I've just done a clean Mountain Lion install, and one thing bothers me a lot:

How can I move passwords from my old keychain to the one created by the installer when it performed a clean install without a migration of data?

I copied my old keychain to ~/Library/Keychains and added it to the keychains list. It works except that I have to unlock it every time I log in. It's rather annoying and I'd much rather have all my passwords and certificates in one keychain.

I've tried to just Cmd+C/Cmd+V the passwords from old keychain to the new one, but it asks me about keychain's passwords for every item (and there are hundreds of them)

Any ideas?

2 Answers 2


As a workaround, you can make the password of the old keychain empty. You can do that by pressing the OK button for a second time after this error message is shown:

You can then just click the allow button repeatedly without having to type the password every time.

  • It seems to have worked! :) Still lots of clicking, but everything moved over to the new keychain. I'll check if everything works all right.
    – radex
    Commented Aug 25, 2012 at 9:36
  • doesn't work in Mountain Lion - forces you to add a new PW.
    – user33295
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 13:26
  • @user33295 - hold Opt and click OK when setting password
    – mente
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 14:58
  • Just clicking the OK button for a second time still works for me in 10.9.
    – Lri
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 6:13
  • Doesn't work on 10.10 Yosemite.
    – motobói
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 0:36

Keep the two files separate to start with. Use "Import Items..." from the File Menu and select your previous Keychain file. It will attempt to import all your previous keys, asking for old passwords as necessary.

When finished, all your previous data will be in the new login.keychain; your old login.keychain can be thrown away.

  • 2
    I tried doing this but the keychain I want to import from is greyed out in the list.
    – drfence
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 21:46

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