Mac OS X Keychain

The most irritating thing that can happen in Mac OS X is a keychain error. When Mac OS X Keychain issues arise here are some simple tips that can hopefully resolve your Keychain login error.

The first thing to do is launch Keychain Access found under Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities > Keychain Access. What is Keychain Access? Keychain Access is a Mac OS X management tool for Keychain, a repository for passwords, permissions and security information. There are two main reasons for using Keychain Access; to access passwords that you’ve forgotten and to gain access to stored security information such as PINs and credit card numbers.

Finding a Password

  1. 1. In Keychain Access find the application item whose password you’ve forgotten. You can do this by either by scrolling through the list or searching for it in the search box on the top right of the window.
  2. 2. Double-click the application item.
  3. 3. Check the Show Password box in the dialog that opens. A dialog will appear asking you to authenticate with your account username and login password and (it’s the same as your log in password).
  4. 4. The password will be displayed.



Keychain Errors


To resolve a keychain error dialog associated with the launch of login item or application such as Safari or Firefox try Keychain First Aid.

  1. 1. From the Keychain Access menu, choose Keychain First Aid.
  2. 2. Repair the Keychain by authenticating with your account login password and select whether you want to Verify or Repair.
  3. 3. If you want to start by verifying first to see what trouble might be, simply select Verify and click Start.
  4. 4. To repair Select Repair and Click Start.


If Keychain First Aid finds an issue that it cannot repair, or if you do not know your keychain password, you may need to reset your keychain. (Resetting a keychain sets aside the original default keychain file and creates a new one.)

Resetting the Keychain


With Keychain Access already open reset your Mac OS X 10.4, or Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, or later keychain using these steps:

  1. 1. From the Keychain Access menu, choose Preferences.
  2. 2. Click Reset My Keychain, which is under the General pane.
  3. 3. Authenticate with your account login password.
  4. 4. Quit Keychain Access.
  5. 5. Restart your computer.


To reset your keychain in Mac OS X 10.3 through Mac OS X 10.3.9:

  1. 1. From the Window menu in the Finder, choose Keychain First Aid.
  2. 2. Click on Options…
  3. 3. Under the General pane Click Reset My Keychain.
  4. 4. Authenticate with your account login password.
  5. 5. Quit Keychain Access.
  6. 6. Restart your computer.


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