What to do with the “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” popup

278.5K views
7 min read

Macs are famous for being user-friendly devices. With system data being protected by a sandbox, there’s not much you can do to cause damage to the macOS.

That’s why when you get a pop-up message asking you to enter your password to approve something, such as “accountsd wants to use the login keychain,” you might be suspicious. 

No stress! Let’s explore what accountsd and its related processes like callservicesd and assistantd are, what to do with them, and how you can improve the security of your Mac with a few great third-party apps. 

What are accountsd, callservicesd, and assistantd?

Accountsd, callservicesd, and assistantd are all macOS native system processes responsible for your Mac working properly. They are safe, and it’s ok to trust them and enter your admin password when they ask for it. 

Accountsd is a process related to iCloud Keychain. It helps apps sync their data over iCloud and keep it protected with your password and username. 

Callservicesd is another process that sometimes needs access to iCloud Keychain. It maintains call-related apps like FaceTime, Contacts, and other third-party video-calling tools.

Assistantd is a process related to Siri and dictation. 

You can see these processes active on your Mac if you search for them in Activity Monitor.

accountsd process activity monitor mac

Why does the login keychain message appear on your Mac?

You see one of the keychain requests popups, such as “assistantd wants to use the login keychain,” because these processes require iCloud keychain access to sync different services properly. 

For example, making sure the app on iOS and Mac has up-to-date changes or that the call you’re making with your iPhone will display on the Mac. 

Since these processes keep their connection to iCloud Keychain, they rarely ask you for another permission — unless you change your devices, update macOS or iOS, or create new user profiles.

How to fix “accountsd wants to use the login keychain”

It’s possible that you start getting bombarded with assistantd login keychain requests. You approve one, and another one appears right after in a never-ending cycle.

This might be a bug in the macOS or a glitch with syncing. It’s annoying but luckily there are a few ways you can deal with it. 

Turn keychain auto-lock off

iCloud Keychain might lock itself occasionally for additional safety. That’s why you see the “Mac wants to use the login keychain” messages, asking you to enter the password again. 

You can fix this issue by turning the auto-lock settings off: 

  1. Launch Keychain Access from Utilities
  2. Right-click on the login and select Change Settings for Keychain “login”
  3. Uncheck “Lock after…” and “Lock when sleeping”
  4. Save

keychain access lock out options

Reset the default local keychain

If you get a message like “Safari wants to use the login keychain” all the time, there might be a glitch in the keychain itself.

Resetting it should help: 

  1. Launch Keychain Access
  2. Open Settings (Command + ,)
  3. Reset Default Keychains… 
  4. Enter your user password
  5. Click OK
  6. Log out of your Mac and log back in

reset default keychains mac

Create a new keychain

Sometimes bugs or glitches prevent you from fixing permissions on the existing keychain. 

Creating a new keychain might be an optimal solution then: 

  1. In the menu bar, select Go ➙ Go to Folder… (Shift + Command + G)
  2. Type ~/Library/Keychains
  3. Duplicate the Keychains folder to your desktop
  4. Rename the folder 
  5. Go to File ➙ Add Keychain…
  6. Add your new keychain to Keychain Access

create keychain access mac

While using Keychain Access for some services is inevitable, you can minimize its use by augmenting it with other apps. For example, you can keep all your temporary passwords in Step Two. 

Step Two is a minimalistic app that helps you secure your online accounts by enabling two-factor authentication and taking care of all the codes for other services. It backs up its data to iCloud (to be synced with iOS) and autofills the codes automatically through its Safari browser extension. 

step two temporary codes mac

Use Keychain First Aid (macOS Catalina or older)

Users running macOS Catalina or older have the option to run diagnostics on the keychain with the Keychain First Aid feature: 

  1. Launch Keychain Access
  2. Go to Keychain Access ➙ Keychain First Aid in the menu bar
  3. Enter your username and password
  4. Select Verify and Start

The Keychain First Aid option was removed in macOS Big Sur and later, likely due to security concerns about having a diagnostic tool accessing passwords and usernames. 

Instead, new macOS versions proactively scan Keychain Access for any discrepancies. That’s why if there’s ever an issue with your keychain, you should be notified.

Remove iCloud Keychain from Mac

If you get “callservicesd wants to use the login keychain” all the time, it might be that the keychain itself is not synced properly with your Mac. 

The solution is to log out of the keychain and sync it back again: 

  1. Open System Settings
  2. Go to your Apple ID ➙ iCloud
  3. Click Passwords & Keychain
  4. Toggle off “Sync this Mac” 
  5. Restart your Mac
  6. Toggle on “Sync this Mac”

turn off icloud keychain mac

Change your login keychain password

Another way to force the resync of your keychain and fix the access popup messages is to change the keychain password. 

Your keychain password is the same as your user password. If you change the latter, you’ll change the former at the same time. 

To change your user password on Mac: 

  1. Open System Settings
  2. Go to Users & Groups
  3. Click the info icon next to your user
  4. Change Password…
  5. Enter all the information
  6. Change Password

change user password mac

Delete accountsd with Terminal

If you keep getting the “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” messages, and nothing else helps, you can try stopping the accountsd process altogether. 

One way to do it is through Activity Monitor, but a more forceful option is deleting it through Terminal: 

  1. Launch Terminal
  2. Type sudo killall -kill accountsd
  3. Press Return and enter your password
  4. Restart your Mac

terminal delete accountsd mac

Are you looking to upgrade your terminal experience? Look no further than Core Shell.

Core Shell is a full-featured terminal for macOS with great advanced features, such as drag and drop file upload, progress tracking in Dock, colorful backgrounds, one-click remote shell logins, and OpenSSH compatibility. Plus, it integrates with iCloud Keychain and allows you to assign tags to specific hosts.

core shell terminal mac

Remove accountsd from Safari, Chrome, and Firefox

Since accountsd affects iCloud Keychain, it might be that there’s a glitch somewhere in your browser, which triggers repeating access requests. 

The best course of action here is to delete accountsd from your browsers, which means resetting them to factory settings. 

To delete accountsd from Safari: 

  1. Open the browser
  2. Go to Develop ➙ Empty Caches (Option + Command + E)
  3. Go to History ➙ Clear History… 
  4. Go to Settings ➙ Privacy ➙ Manage Website Data ➙ Remove All

safari delete accountsd mac

To remove accountsd from Google Chrome: 

  1. Open the browser
  2. Go to Settings ➙ Reset settings
  3. Reset Settings

chrome reset settings mac

To get rid of accountsd on Firefox: 

  1. Open the browser
  2. Go to the menu ➙ Help ➙ More troubleshooting information
  3. Refresh Firefox… 

Manage app permissions in one place

Another reason for getting the “assistantd wants to use the login keychain” message is having wrong app permissions saved on your Mac. 

The best way to correct app permissions is with CleanMyMac X. 

CleanMyMac X is the ultimate optimization app for Mac, making it easy to get rid of old files, clear caches, speed up RAM, uninstall apps, and manage app permissions. Due to its user-friendly interface, everything on CleanMyMac X takes a few clicks to accomplish, and every scan is annotated so you can easily understand its value. 

Here’s how to repair disk permissions with CleanMyMac X: 

  1. Open the app
  2. Go to the Maintenance tab
  3. Select Repair Disk Permissions
  4. Run

cleanmymac x repair permissions mac

Tip: Store your passwords in a digital password manager

Since iCloud Keychain manages lots of systemic processes, it’s best to limit its use to a minimum and store all your passwords in a great password manager instead, like Secrets. 

Secrets is a secure and user-friendly password manager for Mac and iOS. It’s easy to use, syncs over iCloud, and keeps all the essential information handy, filling out username and passwords fields through its Safari browser extension. 

In addition to generating complex passwords, you can use Secrets to store bank account details, credit card information, and more. Never leave anything unencrypted again! 

secrets password manager mac

As you can see, when “accountsd wants to use the login keychain,” nothing bad is happening. Allow access and you’re good to go. But if the popup keeps coming back, follow our guide to fix the problem. 

Besides, use Step Two as your default two-factor authentication app, CleanMyMac X to repair disk permissions, Secrets for storing passwords, and Core Shell as a better version of Terminal. 

Best of all, these apps are available to you for free through the seven-day trial of Setapp. Setapp is a unique collection of more than 240 top-rated apps for Mac and iOS that have something useful across all categories, from web development to Mac optimization. Explore the collection today and download a few new picks.

FAQs

Is accountsd a virus?

No, accountsd is a process that helps sync data across your accounts through iCloud Keychain. 

Is it safe to access iCloud Keychain?

Make sure that you know which process is trying to access iCloud Keychain. If it’s a known process, it’s safe to allow access. Otherwise, don’t. 

Accountsd, callservicesd, and assistantd are safe processes. 

What happens if I delete keychain login on Mac?

If you delete keychain login without backup, all your passwords and app access permissions will disappear. Don’t delete keychain login! Follow the steps above to resolve any keychain access issues. 

240+ apps for $9.99
per month

Sign up to Setapp and try them for free.

Security-tested