I know that one can easily migrate any *.keychain from one Mac to another, however, the "local items" keychain introduced in Mavericks is not stored as a *.keychain file but as a list of *.kb and *.db files.

I don't use iCloud Keychain and don't plan on using it. I also don't have access to the same device that was used to create the local items in the first place. The logic board has been changed.

As using a backup from time machine only partially restored the local items keychain (a number of entries are definitely missing) I am wondering whether I can in any way or shape extract the previously created items in the local items list and/or import them into a new "real" keychain.

  • I have a similar issue. Have you had any luck with this?
    – orome
    Commented Aug 23, 2014 at 21:49
  • Sorry, no solution yet and I personally don't have the time to work on it for the foreseeable future … using forgot my password functions mostly worked and I had all important passwords covered in the login.keychain anyway. Commented Aug 23, 2014 at 21:54
  • Bummer. This has really messed me up (lots of critical passwords in "Local Items" — I never asked to put them there! — and now I'm stuck).
    – orome
    Commented Aug 23, 2014 at 21:58
  • Many users. Apple didn't tell anybody that TimeMachine does not help with damaged devices when not using iCloud. That's scandalous. Unbelievable. If only someone could provide info about the encryption... Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 17:24

2 Answers 2


Backup of Local Items keychain

  1. Create a new keychain in Keychain Access via File > New Keychain...
  2. Copy all the entries from Local Items over to this newly created keychain
  3. Backup the keychain by navigating to ~/Library/Keychains/ and copying the newly created keychain to a safe place
  4. You can now delete the newly created keychain in Keychain Access via right-click Delete Keychain (Delete References & Files)

Restore of Local Items keychain

  1. Add the backed up keychain in Keychain Access via File > Add Keychain... and navigating to its location
  2. Copy all the entries from this keychain over to Local Items
  3. You can delete the previously added keychain since all of the entries now reside in Local Items
  • 2
    This generally works, however, only for the keychain elements used prior to Mavericks. Mavericks and Yosemite use the iCloud/Local Items keychain by default instead. Importing these is appears to be impossible. Which is why your solution doesn't work for my particular question. Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 12:45
  • 1
    For typing my password 200 times, I used the AppleScript here: gist.github.com/rmondello/b933231b1fcc83a7db0b
    – andrew
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 22:27
  • @andrew what a life saver. But seem to found a newer version, that doesn't require any extra install/software, for exporting a keychain to CSV. github.com/lifepillar/CSVKeychain
    – cde
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 5:02

If the Local Items keychain backup & restore answer does not work, there's now an alternative method available which uses Safari:

  1. Open Safari Preferences
  2. Select the 'Passwords' tab
  3. Unlock content via entry of Masterpassword or Touch ID
  4. Select a single password entry you need on your new Mac and hit the Share button.

This allows you to send the selected password entry via Airdrop to the new Mac. Unfortunately, you can't select multiple entries and you have to accept the sharing on the new Mac, and then you have to close the Airdrop window on the old Mac.

So it's quite tedious, but still better than nothing.

Alternative solution update:

My next task was to import/export Safari bookmarks, which is done via File –> Export, and there I saw that there is also an Export option for Passwords! So it seems like you can export all passwords without encryption to a CSV file and then import it on another Mac via File –> Import From –> Passwords CSV File! I haven't tried this, but it sounds to be much faster than the tedious solution above.

However, if you do this, make sure that you delete all copies of the password file afterwards and transfer it from Mac to Mac in a safe way!

See also https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/safari/ibrw1015/mac

  • 1
    Or via System Preferences → Passwords
    – cachius
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 15:52
  • 1
    @cachius: You are right, this is available by now. It was not at the time of my post. Can you post this as a new answer and include the macOS version where this was added?
    – Tafkadasoh
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 15:45

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