How to Change the Default Keychain on Mac

May 5, 2021 - 1 Comment

How to Change the Default Keychain on Mac

Did you know that you can create multiple keychains on your Mac, in addition to the default keychain associated with your login? Moreover, you can set other keychains you created as the default keychain on your macOS computer, which then become where your login and password credentials are stored. Most users won’t need to do this, but there are particular circumstances where it can be useful or helpful.

If you aren’t familiar with Keychain, it is a password management tool developed by Apple that’s seamlessly integrated into macOS, iPadOS, and iOS devices, allowing you to securely store your login information so that you don’t have to remember all your logins and passwords. By default on the Mac, your Mac creates a keychain called “login”, and its password is the same as the user password that you use to log in to your Mac. But you aren’t limited to using only that keychain, or having that as your default keychain. If you wish to, you can change the default Keychain on the Mac.

How to Change the Default Keychain on MacOS

Changing the default keychain on Mac is a pretty straightforward procedure, but before you do that, you will either need to create another keychain, or have an additional keychain. Just follow the steps below to learn how it’s done.

  1. Open Spotlight by clicking on the magnifying glass icon located at the top-right corner of your desktop. Alternatively, you can open Spotlight by pressing Command + Space bar.

    How to Change the Default Keychain on Mac
  2. Next, type “Keychain” in the search field and open “Keychain Access” from the search results.

    How to Change the Default Keychain on Mac
  3. Now, click on File in the menu bar and choose “New Keychain” from the dropdown menu, as shown below.

    How to Change the Default Keychain on Mac
  4. Give a preferred name for your new keychain and click on “Create”.

    How to Change the Default Keychain on Mac
  5. You’ll now be prompted to type in a password for your new keychain. Once you’ve entered the details, click “OK”.

    How to Change the Default Keychain on Mac
  6. This newly created keychain will show up on the left pane of Keychain Access right next to the default login keychain. Right-click on the new keychain and choose “Make Keychain Default”, as shown in the screenshot below.

    How to Change the Default Keychain on Mac

Your default keychain has now been changed.

You can make any keychain that you create as your default keychain, but there can be only one default keychain at a time.

This procedure could come in handy if you don’t want the login keychain’s password to be the same as your macOS user password. What you can do is set another keychain as the default and then change the password for the login keychain. Once you’ve changed it, you can make it the default keychain again and you’ll be able to keep using the same custom password.

The default keychain will be used by the Mac apps to securely store the login credentials you enter in the password field. If you forgot your Keychain password, you will no longer be able to access the data stored in it. In that case, you’ll need to reset your default login Keychain, which deletes all the passwords stored in your current Keychain, but allow you to sync up your login and Keychain passwords. That’s a pretty frustrating situation to be in, so it can be helpful to manually backup the keychain before going about that process, just in case you do remember the password again down the road.

Did you change the default Keychain on your Mac for any particular reason? Share with us your experiences, tips, and thoughts in the comments.


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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks

One Comment

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  1. Jon says:

    Outdated article, don’t work.

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