For about 6 months I have had problems with iCloud Keychain.

Every time I login with my iCloud account on a new computer (e.g. a Mac Pro at work and a brand new MBP 15" with touch bar) iMessage, FaceTime, and Handoff do not work.

It will not let me login to either FaceTime or iMessage. (and somehow, Handoff seems to be linked to this problem).

It displays this error:

Could not sign in to iMessage.

An error occurred during activation. Try again.

I have tried a bunch of things: rebooting, resetting PRAM/SMC, reformatting the hard drive, re-installing the OS, upgrading the OS over 6 months time, calling Apple support for 5 hours.

The only solution I've found after all of this are two keychain items:

ids: identity-rsa-private-key

ids: identity-rsa-public-key

If I delete these two keychain items, and reboot the system, I can login for one session. As soon as I log-out, or reboot the computer, it kicks me out again.

If I create a new User on the machine, and do not enable iCloud Keychain sync in the iCloud settings, everything works fine. I can login to iMessage and FaceTime. As soon as I sync iCloud Keychain, everything breaks once the machine is rebooted or I logout. At which point, you either have to continue deleting the keychain items above, or delete the entire user and start over without syncing iCloud Keychain.

I can probably live without iCloud Keychain. I haven't used 1Password yet, but I'm sure it's awesome. My hesitation is that there are other things stored in iCloud Keychain, like Apple Pay, which would be nice to sync. I feel like iCloud Keychain will only become more important as all of my devices become more connected in the coming years.

Any ideas on how to fix iCloud Keychain from doing this? Thanks for your help!

  • Some questions for you: (1) How many devices are you using your iCloud account with? (2) When you say Every time I login with my iCloud account on a new computer, what do you mean by 'new'? (3) Do you have an iCloud Security Code, or did you choose to skip that step? (4) Since this issue started about 6 months ago, can you think of anything that coincides with that (e.g. purchase of a new device, OS update/upgrade, new software and/or hardware, etc)?
    – Monomeeth
    Apr 3, 2017 at 22:33

3 Answers 3


I finally found a solution.

The iCloud Keychain had several system keychain items. These items were not supposed to be in the iCloud Keychain and were overriding the "login" Keychain items whenever I would request login to Messages or FaceTime.

I found the error by comparing my Keychain to a friend's laptop. I deleted everything from iCloud Keychain that was not in my friend's Keychain. (Well, anything that started with com.apple or ids.) (I left web page passwords.)

Once these deletions synced across devices, and I rebooted each machine, everything works perfectly.

  • 1
    Well, done. Thanks for sharing your helpful solution. Apr 7, 2017 at 9:05
  • 1
    THANK YOU. The answer above about deleting the com.apple and ids from the Keychain was the only solution that worked for me. And this is after spending two hours on the phone this afternoon with Apple support... Thank you, thank you, thank you. Delete everything that begins with com.apple or ids from your Keychain and you should be good to go. iMessage was just confused!
    – PNWCar
    Dec 9, 2017 at 4:17

Whenever I tried to sign in with my Apple ID to Messages, FaceTime, or the App Store on macOS Sierra 10.12.6 I got the error message: "An error occurred during authentication."

An error occurred during authentication.

I fixed it by moving this file to the trash: /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/NetworkInterfaces.plist

and restarting the computer.


As unexpected as it is, and as mentioned in the support entry, resetting the NVRam did it for me.

"Shut down your Mac, then turn it on and immediately press and hold these four keys together: Option, Command, P, and R. You can release the keys after about 20 seconds, during which your Mac might appear to restart."

NVRam reset combination

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