Easily copy passwords in Keychain Access

As you’re probably aware, many OS X applications and features use the system’s built-in keychain to securely store your usernames and passwords—programs like Safari and Mail, and login information for other Macs on your network are but a few examples. You can see and work with this stored information using the Keychain Access program, in the Applications -> Utilities folder. If you’ve ever forgotten a password, for instance, you can look it up in Keychain Access.

Until just recently, I would look up forgotten passwords by double-clicking the appropriate account in Keychain Access, clicking the Show Password box in the new dialog that opened, entering my admin password in the authorization dialog that appeared, then selecting and copying the now-visible password. Ugh. I was sure there must be an easier way, but nothing in the program’s menus seemed to do the trick.

Then a friend pointed me to a much simpler—and for some of you, probably amazingly obvious—method of doing the same thing. In the long list of accounts in Keychain Access, control-click (or right-click) on the account’s name, and select Copy Password to Clipoard from the contextual menu. Enter your admin password in the authorization box and press Return, and you’re done—the password is now on your clipboard.

This feature has existed at least since OS X 10.4, but I only learned of it just recently—yet another reason why I dislike features that only exist in contextual menus!

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