Updating Apple Keychain After an ETSU Account Password Change

When students and faculty update their ETSU network password or if their password expires as part of the directory security policy, the keychain must update upon next login. In most cases, the Apple OS will prompt the user with the message “The system was unable to unlock your login keychain,” followed by the following options…

  • Update Keychain Password (This is the default choice)
  • Continue Log in:
  • Or, Create New Keychain

Below are the three different scenarios a user will face depending on their selection.

Create New Keychain (Preferred Method)

Selecting “Create New Keychain” will destroy the original keychain and all associated passwords. Each password for websites, D2L or other software that stores under your login will need manual entering.

Update Keychain Password (Default)

Selecting "Update Keychain Password" and entering the previous ETSU network password to unlock the keychain, will result in the OS updating the login password accordingly so that services continue to work as expected. Hooray! All applications should work normally and stop that annoying prompt from repeatedly presenting itself until next time the ETSU network password is changed. **Note** Only use this option if you are 100% confident with remembering your password. If you are not accurate, there is a solution (located at the bottom of the page).**

Continue Log In

Selecting "Continue Log-in" will provide access to desktop files; however network and some third-party applications will present repeated and annoying dialog warnings because the keychain is locked. Fortunately, the keychain can still be updated using the following method:

  1. Open Keychain Access located in Applications > Utilities.
  2. From the Edit menu, choose: Change Password for Keychain "login"…
  3. Type the previous ETSU network password, then click OK.
  4. If you enter the correct password, a new window appears. Enter the previous ETSU network password again in the Current Password field.
  5. In the New Password field, type the password that matches the current ETSU account password.
  6. Re-enter the newer password in the Verify field, then click OK.

The system requires the new password for other directory services such as email or server mounts.

Solution to Keychain Access Messages

If you have tried the "Update Keychain Password" option, and you were not accurate in your password; Do not despair! Here is the solution:

  • First, locate the Keychain Access application in Utilities. You can easily find this by using Spotlight Search (Command + Space, or Magnifying Glass search bar at the top right-hand side of your workspace.)
  • Next, you will click File -> Delete Keychain "login" thereby deleting the file with your old password.
  • Next, you will go to Finder, and Click Go -> Go to Folder (Default Keyboard Shortcut - Shift + Command + G). Once prompted you will type, "~/Library/Keychains" and delete the folder marked with random letters and numbers. Do not delete the "login.keychain" file.
  • Finally, immediately restart the computer, and log in with your new ETSU password. You will not have a new error message, and your workspace is free of the annoying pop-up window.

**NOTE** You will have to do this with every computer you come in contact with, as each computer stores your password.


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