Setting Up Additional Macs to Use Your iCloud Keychain

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Setting Up Additional Macs to Use Your iCloud Keychain

The second method involves foregoing the security code, and instead relying on Apple to send a notification to the original Mac that another device wishes to use your keychain. Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

Once you set up your first Mac with iCloud Keychain, you need to add other Macs and iOS devices to really make use of the service.

iCloud Keychain lets each Mac and iOS device you use access the same set of saved passwords, login information, and even credit card data if you wish. The ability to use your Mac or iOS device to create a new account at a website, and then have that account information readily available on all of your devices is a compelling feature.​

This guide assumes that you've already set up iCloud Keychain on one Mac. If you haven’t done so, take a look at: Set Up iCloud Keychain on Your Mac

Our guide will take you through the process of setting up iCloud Keychain. It also includes tips for creating a secure environment for using Apple's cloud-based keychain service.

Set Up Subsequent Macs to Use iCloud Keychain

There are two methods available for setting up the keychain service. The first method requires you to create (or have your Mac randomly create) a security code that you'll use whenever you enable another Mac or iOS device to access your keychain data.

The second method involves foregoing the security code and instead relying on Apple to send a notification to the original Mac that another device wishes to use your keychain. This method requires that you have access to the first Mac in order to grant permission to the rest of your Macs and iOS devices.

The process of enabling the iCloud Keychain service on subsequent Macs and iOS devices is dependent on the method you originally used to enable the service. We will cover both methods in this guide.

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Set Up iCloud Keychain Using a Security Code

A verification code will be sent to the phone you set up with iCloud Keychain to receive SMS messages. Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

Apple's iCloud Keychain service supports multiple methods of authenticating additional Macs and iOS devices. Once authenticated, devices can sync keychain data between them. This makes sharing passwords and account information a breeze.

In this section of our guide to setting up additional Macs and iOS devices to use iCloud Keychain, we look at adding Macs using the security code method of authentication.

What You Need

Besides the original security code you created in the Set Up iCloud Keychain on Your Mac guide, you'll also need the SMS-capable phone that you associated with the original iCloud Keychain account.

  1. On the Mac you're adding the keychain service to, launch System Preferences by selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu, or clicking on its Dock icon.
  2. In the System Preferences window, click the iCloud preference pane.
  3. If you haven't set up an iCloud account on this Mac, you'll need to do so before you can continue. Follow the steps in Setting Up an iCloud Account on Your Mac. Once you set up the iCloud account, you can continue from here.
  4. The iCloud preference pane displays a list of available services; scroll through the list until you find the Keychain item.
  5. Place a check mark next to the Keychain item.
  6. In the sheet that drops down, enter your Apple ID password and click the OK button.
  7. Another drop-down sheet will ask if you wish to enable iCloud Keychain using a request approval method or using the iCloud security code you set up previously. Click the Use Code button.
  8. A new drop-down sheet will ask for the security code. Enter your iCloud Keychain security code, and click the Next button.
  9. A verification code will be sent to the phone you set up with iCloud Keychain to receive SMS messages. This code is used to verify that you're authorized to access iCloud Keychain. Check your phone for the SMS message, enter the supplied code, and then click the OK button.
  10. iCloud Keychain will finish the setup process; when it's done, you'll have access to your iCloud keychain.

You can repeat the process from additional Macs and iOS devices that you use.

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Set Up iCloud Keychain Without Using a Security Code

A new drop-down sheet will appear, asking you to send an approval request to the Mac on which you originally set up iCloud Keychain. Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

Apple offers two ways to configure iCloud Keychain: with and without the use of a security code. In this step, we'll show you how to add a Mac to your iCloud Keychain when you originally set up iCloud Keychain without a security code.

Enable a Mac to Use iCloud Keychain Without Using a Security Code

The Mac you're adding the iCloud Keychain service to should use the same basic security measures to protect it from casual access. Be sure to follow those instructions before continuing.

On the Mac you're adding the keychain service to, launch System Preferences by clicking its Dock icon, or selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu.

In the System Preferences window, click the iCloud preference pane.

If you haven't set up an iCloud account on this Mac, you'll need to do so before you can continue. Follow the steps in Setting Up an iCloud Account on Your Mac. Once you set up the iCloud account, you can continue from here.

In the iCloud preference pane, place a check mark next to the Keychain item.

A drop-down sheet will appear, asking for your iCloud password. Enter the requested information, and click OK.

A new drop-down sheet will appear, asking you to send an approval request to the Mac on which you originally set up iCloud Keychain. Click the Request Approval button.

A new sheet will appear, confirming that your request for approval has been sent. Click the OK button to dismiss the sheet.

On the original Mac, a new notification banner should display on the desktop. Click the View button in the iCloud Keychain notification banner.

The iCloud preference pane will open. Next to the Keychain item, you'll see text telling you that another device is requesting approval. Click the Details button.

A drop-down sheet will appear, asking for your iCloud password. Enter the password and then click the Allow button to grant access to your iCloud Keychain.

That’s it; your second Mac is now able to access your iCloud Keychain.

You can repeat the process for as many Macs and iOS devices as you wish.