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I just recovered my OS from TimeMachine.

What happened is that instead of my keychain being restored, it was renamed to login.keychain2 and a new empty login.keychain was created.

I tried to delete the new one and rename login.keychain2 back to login.keychain. It worked during the current session, but when I restart the computer, the previous situation happens again: a new empty login.keychain is created and the one I want to use is renamed...

How do I fix that? It's really annoying...

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This is easy to do, happened to me a lot of time after reinstall or migrations, but it hard to find information on the internet about how to do this simple procedure.

You should not delete the new keychain.

You just have to open the old keychain and copy the itens on it to the new keychain

  1. Open KeyChain Utility
  2. Go to menu File -> Add Keychain (and locate the old keychain on the open dialog)
  3. Your old keychain will be included on the list of keychains, just below your 'login' keychain [you need to know the password of it, to be able to add it]

Once added, you will see your passwords on it, and can copy/paste the itens you want to your new keychain.

You can choose to always keep the old keychain showing on the application, or you can remove it, and keep it as a backup, or delete if everything was copied to the new keychain, it is up to you.

  1. To remove it, select it, goto File -> Delete keychain.

It will ask if you want to delete the real keychain 'file', or just 'Delete References`

Don't select "Delete References & Files" !

Select Delete References, and it will be remove from the keychain listing. Only removed. The keychain file will be on your disk, intact, and you can reopen it anytime if you need.


Second way:

After adding it, right click on it, select UNLOCK.

Then select all itens of it, and Drag and Drop to the new Keychain, they will be copied (without asking for the password of each one)


Third way: (at least exists on Catalina)

After adding it, right click and unlock it, right click again and select "Make Keychain Default"

  • the problem is that my keychain is huge, and if I try to copy/paste, it will ask me the password for each and every item in the keychain... is there an easy way here? – João Otero Aug 9 at 15:39
  • Yes, after adding it, right click on it, select UNLOCK, this will unlock it. Then you can select all itens on it, and drag-drop them to the new keychain. They will be copied. Well, there is a third option that I just discovered now while simulating this command (at least on Catalina) after unlocking it, there is an option "Make it the default keychain". – Prado Aug 9 at 16:45
  • they are both unlocked, but still it's asking the password for each individual item... also, making it default will keep it with the wrong name (login.keychain2)... and even if I delete the new empty login.keychain, after restarting it will be recreated... I would like to rename the now default login.keychain2 to login.keychain, to avoid having to "allow" the copy/paste of every individual item – João Otero Aug 9 at 18:13

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