Are encrypted Wi-Fi passwords stored in /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.airport.preferences.plist? If yes, which string?

I know we can view wireless passwords using the Keychain GUI or using security in Terminal. But where are Wi-Fi passwords actually physically stored in macOS?


Wi-Fi passwords are physically stored in the System keychain at /Library/Keychains/System.keychain


The best place to look for stored passwords for networks on macos in various user and system keychains. As an administrator, you can open Keychain Assistant and then look at the keychains (including ones synced with iCloud if you enable that in the preferences) for specific SSID and WiFi credentials that are saved.

These keychains are stored on the filesystem in encrypted form so you can use the security command-line tool to read them if you don’t want to use the graphical version of the keychain tool.

  • 1
    "Keychain Assistant"? Do you actually mean "Keychain Access"? Aug 19 '18 at 18:30
  • Thanks @bmike. But surely encrypted Wi-Fi passwords must be stored in a file somewhere, right?
    – lily
    Aug 19 '18 at 18:33
  • @lily - Look in ~/Library/Keychains
    – Allan
    Aug 19 '18 at 18:38

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