Mac Tech Support
58.6K views | +16 today
Follow
 
Scooped by David Anders
onto Mac Tech Support
Scoop.it!

How to manage passwords with Keychain Access | Macworld

How to manage passwords with Keychain Access | Macworld | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Curious to know how you can better manage your passwords? Chris Breen provides tips and tricks for getting the most from OS X's Keychain Access.

  In what may seem like a step backward, we now juggle dozens of passwords. We have passwords for logging on to our Macs, accessing our iOS devices, checking our email, receiving instant messages and texts, purchasing real and virtual goods, yacking on social networking services, streaming music and movies—the list goes on and on.

  Fortunately, we no longer need to scribble down each and every password on a hunk of binder paper that we tape to our desks in plain sight. Our Macs can store these passwords and, in many cases, automatically fill them in when needed. But there’s more to know about passwords and the Mac's ability to store them than the simple fact that they exist. Here's a quick guide to what you can—and can’t—do with OS X’s passwords.

 

Keychains are key

  Ever since Mac OS 8.6, the Mac has managed passwords with Keychain, Apple’s password-management system. The Keychain Access application (/Applications/Utilities) is a front-end to that system. It stores a wide variety of items—including passwords for email, websites, servers, network shares, Wi-Fi networks, and encrypted disk images. Additionally, it can store secure notes, private keys, and certificates. Whenever you save a password—whether you're prompted by an application or you're saving a website’s password—it’s stored in the Mac’s keychain.

  The Mac places keychain files in multiple locations—/System/Library/Keychains, /Library/Keychains, and youruserfolder/Library/Keychains. Thankfully, the contents of these various keychain files are combined into Keychain Access, so that you needn't worry about where they're held.

  Launch Keychain Access, and you’ll see that the window is divided into three panes. The top-left pane lists keychains accessible to you. Below this is the Category pane. Here you can choose to view specific kinds of things stored in the keychain—passwords, secure notes, certificates associated with your account, encryption keys, and certificates used broadly by your Mac. The largest pane, to the right, displays the contents of selected category items—for example, all of the items that have a password associated with them. Except in the case of certificates, you can double-click on one of these items to open a window where you can view the item’s attributes—name, kind, associated account, location (a website or network address)—as well as its access control (meaning the applications and services allowed to access the item).

 

Recover passwords

  Keychain Access can do several useful things. For example, if you’ve forgotten a password and would like to recover it, Keychain Access is the place to go. To learn the identity of a password, select All Items or Passwords in the Category pane, then find the the item you want the password for and double-click it.

  Double-click a keychain item to locate the Show Password option.In the resulting window, enable the Show Password option. You’ll be prompted for the password for the login keychain. Enter that and click Allow, and the password will be revealed in the Password field.

  If you seek only to recover saved website passwords and are running Safari under Mountain Lion, your task is easier. Launch Safari, open Safari’s preferences, and click the Passwords tab. All the websites for which you’ve saved passwords in Safari will appear in a list. Enable the Show Passwords option and enter your login password when prompted. Passwords will be listed to the right of each site.

  You can also remove website passwords here. Just select the site you want to delete and click the Remove button. Or, to remove all remembered passwords, click Remove All.

 

Change the login keychain’s password

  When you first set up a user account, the login password used for that account is additionally assigned to the login keychain, where new passwords are stored by default. So you can simply enter the password you use with your account to uncover a keychain item's secrets.

  If there’s a flaw in the Keychain Access security setup, this is it. If someone knows your account’s password, they can access the items in this keychain and then discover your other passwords. If you’re concerned about that, you can easily change the password for the Login keychain.

  In Keychain Access select the login keychain and choose Edit > Change Password For Keychain "login". You’ll be prompted to enter your current password (the one you now use for your user account) and then enter and verify a new password. Do this, log out of your account and then back in; when the Mac needs to use one of the passwords stored in the login keychain, you’ll be prompted to enter it. As long as you’re logged in, you shouldn’t be troubled for that password again.

 

Auto-lock the keychain

  By default, once you’ve logged in, your keychain will be unlocked, which isn’t terribly secure if others can access your Mac when you’re not around. You can add a level of security that auto-locks your keychain. To do that, launch Keychain Access, select your login keychain, and choose Edit > Change Settings for Keychain “login”.

  The sheet that appears shows two options: 'Lock After X Minutes of Inactivity' and 'Lock When Sleeping'. If you choose the first option and configure it to read something like 5 minutes, your keychain will lock if it hasn’t been accessed in the last five minutes. If an application needs access to your keychain after that limit has expired, you’ll be prompted for your login keychain password. Additionally, enable the Lock When Sleeping option, and your keychain locks when your Mac goes to sleep (when you close your MacBook’s lid, for example). Click Save to implement the selected options.

 

If you forget

  You’ve changed the login keychain’s password and, regrettably, forgotten the new password. Is there any hope? Regrettably, no. Apple uses the Triple Digital Encryption Security standard (3DES) to secure the keychain. While not the most modern encryption scheme, it’s quite secure for everyday users—in this case, you. Unless you can recall your password, you’re out of luck and must start over. To begin that process, we’ll make a copy of the old keychain for safekeeping, in case you remember its password; we'll remove it from Keychain Access; and then we'll create a new login keychain that you’ll use in the future.

To do that, move to the Finder, select Go > Go to Folder, and enter ~/Library/Keychains. A Keychains folder containing your personal keychains will open. Locate the login.keychain file and drag it to a safe place on your Mac (the Documents folder, for example).

  Now launch Keychain Access and select the login item that appears in the Keychains pane. It should appear as an empty box, indicating that it’s missing from the Keychains folder. Choose File > Delete Keychain “login". In the sheet that appears, click Delete References.

  Deleting a keychain.Now choose File > New Keychain. In the resulting Save dialog box, name the new keychain login and save it to the default location (which is your account’s Keychains folder). You’ll be prompted to create and verify a password for this keychain. (Be sure to choose a password that you’ll remember this time.) From this point forward, passwords that you add will appear in this keychain. And, yes, you’ll have to reenter any passwords stored in the old keychain when prompted.

 Should the day come when your old password suddenly dawns on you, do this: In the Finder, open that Keychains folder and remove the current login.keychain file and put it in a safe place. Locate the old keychain whose password you’d forgotten and place it in this folder. Log out of your account and then back into it. In all likelihood you’ll be prompted for the password for your keychain by some startup item. When you are, enter the password and the keychain will be unlocked.

 

Share your login keychain

If you have multiple Macs, each one has its own login keychain with its own set of passwords. Wouldn’t it be great if each Mac had access to the same keychain? They can. Like so:

Make a copy of the login.keychain file inside the Keychains folder on the Mac that has the most complete set of passwords, and copy it to your other Macs. Remove the login.keychain file from each Mac’s Keychains folders and put it in a safe place in case something goes wrong. Place the copied login keychain file within the user’s Keychains folder. Log out and log back in. If your login password on the Mac you’re currently using is different than the one on this master Mac, you’ll be prompted for the login keychain’s password. Once you enter it, you should have access to the same passwords as that master Mac.

more...
No comment yet.
Mac Tech Support
Help for Apple Mac, iPhone, and iPad Problems
Curated by David Anders
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

How to switch from Mac to PC, part 6: Which Mac users should do it

How to switch from Mac to PC, part 6: Which Mac users should do it | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Switching from Mac to PC is a big deal, and some people should—and others shouldn't. Here's what to consider if you're on the fence.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

iCloud: About your @icloud.com, @me.com, and @mac.com email addresses

Depending on when you created your iCloud account, your iCloud email addresses and aliases may end with @icloud.com, @me.com, or @mac.com domains. Learn how these email addresses are granted.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

How to Use Windows to Restore Files from Time Machine Backup

How to Use Windows to Restore Files from Time Machine Backup | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
For quite some time now, Time Machine has been the go-to backup app for most Mac users. It's the heart of my personal backup system, and knowing I could recover
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

Target Display Mode not supported by new iMacs

Target Display Mode not supported by new iMacs | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
The new iMac can't be used as an external display for another Mac.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

How to reset your Mac's NVRAM, PRAM, and SMC 2017

How to reset your Mac's NVRAM, PRAM, and SMC 2017 | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
If you're experiencing weird glitches with your Mac, this troubleshooting step may help.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

The best USB drive

The best USB drive | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
These are the USB 3.0 flash drives you should be using to move your files. Fast, and cheap.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

Should You Buy Refurbished Electronics?

Should You Buy Refurbished Electronics? | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Ever wonder whether buying refurbished electronics is a safe bet? Consumer Reports has you covered with a how-to guide on getting your money's worth when buying refurbished laptops, smartphones, and more.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

Using app-specific passwords

App-specific passwords allow you to sign in to your account securely when you use apps that don’t natively support two-step verification or two-factor authentication.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

How to reinstall macOS when the startup volume was erased

How to reinstall macOS when the startup volume was erased | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
A reader preparing their Mac for sale has a well-meaning friend erase the startup volume.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

Apple CEO Tim Cook Makes Big Announcements At WWDC 2017 | TIME

Thousands of software developers, tech reporters and Apple fans are flocking to the San Jose Convention Center this week for WWDC, the iPhone maker's annua
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

How to back up and protect all your data

How to back up and protect all your data | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Whether you're using Windows or macOS, here's how to make sure you have backups of your most important files in case disaster strikes.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

Stolen Macbook Assistance

Stolen Macbook Assistance | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
I have a client with a MacBook that is MIA. We believe that it has been wiped and has had Mac OS X reinstalled. If it has an active internet connection is it possible to find it via seria
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

First Impressions of macOS 10.13 ‘High Sierra’

First Impressions of macOS 10.13 ‘High Sierra’ | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
The weeks following the Apple World Wide Developer Conference are always fun for tech bloggers and readers alike, as the first hands-on reports of how new
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

How to update to two-factor authentication for an iTunes-only Apple ID

How to update to two-factor authentication for an iTunes-only Apple ID | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Apple caused a quandary with its improved security method for those of us who use it only for purchases.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

How to Convert From PC to Mac Without Losing Your Data

How to Convert From PC to Mac Without Losing Your Data | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
You made the decision to move from your Windows PC to a Mac. There are a lot of great reasons to make the jump, and one nagging problem that many switchers
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

Unboxing of 2017 13″ MacBook Pro Base Model Shows Removable SSD

Unboxing of 2017 13″ MacBook Pro Base Model Shows Removable SSD | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Continuing the Rocket Yard's unboxing and teardown of the new Macs that Apple announced at WWDC 2017, we take a close look at the base model 2017 13-inch
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

Use FileVault to encrypt the startup disk on your Mac

FileVault full-disk encryption (FileVault 2) uses XTS-AES-128 encryption with a 256-bit key to help prevent unauthorized access to the information on your startup disk.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

Refurbished Apple MacBook Pro Laptops from OWC

Save money on a New Mac, Used Mac, or Refurbished Mac - Apple MacBooks, iMacs, minis, iPads, Mac Pro - from OWC. All Macs are fully backed by OWC's warranty and include a 14-day money back guarantee.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

5 things to do before giving an old iPhone or iPad to your kid

5 things to do before giving an old iPhone or iPad to your kid | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Don't hand over an aging iOS device to your eager youngster before doing a little kid-proofing first.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

USB 3.0 Type C vs. Thunderbolt vs. FireWire Drive Transfer Speed Comparison

USB 3.0 Type C vs. Thunderbolt vs. FireWire Drive Transfer Speed Comparison | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Speed is not a factor unless you often perform large file transfers, such as backing up the server or copying gigabytes of files. You should note that thes
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Anders
Scoop.it!

Four ways to delete iOS apps

Four ways to delete iOS apps | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Space is often at a premium on iPhones and iPads. That's why it makes sense to keep only those apps that you know you really want. Here's how to get rid of the ones you don't.
more...
No comment yet.