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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Keychain Access Basics


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MacWannabeNTX

 
Member Since: Jan 20, 2013
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I dont understand Keychain Access at all, not surprising for a newbie. I have tried to search on the internet and the info still seems over my head. If anybody knows where there is info a dummie can understand (for keychain access), please point the way.

I would like to learn more about keychain access and whether I should keep it locked all the time. On my MBP, default is unlocked.
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pendlewitch

 
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Hi,

Yes I agree it is most confusing at times. You can unlock it again by putting your system password in after clicking on the padlock.Keeping it locked is prudent if others have access to your machine.

There is some excellent help on the Mac itself and KeychainAccess has it's own help section. I accessed it through the normal Help option in finder by typing the word 'keychain' into the search bar and then subsequently following a link to 'Open Keychain Access Help" but you could open Keychain Access itself and choose help that way I suppose.

This is what it looks like in ML
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chas_m

 
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A quick summary: Keychain is a "password vault" that stores the various passwords you use for different sites or programs or what have you into a repository that you only need to know your admin password to unlock. It does other things too -- for example it can generate strong passwords, or store "secure notes" like financial info, etc -- but most people use it invisibly, by which I mean they get prompted to remember a password when they enter one for a site and from then on it is supplied automatically by Keychain.

The only reason most people EVER open Keychain Access is to -- you guessed it -- access the Keychain so they can find a password they've forgotten. If it's the admin password you've forgotten, this won't be much help. Luckily the admin password can be reset reasonably easily.

As pendlewitch sagely said above, the help files should carry you along from there.
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MacWannabeNTX

 
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Thank you both.
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Laura RaRa

 
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I'm a newb also with Mac and got myself in a right mess with it after Yahoo kept asking me again and again for a password through mymail. I disabled it in the Keychain and lost all my passwords, then freaked out when Mac asked me for my KEYCHAIN PASSWORD (I didn't know I had one)!!! Eventually by brute force and ignorance I've learned and have now just set my keychains back to default.

Moral of story - if you don't have any worries about sharing your computer at home or are a lone user, then don't fiddle with the settings. However, I can see this would be a useful feature for keeping the kids out - although they'll have worked it out waaaay ahead of you!
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