How to manage your passwords with MacPass (Keepass client for Mac)

MacPass (Keepass client for Mac)


What is MacPass (and Keepass) ?

MacPass is a native Keepass client for Mac, it is a free, open source, light-weight and easy-to-use password manager for Mac.

Today you need to remember many passwords, your CERN account, your mail account, your website's accounts and so on, the list is endless. Also, you should use different passwords for each account. Because if you use only one password everywhere and someone gets this password you have a problem...

MacPass can remember all these passwords for you, while you only have to remember the master password that will unlock access to your password manager.

The program stores your passwords in a highly encrypted database. This database consists of only one file, so it can be easily transferred from one computer to another.


How to install MacPass ?

Macpass is available in the Mac Self Service and can be installed within a minute.

Just click on the "install" button and wait...


How to create a database?

The first time you open the app, you will see a welcome screen asking you to either create a KeePass database or open an existing one. Creating a new database will immediately kick you into the new database, while loading an existing one will open a finder windows where you will be able to select an appropriate KeePass file. At the next screen, you will have the opportunity to enter your password and/or choose your keyfile.

Create your own database

Click the "Create new Database" and you will be presented with a blank KeePass database, loaded with a few starter categories (circled in red)

The database is not saved yet. You must save the database to complete the creation process

How to save your database ?

The first time saving your database, you will get a prompt to create a keyfile and/or password. If you wish to use a password, enter it in the top fields and confirm. REMEMBER THIS PASSWORD! If you forget the master password to your database, all of the information will be lost for good!
Similarly, to create a keyfile, click the "Generate Keyfile" button and save your keyfile somewhere on your computer or on a USB stick.

If you decide to use a keyfile, don't loose it! Without it, the database cannot be opened.

Password versus Keyfile?

Each authentication method has its upsides and downsides, but both can be used together and complement each other very well.

Password protecting means that only someone who knows the password can open the file. This method can be considered secure if your password is enough complex.

A keyfile is useful if you have a database that you sync with Cernbox or with another cloud service.

You can put the database in the cloud, but keep a keyfile only on the devices you use (e.g. your phone, your laptop).

Keyfiles do not change, and can be kept separate from the KeePass database.


How to manipulate entries in the database?

Create an entry

First, select a category on the main window, then File -> New Entry

Choose a Title for the new entry, as well as a Username  and a Password.

The password can be generated using the password generator available if you click on the button Generate

The Entropy can be considered as the level of security of the password. In simplified terms, this is the base-2-logarithm of the number of all possible such passwords -- 100 bits entropy equals 2^100 possible passwords.

Delete an entry

Simply Right-Click on the entry and select Delete

Basic Use of MacPass

Most useful features

The most important functions of MacPass can be found if you Right-Click on an entry:

Copy Username : will copy the the username in the clipboard of your Mac so you can past it in your web browser or any other application

Copy Password : will copy the the password in the clipboard of your Mac so you can past it in your web browser or any other application

URL -> Open URL : will launch the URL associated with this entry using your default web browser

Perform Autotype : will perform the Autotype sequence associated with the entry. Please see the Autotype section below.


Autotype simulates key strokes to enter enter text into applications. This concept makes it possible to enter user credentials in web forms, type passwords into terminals or enter text into an input of virtually any application. For example, you can use Autotype to enter your username and password in the App Store app but also on Autotype is invoked by clicking on Perform Autotype in the context menu for an entry. MacPass then will activate the last application and send the keystroke sequence defined by the Autotype sequence for the selected entry.

Example with Safari

  1. Open a website in Safari
  2. click at the user login input form
  3. switch to MacPass ans select the corresponding entry
  4. Perform Autotype

Safari will get the focus and for the default Autotype sequence {USERNAME}{TAB}{PASSWORD}{ENTER}, MacPass will type the username in the input field then tab will get sent to switch to the password input, MacPass then will send key strokes to type the password and after that an Enter stroke is sent. With this sequence, most web forms will get submitted correctly.

Advanced use of MacPass

For advanced usage of MacPass, please refer to the following pages :