I'm looking for a way to get the expiration date of a certificate from the command line. The certificate is in the default 'login' keychain and I know its name. How can I do this?

  • What for? In most cases, it seems like security verify-cert, potentially with the -d flag would work.
    – JMY1000
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 8:03
  • I want to know how much time a certificate has before it expires.
    – Bri Bri
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 14:48
  • Just because? Is this going into an application of some sort or anything?
    – JMY1000
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 3:11
  • Yes, choosing between different similar certificates and signing using the one that is going to expire in the longest amount of time.
    – Bri Bri
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 4:07
  • Gotcha. What language are you using for the app?
    – JMY1000
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 4:34

2 Answers 2


GuyGizmo's answer doesn't seem to work with Xcode 10.1 tools on macOS 10.14.4. I pulled this way together after a few tries.

Since I was trying to find out when my developer code signing certificate expires from the command line, I could readily look at apps that I had signed:

codesign --display --verbose --extract-certificates /path/to/dir.app

That tells you a certain amount about the app, and extracts the embedded signing certificate (without its private key, so there's no need for passwords) to a file called codesign0 in the current directory, in DER format. The other certificates in the chain of trust are extracted to codesign1, codesign2 and so on, for as many as are needed. It's probably best to remove them once you've finished with them.

You can then use the OpenSSL command-line tool to get the expiry date:

openssl x509 -inform der -in codesign0 -enddate -noout

Which prints a result like:

notAfter=June 8 10:37:33 2020 GMT

Another way to get the same information from the codesign0 file, in a format that may be easier to parse with a programming language, is:

openssl asn1parse -in codesign0 -inform der | grep UTCTIME

That will show you the beginning and ending dates in ASN.1 UTC time format, which is usually YYMMDDhhmmssZ in an Apple code signing certificate. Yes, the two-digit year does mean an ASN.1 UTC time wraps around every century.


The following command works:

security find-certificate -c "certificate name here" -p | openssl x509 -text | grep "Not After"

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