Keychain Access is an app built-in to all computers running macOS. This is where account passwords, wi-fi passwords, application certificates, and more are stored. This is a good place to find saved passwords if you ever forget them. 

To access Keychain Access on your computer:

  1. Open the Applications folder
  2. Open the Utilities folder
  3. Open Keychain Access

There are 4 main keychains you will see:

  1. login: The login keychain stores any passwords, certificates, etc that your account needs
  2. iCloud: The iCloud keychain is everything synced in your iCloud Keychain
  3. System: The System keychain is where system passwords are stored
  4. System Roots: This is where system certificates are stored

Keychain Access will look something like this: 


Note: Your 'login' keychain password is the same as your login password unless you specifically changed the password for your keychain in Keychain Access or if you change the password for your macOS user account when the Keychain is locked. 


While in Keychain Access, find the item you wish to view and double-click it.

To view the password associated with it, click the check next to 'Show Password' and enter your keychain password. 


While viewing an item in Keychain Access, you can edit it. Click into any of the fields to make changes. Once you're finished, click Save Changes

To delete a keychain item, right-click it and choose Delete from the menu. In the pop-up, click Delete

To add a keychain item, go to the File menu at the top of the screen and choose the type of item you wish to create. 


To add a Password Item:

  1. Keychain Item Name: A recognizable name for the account you're adding
  2. Account Name: The username for the account you're adding
  3. Password: The password for the account you're adding
  4. When you're finished, click Add


To add a Secure Note Item:

  1. Keychain Item Name: A name for your note
  2. Note: The content of your secure note
  3. When you're finished, click Add

Keychain Access prompts for a password whenever I log in

This is commonly caused by changing the password for your account when your keychain is locked. 

You will need to enter the old password for your account to unlock your keychain. 

If you don't know the password for your keychain, you will need to reset it. This will erase everything in your local and iCloud keychains. 

  1. Open Keychain Access
  2. Go to the Keychain Access menu and select Preferences
  3. Click Reset My Default Keychains
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Last updated: 
May 12, 2020