SSH Keys In MacOS Sierra Keychain Save Abandoned

Saving SSH keys in macOS Sierra keychain

Project README

Saving SSH keys in macOS Sierra keychain


As described in detail on, macOS/OS X till Yosemite used to remember SSH keys added by command ssh-add -K <key>.

Unfortunately this way no longer works. Keys added to the keychain via ssh-add -K are not automatically re-added to the ssh-agent after a reboot. As Apple Developer stated:

"That’s expected. We re-aligned our behavior with the mainstream OpenSSH in this area."


Apple updated its Technical Notes to indicate that since 10.12.2, macOS includes version 7.3p1 of OpenSSH and its new behaviors.

In ~/.ssh create config file with the following content:

Host * (asterisk for all hosts or add specific host)
  AddKeysToAgent yes
  UseKeychain yes
  IdentityFile <key> (e.g. ~/.ssh/userKey)

Solution 2

After usage of ssh-add -K <key> (it's recommended to use absolute path of keys) call the command ssh-add -A on every startup of macOS.

To automate this, add a .plist with the following content to the path ~/Library/LaunchAgents/:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">

<!-- @@@@LingonWhatStart:ssh-add -A@@@@LingonWhatEnd -->


  • Create this file with the Lingon app.

  • Use curl to download the .plist file to the stated path:

    curl -o ~/Library/LaunchAgents/ssh.add.a.plist


If you have issues with ssh-add: illegal option -- K after using the ssh-add -K command, you may use the full path of the command /usr/bin/ssh-add.

Open Source Agenda is not affiliated with "SSH Keys In MacOS Sierra Keychain" Project. README Source: jirsbek/SSH-keys-in-macOS-Sierra-keychain
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