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How to Clear Keychain on Mac

Posted by Arch on August 22, 2019
how to clear keychain on mac

Keychain Access is an app on macOS devices that stores your account information and passwords, reducing the amount of information that you have to remember and manage. However, by default, if you happen to change your password, the keychain will still remember the old pass. This can be very frustrating, so knowing how to clear your Keychain can be a very useful thing.

Benefits of Keychain Access

While default password storage options included with browsers do their jobs well, Keychain Access is more than that.  Whenever you try and access a website, network server, email account, and even other pass-protected items (various apps), the Keychain Access app will give you the option to save the password. All saved passwords will be safely tucked away inside the app.

Keychain Access safely stores and retrieves your passwords, user names, and other info. This means that you can make passwords more complex, which means even more account safety. You will, however, have to remember a particular master password, and that is the login pass for your computer. If someone gains access to your Mac, they will gain access to Keychain Access, too.

Keychain Access, being a Mac app, can sync up with iCloud keychain, an app that lets you share keychains, cross-device. This is very important if you want to access your accounts from other computers, on the go. With iCloud keychain, Keychain Access is always available to you.

how to clear keychain

Why Clear the Keychain?

With such a great, useful, secure, and well-functioning app, you may wonder why you’d ever want to clear the passwords and info stored in it. Well, sometimes, people forget their passwords. Surely this has happened to you in the past. Alternatively, you may have undergone a security breach and want to change every password you have.

Clearing your keychain means deleting a set of safely stored account information. This is often done when switching email addresses and the entire process is very simple and straightforward. People also do this when they sell or give away their Mac.

Don’t Delete Just yet

When you change a password, the Keychain app should prompt you to replace the old password with a new one. However, if it doesn’t, you’ll have to do it manually. You don’t have to delete your entire list of passwords in the Keychain app (unless you want to). Don’t go for deleting your entire set of Keychain information if it doesn’t update a single password automatically.

First, you should try running the Keychain’s Repair Tool. Do this by going to your /Applications/Utilities folder and running Keychain from there. From the menu bar, choose Keychain Access, followed by Keychain First Aid. Enter the required info and click Repair then Start for any problem involved. If the problem persists, you may want to consider clearing Keychain Access.

Deleting a Keychain

A keychain is an encrypted container used to store passwords and account names for servers, app, AirPort base stations, websites, etc. Keychains can also be used for storing confidential info, such as PINs, credit card numbers, and bank accounts. If you want to delete a keychain for whatever reason, please bear in mind that once you delete a keychain, the entirety of its info is deleted. However, you can recover the items later if you remember the password.

To delete a keychain, choose View -> Show Keychains in the Keychain Access app on your Mac. Select the keychain that you want to delete and go to Choose File and then click Delete Keychain [keychain name]. When prompted, click Delete References.

Recovering Items from a Deleted Keychain

Fortunately, recovering a deleted keychain is possible. All items stored in your deleted keychain can be recovered. It’s actually very simple; access the Keychain Access app, go to File -> Add Keychain, and select the deleted keychain file.

Clearing Keychain Access

This essentially means clearing credentials for a particular email address. Every password for the email address in question will be deleted.

Click the Spotlight search icon in the top right corner of your Mac’s desktop screen. You can also access Spotlight Search by pressing Command + Space on the keyboard. Type Keychain Access and select Keychain Access from the results list to open the app. In the top right corner of the app’s window, you’ll see a search field. Enter the email address for which you want to delete Keychain Access info.

Next, you’ll see a list of websites, apps, and other things you have used the email in question for. Delete every entry that you don’t need anymore.

clear keychain on mac

Organize Your Passwords

With so many internet services to remember your passwords for, it’s easy for things to end up messy. If you ever decide to switch to a single email account, it is recommended to delete all saved passwords from your old email accounts with the Keychain Access app. Make sure to think things through and to plan everything beforehand.

Have you ever used the Keychain Access app aside from the typical Safari prompt? Ever had issues using it? Feel free to hit the comment section with questions, advice, and experiences.

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