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OS X Tutorial: How to transfer Keychain data between Macs

Learn how to securely move your stored passwords and important data from one Mac to another with this simple, step-by-step guide for OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

OSX - Transfter Keychain Data - Featured

OSX - Transfter Keychain Data - Sidebar
OSX - Transfter Keychain Data - Featured
However, not all users want to copy their entire drive from one machine to another, preferring instead to start afresh with just a few important tweaks and settings copied from one machine to another.
One of the most useful things to transfer is data from Keychain, as it will allow you to automatically log in to all the same websites and applications that you did on your other machine without needing to re-enter all the passwords again. And, thanks to this advanced nine-step tutorial, you’ll now be able to do just that; navigating to the file location is simple, and all you will need to do is copy it to another Mac and save it in the correct location. It’s time to load up your Macs and get started.

OSX - Transfter Keychain Data - Step-by-Step

OSX - Transfter Keychain Data - Step 1

Step 1: Finding in Finder

The first place you need to go is your machine’s Library folder. This is hidden in Mountain Lion, so you won’t see it in your normal user folder.

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Step 2: Go, go, go!

Instead, use the Go menu. It won’t appear here by default either, but hold down the Alt key and the option will be revealed for you to click.

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Step 3: Find the key

In the new Finder window scroll down until you find a folder called Keychains. Folders are ordered alphabetically. Be careful not to delete anything!

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Step 4: Sharing keys

In the Keychains folder you will find a file called ‘login.keychain’. Choose Share and you’ll have a few options for sending it to your second Mac.

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Step 5: AirDrop

You can use a USB memory drive to transfer the file if you wish, or simply use the AirDrop sharing sheet to quickly send it to another Mac wirelessly.

OSX - Transfter Keychain Data - Step 6

Step 6: Receiving

On your other Mac you’ll need to accept. The file will automatically be added to your Downloads folder – remember this as you’ll need to find it again shortly.

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Step 7: Quick access

Next you need to add the Keychain to your Mac’s own. Open Spotlight and find Keychain Access – this is the app that will allow you to add the chain.

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Step 8: Adding up

You will already have Keychains in your account, as they are created automatically. Add the other Mac’s Keychain via the File>Add Keychain command.

OSX - Transfter Keychain Data - Step 9

(Click on the image below to zoom and view the annotations)

OSX - Transfter Keychain Data - Annotated