2023 Update: 5 Ways to Remove Password from PDF on Mac

Megan Charles
August 30, 2023 Preview 90.6K Preview 5
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We add password to a PDF to protect our privacy, especially for those highly confidential documents, like a PDF bank statement, a PDF password is necessary. But we may easily forget the PDF passwords. Or the password encrypted PDF was created by your former colleague and you don’t know the password…In these cases, you will need to remove password from PDF.

Here in this tutorial, we will show you 5 best ways to remove password from PDF on mac with or without password, no matter the PDF is owner password encrypted or user password protected. 


Easy Way to Remove Unknown Password from PDF Mac

In most cases, we just forget, even don’t know (but have legal access to) the PDF password and hope to remove PDF password protection without password. Then a professional PDF password remover for mac will be needed to remove the unknown password.

There are numerous apps available to remove protected PDF password, but Cisdem PDF Password Remover is the one on the top of my list. It is not only designed to helps users directly remove the password and restrictions from an user-password encrypted PDF without input the password, but also enables users to unlock PDF on mac even when they forgot the user password. In other words, no matter your PDF file is added with an owner password or user password, Cisdem PDF password Remover, with its intuitive interface and versatile function, will be your professional assistant in this field.

How to Remove Unknown Owner Password from PDF on Mac?

  1. Download and Install the PDF Password Remover for Mac.
    It is stand-alone application with a high compatibility with Adobe readers, also it is small in size and won’t clutter your Mac. 
    Free Download macOS 10.13 or later  Free Download Windows 11/10/8/7
  2. Import Password-Protected PDF Files to the program.
    Drag&Drop owner password encrypted PDF files or directly add files as it instructs into the main interface. It supports batch removing owner password from PDFs on mac.remove pdf password on mac with cisdem 02
  3. Remove Owner Password Protection from PDF on Mac Instantly.
    Once you have added the encrypted PDF into Cisdem PDF Password Remover for Mac, click "Remove", you will get an equivalent PDF without and restrictions, and the secured pdf is unlocked.remove password from pdf on mac with cisdem 03

How to Remove Unknown User Password from PDF on Mac?

  1. Download and Install the PDF Password Remover for Mac. 
  2. Import user Password-Protected PDF Files to the program.
    Drag&Drop user password encrypted PDF files into the main interface, it will show the PDF with a lock icon and a red lock with setting icon in the right. Click the red lock icon, either enter the user password if you know or just let the app to unlock the PDF without a password.remove pdf password from user password protected PDF
  3. Go to the settings of Cisdem PDF Password Remover as follows.
    You can check or fill in the above options like, password length, additional characters, etc. By doing so, you will save a lot of decryption time.tweak the setting to remove pdf password
  4. Once the unknown user password is decrypted, click Remove to delete the unknown user password from your PDF on Mac.

Also you can refer to following YouTube video tutorial:


Remove Known Owner & User Password from PDF with Mac Preview

When working on a Mac, Preview can be deemed as the best free PDF Password Remover for mac. With several clicks, you will get the PDF password protection removed instantly. But it can only remove known password from a encrypted PDF.

How to Remove Known Password from PDF on Mac with Preview?

  • Step 1. Open the password-protected PDF document with Preview, you will be asked to enter the password.remove password preview 01
  • Step 2. Go to “File” and choose “Print”.remove password preview 02
  • Step 3. Save as PDF format. remove password preview 03
  • Step 4. In the Security Options, make sure there is no password added to the file. Click OK to remove password protection in Preview.remove password preview04

Remove Known Password from PDF on Mac with Adobe Acrobat

Speaking of PDF, Adobe always comes first into our mind, for the reason that PDF was a proprietary format controlled by Adobe and later officially released as an open standard. So, Adobe Acrobat, as a matter of course, is a good PDF password remover for mac users to get protected files unlocked. However, like Preview, it can remove known password from a PDF only.

How to Remove Known Password from PDF on Mac with Adobe?

  1. 1st Open the password protected PDF with Adobe Acrobat. If there is an open password, enter it to open the file.adobe remove password 01
  2. Go to Tools>Protect.adobe remove password 02
  3. Then go to Advanced Options>Remove security, enter password and click OK to remove an known password from your PDF on mac.adobe remove password 03


Recommended PDF Password Remover for Mac

In our first solution to remove password protection from PDF on Mac, we recommend our users to turn to the program Cisdem PDF Password Remover because it is really the one performs outstandingly in this field. Of course, there are 3 alternative PDF password removers for Mac.

#1 iPubsoft PDF Password Remover for Mac

iPubsoft PDF Password Remover for mac has served to remove pdf password protection since 2009, it is both available for Mac and Windows version. The program is designed to remove owner password directly without entering the password, also to remove user password only if you can enter the correct user password. 

But the largest problem of iPubsoft PDF Password Remover for Mac lies in its discontinued upgrade, the latest release was on 08/13/2012, users who are using MacOS 10.10 or newer will have problems to use even launch the program.

ipubsoft pdf password remover

#2 iStonsoft PDF Password Remover for Mac

iStonsoft PDF Password Remover nearly shares everything in common with iPubsoft PDF Password Remover, in terms of UI, features and process. It also offers Mac and Windows versions and the latest Mac version only supports MacOS 10.12 or earlier.

Still, it can remove owner password protection directly, but require the user password to remove the user password protection, without the corrent user password, you won’t be able to unlock the PDF.

istonsoft pdf password remover

#3 Wondershare PDF Password Remover for Mac

With a neat and stylish interface, Wondershare PDF Password Remover allows users to do the password removal in a quite easy way. It supports to remove owner password directly, but still requires entering the correct password to remove the protection from an user password.

It is both available for Mac and Windows platform. Yet, same problem like other pdf password remover, the latest Mac version is for MacOS 10.12 and earlier.

wondershare password remover

To have a closer look at the difference between these 3 alternatives and Cisdem PDF Password Remover for Mac, please refer to following table:

  Supported MacOS Remove Owner PW Directly Remove Known User PW Remove Forgotten User PW Unlock Speed Batch Support
Cisdem PDF Password Remover MacOS Ventura and earlier Yes Yes Yes Fast Yes
Wondershare PDF Password Remover MacOS 10.12 or earlier Yes Yes No Fast Yes
iStonsoft PDF Password Remover MacOS 10.9 or earlier Yes Yes No Medium Yes
iPubsoft PDF Password Remover MacOS 10.12 or earlier Yes Yes No Medium Yes

So, as you can see, Cisdem PDF Password Remover for Mac is probably the only one that can remove both owner and user password protection, even if you have forgotten the user password, also the one among few to work on the latest MacOS Ventura. That’s no wonder, Cisdem PDF Password is picked as the best PDF Password Remover for Mac by so many users.


Remove Password from PDF with Online Sites

If you are looking for a way to remove PDF password with online sites, we recommend iLovePDF. It is totally free to use and it requires no email for downloading the unlocked PDF. 

It works well with most of the owner password protected PDF files. you just need to upload the PDF file and it will remove the password in just seconds. If you have user password protected PDF. this online site can only handle simple users password protected PDF files. like 3 to 6 digits password only. if you PDF have password longer than 6 digit, or have special symbols, the online will fail to remove the password and it will take forever to decrypt. In this case, you’d better try with Cisdem PDF Password Remover.

Step 1. Go to https://www.ilovepdf.com/unlock_pdf
Step 2. Click Select PDF file to add your locked PDF files.

unlock pdf online 01

Step 3. After file uploading, click unlock PDF to start removing password from PDF files.

Step 4. Wait for the online site to process and removing the PDF password, when it ready download the unlocked PDF file.


Extended: Can I Remove Password from PDF on Mac with Terminal or Adobe Reader?

#1 Can I Remove Password from PDF with Mac Terminal

Maybe, but you are not recommended to do so.

Actually, I tried the steps on Internet to remove password from PDF with Mac Terminal. It requires you to install qpdf and brew to run the command lines. I installed the both tools, but when running commands, it requires me to install another tool called X-code to run the lines. And then I get repeated error message in Mac Terminal. So, I quit.

Even if you have make the command lines run well, it is far too complicated to remove a password from PDF with Terminal, it is just not necessary to do so.

#2 Can I Remove Password from PDF with Adobe Reader for Mac?

No, you can not, you have to subscribe Adobe Acrobat to use its Protect tool.

Adobe Acrobat Reader can only open, view, bookmark, print, annotate your PDF files, you can enter PDF password to view or print the file, but you cannot remove the security settings without buying Adobe Acrobat.


What is the Difference Between PDF User Password and PDF Owner Password

There are 2 types of PDF password, user password and owner password. 

PDF User Password: Also named PDF open password. which restrict you access to open PDF files. Many PDF files share online are locked with this kindle password. Thus you can download and get the PDF files, but you just cannot open it with the right password. Most of the online PDF password remover don’t support removing this kindle of password. If you have this kind of PDF, you'd better use a PDF Password Remover software.

PDF Owner Password: Also named PDF Permissions Password. which set restrictions on what you can do with a PDF file. This include editing, printing, copying, etc. In this case you can open and read the PDF file, but you are not allowed to copy, modify or print the PDF files. Most of the PDF password removal tools supports removing this kind of protection. So unlocking a PDF with owner password is much easier than that with a user password.



There may be more option to remove pdf password protection on a Mac, but the most efficient way is always turning to an expert. And for this reason, I recommend you to invest in a third-party app like Cisdem PDF Password Remover for Mac to remove the PDF password.

Megan Charles
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Megan has an impressive deal of experience with Mac software and has the ability to explain tech stuff in a simplified, straightforward and easy to understand way.

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Comments (5) Leave a Reply

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  • Howard Cotter

    I tried online tools at the beginning, but went nowhere. It seems that offline programs are the best way out, they allow to remove both user and permission password.

    4 years ago Reply

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  • Andrew

    I feel 3rd party ones are better, they are fast to run, good at bringing satisfying results.

    7 years ago Reply

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  • Jonny

    Come here to say thank you. I manged to remove the password from downloaded web PDF with your tool, it is really great and saved me. Thanks again.

    7 years ago Reply

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  • Gina

    You mean the app can find back forgotten pw? Oh, that's really cool cuz I got a bad memory here.

    7 years ago Reply

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  • Elisa Swift

    Thanks for sharing, I tried and it worked, really useful.

    7 years ago Reply

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