How to Resolve Mac OS X Keychain Problems


The quickest way to reset your keychain in Mac OS X 10.4 or later:

  1. Open Keychain Access, which is in the Utilities folder within the Applications folder.
  2. From the Keychain Access menu, choose Preferences.
  3. Click General, then click Reset My Default Keychain.
  4. Authenticate with your account login password.
  5. Quit Keychain Access.
  6. Restart your computer.


Problem: When logging in, you receive a message that states:
"The system was unable to unlock your login keychain" alert after logging in"

Solution: This is expected after you change your university password. This happens because you have changed your password for university systems but not yet on the computer's hard drive. You should click "Update Keychain Password" and enter your old password, then your new one as prompted

Problem: You are constantly prompted to enter your "login" or "admin" keychain password

Cause: This usually occurs when your keychain password (set automatically when your user account was created on your computer) and your default keychain (usually "login") are no longer in-sync. This can be caused by changing your university password. Normally, this can be fixed automatically when you login (see above); if not, follow these instructions.

Solution 1: Update the login keychain:

1. Double-click Macintosh HD, double-click Applications, double-click Utilities, and double-click "Keychain Access".
2. From the edit menu select "Change password for keychain login".
3. You will be prompted to enter your Current Password - Your current keychain password is your old university password. Try entering that.
4. Use your current University password to fill out the other two boxes.

Note: If you are not sure what your Current Keychain Password is, try any passwords you used in the past or recently. If you are still unable to change your keychain password, follow the instructions in Solution 2, below.



Solution 2: Delete the "login" keychain.

WARNING: This will delete any items stored in the login keychain. However, if you cannot remember your keychain password, there is no way to access anything in the keychain, anyways.

1. Go to: Applications -> Utilities ->Keychain Access
2. Select the "login" keychain in the upper left corner. Note: you might have to click "Show keychains" in the lower left corner before you'll see a list of keychains
3. From the File menu select "Delete keychain 'login'"
4. When prompted select the "Delete keychain and Reference files" option
5. Log off and log back in. The login keychain should be recreated and it should no longer prompt you for a password.
6. You will need to add all your passwords onto your keychain again; if you wish to do this, as you access various resources with a username & password, check the box that says "save password on my keychain." This will add that password to your keychain for future use.

Problem: I keep getting prompted to unlock "Local Items" keychain on my Mac, how do I fix that?

Follow these steps to prevent prompts to unlock the Local Items keychain.
1. In Finder Select Go > Go to folder (⇧⌘G)
2. In the window that appears, type the following:
1. Click OK.
2. Look for a folder with a name similar to this "A8F5E7B8-CEC1-4479-A7DF-F23CB076C8B8".

Note: Each folder has a unique number.
3. Move this folder to the Trash.
4. Empty Trash.
5. Immediately choose Apple Menu () > Restart… to restart your Mac.
6. After restarting the computer, a new folder is created in the Keychains folder with a name similar to "4B29A0BB-599D-47FC-A2D1-42B5592B130B". This corrects the issue.


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