ARCHIVED: In Mac OS X, what is the Keychain, and how do I use it?

This content has been archived, and is no longer maintained by Indiana University. Resources linked from this page may no longer be available or reliable.

The Keychain consolidates various passwords and passphrases in one place and makes them accessible through a master password or passphrase. When an application (including the Finder) needs to access a password stored in the Keychain, the application asks you to unlock the Keychain if it's not already open.

Adding items to the Keychain

Many applications store their passwords in the Keychain automatically. You can also add file server passwords to the Keychain.

Applications that employ passwords (such as FTP clients and web browsers) must be written specifically to use the Keychain. Currently, Firefox does not support the Keychain for password-protected sites, but other web browsers do, as well as many FTP, SFTP, and email clients.

Keychain settings

To change the password and other settings for an existing Keychain:

  1. In the Finder, from the Go menu, select Utilities. In the Finder window that opens, double-click Keychain Access.
  2. From the Edit menu, select Change Settings for Keychain "[NAME]" or Change Password for Keychain "[NAME]" as appropriate, where [NAME] is the name of your Keychain.

For more about the Keychain, consult the built-in Mac Help, available from the Help menu of Keychain Access or the Finder.

This is document airp in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2018-01-18 12:33:15.

Contact us

For help or to comment, email the UITS Support Center.