Resetting iCloud Keychain

If I reset my iCloud keychain, I understand that I will lose passwords, but will I lose all Mac OS app store apps I paid for and all current app store subscriptions?

thanks in advance for your time and help

Simply stated…No. App Store purchases/subscriptions are tied to your AppleID and have no ties to your keychain other than any password associated with them.

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Regarding that point, if you can access your passwords using the Keychain Access app, you should be able to export them and then import them after resetting your keychain.

If it’s just Safari passwords, you can export those directly from the Safari Preferences panel in Catalina and newer versions of macOS.

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thank you very much @alvarnell and @josehill for your replies.

The following are 2 questions, not rants.

  • for some obscure reason while changing my account recovery contacts, I am being asked for my “icloud security code” which I must have set 15 years ago. I have no clue as to what or where it is. How is this possible in the world of computing?. I have the password to the account, the device, many 2nd step alternatives including 4 phone numbers and now all of a sudden I am asked for this obscure password which I never use, and giving me as the only alternative to reset the keychain (ie delete all passwords, certificates, etc) to progress. It does not make sense to me and I am sure that there is something I don’t understand. To prove my point, imagine asking 1,000 apple users what their icloud security code is. Would even one know the code or where to find it ? On the iCloud site, there is not even a reference to the icloud security code and it is barely mentioned (with no details) in the latest Take Control of your Apple ID book by the excellent Glenn Fleishman @glennf . Take Control of Your Apple ID – Take Control Books which I purchased for this purpose.

  • @josehill provides a reference on importing exporting the keychain. Thanks again very much. . This was my first reflex and I had read the reference provided before posting my question, but in my opinion and that of many posts on the internet, the reference is misleading for the simple reason that the export menu item of the keychain app used for the import / export is constantly greyed out, and the function is therefore unusable. From my reading it turns out that keychain export is a joke, that most keychain items including passwords cannot be exported, and I just don’t have the patience to go down the list of hundreds of items one by one and check for each one if the export menu item is enabled.

thanks again to both of you

Indeed, it appears that you are correct. I had opened Keychain Access and saw the Export option, but I did not actually try to use the Export command before sharing the Apple support link. My apologies; I should have gone through the full exercise first.

On the positive side, there is the option to export web passwords in Catalina and above (via Safari or via System Settings, depending on the OS), so I hope that provides a partial solution to your requirement.

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thank you for the info about web passwords via settings or safari. No apologies ! I am extremely grateful for your help.

One possibliity: iCloud wants you to input your Recovery Key, a 28-character code that is usually generated when setting up an account or recovery options.

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thank you but it is not the case. I stay away from recovery keys based on many Internet post which explain that by requesting a recovery key, the user forfeits other modes of recovery. thank you for your post.

I have not seen a prompt for this in many years, so I share your confusion! I am not even sure when Apple uses it. I thought they retained it only for Apple ID accounts where second-factor authentication was disabled (which is some small subset of accounts as Apple has generally forced 2FA when you upgrade operating systems starting, IIRC, five years ago). Can you disable iCloud Keychain on your devices and re-enable it and then see if that generates a new code or no longer asks for it? This shouldn’t cause a sync problem because each device will have the same set of keychain entries.


Hello Glenn !

It’s a great honor to receive a post from you. I bought and very much enjoyed all of your books over the years, except the one about home cameras because I have none. Clear and lucid writing.

thanks for your comment. As you suggested, I disabled and reenabled the keychain

below you can see:
1- the initial message
2- the only option offered which is forgot code ? (sorry barely visible on the screenshot)
3- when I tap on forgot code a message appears indicating that icloud security codes are being replaced with device passcodes. Please note that before tapping on forgot code, I tried to enter the device passcode about 20 times, so the new rules apply only AFTER resetting / disabling the keychain.

take care lucas

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Thank you for the follow-up. This is very interesting! Yes, this seems like a weird legacy problem that Apple did not provide an elegant way out of.