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How To Generate An SSH Key Pair In Mac OS? [A Step-by-Step Guide]

SSH or Standard Component of the Secure Shell is an in-built program of macOS. It is used to make a secure shell connection between the remote computers over an insecure network connection. 

If you are unaware of how to generate an SSH key pair in Mac OS, then this guide can help you a lot. Here you will learn the effective hacks and tricks that can help you to generate an SSH key pair in macOS. 

Easy Hacks to Generate SSH Key on macOS

Have a look at the points discussed below. Try to follow the steps in the exact sequence provided in order to avoid any further technical glitches. 

Check for Existing SSH Keys: 

Before you get to know the steps on how to generate an SSH key pair, you can check the existing SSH keys of your computer. To do this, you can perform the steps as follows: 

  • First, open the terminal window and run “cd ~/.ssh”.
  • If you see ‘No such file or directory’ message, then there are no existing SSH keys. 
  • Now, you can check if you have the “ls id_*” key. 
  • If there are any existing keys and if you want to use them, then go to either ‘SSH access key’ or ‘SSH user key personal use’.

If you see there are existing keys, but if you don’t want to use them, then you can create a back up of the old SSH keys. 

How to Create a Back up of the Old SSH Keys? 

To do this, first, navigate to the Terminal window and run the following commands: 

  • mkdir key_backup
  • cp id_rsa* key_backup

Once you run the above commands, you have successfully created a back up of your old SSH keys. Now, it is time to generate an SSH key pair in your macOS.

How to Create an SSH Key Pair in macOS?  

First and foremost, open the terminal and run the command “[local]$ ssh-keygen -t rsa” under the username. It will start the SSH key generation process. 

Note: Once you run this command, the ssh-keygen tool will ask you to select the location where you want to store the key. 

Hit the Enter key from the keyboard to accept the default location (/home/username/.ssh/). If you want to change the location, type the name of the file and hit the Enter key from the keyboard to apply that. 

Afterward, the ssh-keygen tool will ask you for the passphrase. Now, you have to type a passphrase. Or if you prefer, you can also press the Enter key from the keyboard to accept the default one. Once you confirm the passphrase, it will generate the key pair and you will see the output. 

Wrapping Up

These are the probable steps to generate the SSH pair in macOS. All the steps we have provided in the above post are quite simple to apply. But still, if you face any kind of trouble while executing the above steps, feel free to share that through the comment box.