Sharing keychains between Macs

We are all starting to use more and more online services, each having their own login details and it’s getting harder to remember them all – especially in an office environment when multiple people need to access a service. Other than having the same password for everything or writing the passwords down, there’s not much you can do.

It occurred to me the other day that OSX stores user-made keychains in a single file. Remembering how I used to sync Things before they brought out (beta) cloud sync, I realised that it was possible to use the same technique with Dropbox to sync the keychain around the office.

The first step is to create a new keychain from the “Keychain Access” app, make sure you save it in your Dropbox folder (I saved it in a folder which was already shared).

file

You will be asked for a keychain password, this is the only password you and your co-workers will need to remember when looking a password up (make it secure!). I’d recommend following xkcd’s password strength comic for an easy to remember and secure password.

file

Now your keychain is in place and should have already been synced with Dropbox. You can add new passwords and sensitive data easily and your co-workers will have them within seconds (dependent on dropbox being awake). We manage different categories by appending them with keywords such as WHM, Email and SQL.

file

This method is an excellent free alternative to other password solutions, albeit a little longer than one click tools such as 1Password.