After preforming a Mavericks-Mavericks migration using Migration Assistant, I have a "Local Items" Keychain on my new machine in which many (perhaps most) items are out of date (using old passwords), and some are missing altogether. While I have access to a copy of the entire contents of the ~/Library/Keychains/ directory from my old machine, which presumably contains all the information I'm missing, I see no way of importing that information into my new machine.

How can I import the "Local Items" from my old Keychain into the Keychain on my new machine?

  • Note that it also appears that the relevant (i.e. original) information also moved my Migration Assistant into a folder in the target machine's Keychains folder named for the GUID of the source machine; but there appears to be no way to access that information. – orome Aug 23 '14 at 23:59
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    5 Years later and still users get screwed by this. Did you find any solution? I'd love to know how the encryption key is derived! But I suspect having my passwords back is pretty much a dream from now on. Also interesting to mention, that mail saves passwords in there as well – Julian F. Weinert Nov 1 at 17:26

I just managed to get my keys to my new mac (this only works if you still have access to the old Mac and can boot it up):

  • (on the old mac) Remove your current user's password
  • Create a new keychain (without a password)
  • Copy all keys in "Local Items" to your new keychain
  • Copy the keychain to the new mac
  • (on the new mac) Remove your current user's password
  • Add the new keychain file
  • Copy all keys in the new keychain to "Local Items"
  • Delete the new keychain
  • Don't forget to set a password again after that

It's a bit annoying as you have to click "Allow" for EACH item in the keychain but well, it's the only thing I found that works.

  • Just to add to this, you can fine a keychains in ~/Library/Keychains – Datageek Aug 9 at 11:46
  • In Mojave there is no way to copy web passwords from Local Items unfortunately. – Antonio Aug 29 at 6:41

Assuming the old Mac works (or at least can start in Target Disk Mode and then be connected to another Mac and started up from using Option-Boot), turning on iCloud Keychain should sync all the items in the "Local Items" keychain to your iCloud account, and then enabling it on the new Mac would merge all the items between your iCloud account and the new Mac's "Local Items".


A combination of the other answers worked for me...

  1. Select all keychain items you want to keep, right-click, "Copy 123 items"
  2. Right-click the keychain they came from and change the password to be something you can type easily (you'll be typing it 123 times...)
  3. Select your iCloud Keychain, right-click over the items, "Paste 123 items"
  4. Enter your keychain password and press Enter... repeat 123 times.
  5. Your new Mac should get all of those passwords when iCloud re-syncs.

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