I have a 2017 MBP. For the past couple of years, I've had a position that's provided me with a laptop, so my personal MBP isn't used much.

Over those years I've kept it updated periodically, but today I needed to get back on my old machine and open an old, secure note in Keychain Access.

The problem is that when I open the application... nothing happens. Well, it does open Keychain, and I see it in my dock bar. If I click on it's icon, I can see the menu at the top of my screen, but there is no window. When I right-click on the icon and go to "Show All Windows", there's nothing there.

What's happened to Keychain Access, and why can't I bring up the UI? Please note, I've also hunt-and-pecked the menu structure and I could see that I could create a new secure note but I can't open one. In fact, I did create a new one as a test, and after saving it, the UI never popped up. How can I get my Keychain Access back? Thank you.

Oh, and I'm using MacOS Big Sur (11.5.2 (20G95))

EDIT - Additional Information

One more piece of information that might be noteworthy is I have never setup iCloud for my Apple account, and I do not intend too. I do have an Apple account, and I use it to connect to the App Store on my MBP, but I'm not interested in syncing my data with Apple's data plan. I know it's quite useful for backing up personal settings and preferences, but as for the past many years, I've not needed it or wanted to give Apple that data.

I mention this because has something changed in the past 4 years where my data is now hidden/locked out and is tied to my Apple ID, rather than my login to my laptop? Is that fact that I'm not connected to iCloud preventing me from viewing my secured notes? If the answer is yes, is there any way around this, without cutting on iCloud?

5 Answers 5


In my case, if you are newly installing Monterey

  1. Quit Keychain Access
  2. Open Preferences
  3. Tap Password
  4. It will ask you to input a password
  5. Once completed input the password
  6. Open Keychain Access again

enter image description here

  • Thank you! This actually fixed it for me on macOS 12.13.1.
    – fbernardo
    Commented Apr 15, 2022 at 15:15
  • the only valid answer (macOS 12.5) - but why?
    – benomatis
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 20:06
  • really ??? just that . who will know that . thanks
    – Pxaml
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 14:10

Nothing has changed in the last 4 years where your data is suddenly "locked out and tied to your AppleID", nor is it the fact that you do not use iCloud that prevents you from viewing secured notes.

When you have Keychain Access running (as you mention you do), you can press Cmd-1 to show its main window.

If you have multiple monitors or AirPlay, the window might show up on one of those. You can also try activating Expose to get an overview of your open windows, and you might find it more easily there.

  • Keychain Access in Big Sur removes Keychain Viewer from the Window menu? Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 23:37
  • I see the Keychain Viewer in the menu, but clicking it (or using the hotkey's you listed above) does nothing other than make the Window menu flicker. Also, I am not connected to a monitor. I just have my MBP screen.
    – RLH
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 0:55

I'm answering my own question just in case anyone else runs into this. Today when I booted up my machine, I was prompted to update my version of MacOS, which was no surprise. I kicked off the update, and once it was finished, it requested I restart the machine. I turned it off, and then turned it back on and it went through a typical update process on reboot.

When MacOS booted up, it didn't tell me that there were more updates, so I went on with the task I needed to accomplish, which in this case was opening up Keychain Access to look for the respective secure note I mentioned above.

Although I've had no update or notice, I decided to try and reboot the machine again. This time, I selected Restart from the Apple menu and, sure enough, after the screen went black and the Apple logo popped up, it went through what looked like another 60 seconds of updates. After MacOS finished booting up, I went back to open Keychain and it opened up properly.

I have no clue what happened, but it seems my update to the current version of Big Sur needed to reboot twice. So, if you happen to see this bug (which I couldn't find mention of anywhere on the web) just restart your machine again and it should fix it.


I have had the same problems for years. I open up the app but no window is visible. I have to restart the app and the full window appears again.


In my case, the sidebar was collapsed, and since for historical reasons I have two default keychains, the keychain viewer was opening with no keychain selected. All that I needed to do was "View>Show Sidebar" and select a keychain.

  • perfect that was missing in my keychain.
    – vintagexav
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 7:59

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