Q&A: Entering Keychain password on startup

Q Whenever I restart my Mac, I see a dialog asking me to enter my keychain password. Once that is typed in, everything works normally. Why is this?

A This can happen if you have changed the user password, which may leave the password for your login keychain different to that used to log in. To fix it, open Keychain Access, and use Change Password on your keychain named ‘login’. Enter the previous password for the account to open the keychain, and in the New Password field enter your new password for the account, and verify it. This should synchronise the password for your account with that of the login keychain, and the dialog should stop appearing.

Comments Macs rely on three central passwords:

  • that associated with your regular user name, entered when logging in;
  • the normally identical password to open your default login keychain, controlled using Keychain Access;
  • that for your Apple ID, used to connect to iCloud and Apple online services, normally kept in your login keychain, which should never be the same, or related to, your regular user password.

Additional information is in this article.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 31 issue 2, 2015, the final issue.