if the input source would have been Russian, there’s no way I could have logged in (with nothing but letters like зпрцд, and я at my disposal).

Note: click any of the thumbnails below to see a larger version of the screenshot.

  1. Open up System Preferences:

    System Preferences on a Mac.

  2. When it opens, click on Users & Groups:

    Select Users & Groups

  3. Once you’re there, on the bottom-left of the screen click Login Options, and when that opens, click the lock icon and enter your password to make changes:

    Unlock Login Options for Users & Groups

  4. When all the greyed-out fields become active, make sure to check the box next to “Show Input menu in login window”:

    Show Input menu in login window

  5. Next time, when you try login or wake your computer from sleep, you’ll see a flag in the top-right corner of the screen, where you change the input source to suit that of your password… you’ll need that until Apple fixes this.
Please let me know if this worked for you, and if you have any suggestions for this guide.