I recently wiped my Mac and now i need help restoring my old keychain. My website passwords used to be stored in keychain's "Local Items" (no iCloud sync) and I had made a copy of /Library/Keychains folder prior to wiping the Mac. As far as I understand those passwords are saved in /Library/Keychains/UUID/keystore-2.db which should not be accessible on any other system when transferred as it is linked to the original system by the UUID. The "Login" keychain is working fine, it transfers and unlocks without problems.

Found a lot of info online about this topic, but most problems were regarding transferring "Local Items" keychain to a new machine (which is not possible without first exporting to another keychain). My question is whether it is possible to somehow access the old "Local Items" keychain while I still have access to the same machine despite it being wiped and freshly installed? I have the old keychain files and know the unlock passcode.

  • You should be able to unlock the keychain from wherever it sits if you have the unlock passcode. That's how backups move them to a new Mac or back to an old Mac or just let you get in to the keychain as it sits on the backup media without needing to copy the data to a clean install.
    – bmike
    Commented Mar 18, 2023 at 1:36

1 Answer 1


Seems like the "LocalItems" password database is encrypted with a machine specific key and cannot be opened with any other system. The good news is this key does not change after a complete system wipe (must be some kind of a hardware key). So even if the system is completely wiped, rename the fresh "Keychains" library folder to something like "Keychains_old" and copy your old "Keychains" folder, reboot and voila, everything accessible once again. Might need to input your old keychain unlock code when opening if your current user login code differs from the pre-wipe one.

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