How Can I Copy Keychain Local Items From Old Mac to New Mac Without iCloud?

Copied Keychains from old Mac to new Mac but unfortunately the Local Items did not copy over.

After a bit of searching it seems that Apple is pushing people to use iCloud Keychains to manage and move the keychains. I however choose not to use iCloud services.

Tried creating a new Keychain to copy and past Local Items into but that produces the following error when pasting into the new Keychain.

An error has occurred. Unable to add an item to the current keychain
One or more parameters passed to a function were not valid.

Hopefully there is a solution that does not involve me manually entering all my passwords on the new Mac.

  • Why didn't you just migrate the whole account?
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 5, 2023 at 16:11
  • 1
    1. Migration Assistant does not copy Keychain Local Items. 2. I did not want to move over a lot for crud and cruft from the old system. Dec 5, 2023 at 16:12
  • Hmmm… OK. I had to google what a 'Local Keychain' actually was. I don't have one, as you only get one if you don't have iCloud. I've never had a problem migrating Mac to Mac [since OS X Panther]… but I guess that's why.
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 5, 2023 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


Apple says you can't copy Local Items from Mac to Mac.

From Apple KB - Copy keychains to another Mac

Note: You can’t copy passwords stored in your Local Items or iCloud Keychain. To transfer these keychain items to another computer, set up iCloud Keychain on the other computer using your iCloud user name (normally your Apple ID) and password.

  • Talk about being forced into a walled garden that I never signed up for. How can they be allowed to say you can't copy your own keychains but we can. Dec 6, 2023 at 12:38
  • It's their ball, their game. It will be buried somewhere deep in an EULA that no-one ever reads. MS are becoming the same; no MS account, no full 'membership'. Long gone are the days you could just take the drive out of your old Mac & bung it in the new one with no ill effects, something I've been doing with Macs since the 90s.
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 6, 2023 at 12:42
  • I do NOT want my passwords / keychains stored in iCloud. I have not turned on iCloud on the new Mac. Will that be enough to prevent them from being sent to iCloud? I setup my gmail account and then opened the Keychain Access app and and noticed that it was KEYCHAIN login KIND application WHERE iCloud. Does that mean that Apple sucked it up to iCloud? Dec 6, 2023 at 18:42
  • If iCloud is off, then it's off. I find it quite amusing that you would trust Google - a company whose entire business model is selling your internet habits to advertisers - rather than Apple, whose business model is to sell you next year's Mac or iPhone.
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 6, 2023 at 19:20
  • I don't trust Google but don't like the idea sharing passwords with anyone other then my conscience. Prefer to have passwords encrypted locally for the ones I do store and not out in some cloud. Its frustrating that you can't turn on iCloud for FindMy without giving Apple your computers account password and apparently your iPhones lock code. Dec 6, 2023 at 20:03

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