Get Keychain Passwords from Command Line

By  on  

One of my favorite command line utilities is Guillermo Rauch's wifi-password, a utility that allows you to get a saved password for the wifi network you're presently connected to (to share with colleagues or creeper in the cafe you're in).  The idea of being able to get a password from command line is super useful, especially when it comes to retrieving a password for a website.

If I don't recall a password but know that Mac OS' keychain has it, I need to open my browser, go to the desired website, use the developer tools to change the input type from password to text, a process that takes far too long for my liking.  Shouldn't getting a password from keychain be faster?  It can be with security:

sudo security find-internet-password -gs www.facebook.com

The snippet above queries the keychain (sometimes triggering a system permission dialog or two along the way), returning the account (username or email) and password registered on my system for the given domain!

keychain: "/Users/myuser/Library/Keychains/login.keychain-db"
version: 512
class: "inet"
attributes:
   0x00000007 <blob>="www.facebook.com"
   0x00000008 <blob>=<NULL>
   "acct"<blob>="myemailaddress@gmail.com"
   "atyp"<blob>="form"
   "crtr"<uint32>="rimZ"
   "cusi"<sint32>=<NULL>
   "desc"<blob>=<NULL>
   "icmt"<blob>=<NULL>
   "invi"<sint32>=<NULL>
   "nega"<sint32>=<NULL>
   "path"<blob>="/"
   "port"<uint32>=0x00000000
   "prot"<blob>=<NULL>
   "ptcl"<uint32>="htps"
   "scrp"<sint32>=<NULL>
   "sdmn"<blob>=<NULL>
   "srvr"<blob>="www.facebook.com"
   "type"<uint32>=<NULL>
password: "wouldntyouliketoknow"

If you've not explored the security utility, I highly recommend it.  You can get an exported credential list, set passwords, create new dictionaries and more!

Recent Features

  • By
    fetch API

    One of the worst kept secrets about AJAX on the web is that the underlying API for it, XMLHttpRequest, wasn't really made for what we've been using it for.  We've done well to create elegant APIs around XHR but we know we can do better.  Our effort to...

  • By
    An Interview with Eric Meyer

    Your early CSS books were instrumental in pushing my love for front end technologies. What was it about CSS that you fell in love with and drove you to write about it? At first blush, it was the simplicity of it as compared to the table-and-spacer...

Incredible Demos

Discussion

  1. To get a password from macOS’ keychain you can use “Keychain Access.app” https://support.apple.com/kb/PH20093

  2. Billy Matthews

    I can see the usefulness of accessing this via the command line. But instead of fiddling with the dev tools and input types, why wouldn’t you just use spotlight to open the keychain directly and search from the GUI there? That seems faster than any of these methods.

  3. iPoul

    Would be better if you could search for the password itself, to see where it’s used. Then you would know where to update in case of an adobe breach. xD

  4. Jean-Denis Muys

    In Catalina:

    jdmuys-mbp:~ jdmuys$ sudo security find-internet-password -gs www.facebook.com
    Password:
    security: SecKeychainSearchCopyNext: The specified item could not be found in the keychain.
    

    Even though there are 4 password entries for www.facebook.com

    Indeed I need to explore more.

    But accessing the KeyChain from the terminal is a great idea, because Apple’s Keychain Access application is rather limited (even though OK for the use case you outline)

    • Anthony

      The command also fails under Mojave, but still works under Sierra!

      security: SecKeychainSearchCopyNext: The specified item could not be found in the keychain.

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!