More conventional version of EMKeychain
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EMKeychain: A Cocoa Keychain Wrapper

By Brian Amerige of Extendmac, LLC., 12/15/2007

© Copyright 2007 Extendmac, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Purpose: To create a cocoa wrapper class (not a bloated framework) to proxy between your application and the unfortunately-carbon based keychain.

Current State: Usable in what I expect to be most simple application scenarios. See the class overview information below to verify that EMKeychain is the best fit for your project.


  • Link your application against the Security frameworks in /System/Library (Carbon is not necessary!)

Update: This update to the Cocoa wrapper was thought up, written, and published by Steven Degutis. The purpose is to merge the EMKeychainProxy class into the EMKeychainItem class as class methods, rather than instance methods. Thus, this update both simplifies the wrapper for developers, and uses more conventional Cocoa standards. (There are also two new methods for conveniently setting/getting the password of a generic keychain.)

Sam Soffes has added the ability to remove keychain items.

Class Overview

  • EMKeychainItem
    • A container object that houses information about your keychain item, and provides modification functionality.
    • Locking the Keychain:
      • + (void)lockKeychain;
      • + (void)unlockKeychain;
    • Removing
      • + (void)removeKeychainItem:(EMKeychainItem *)keychainItem;
      • - (void)remove;
    • Getters
      • - (NSString *)password;
      • - (NSString *)username;
    • Setters
      • - (BOOL)setPassword:(NSString *)newPassword;
      • - (BOOL)setUsername:(NSString *)newUsername;
    • Subclasses
      • EMGenericKeychainItem
        • Convenience methods for Getting and Setting a password on a generic Keychain
          • + (void) setKeychainPassword:(NSString*)password forUsername:(NSString*)username service:(NSString*)serviceName;
          • + (NSString*) passwordForUsername:(NSString*)username service:(NSString*)serviceName;
        • Getting or Creating new Keychain items
          • + (EMGenericKeychainItem *)genericKeychainItemForService:(NSString *)serviceNameString withUsername:(NSString *)usernameString;
          • + (EMGenericKeychainItem *)addGenericKeychainItemForService:(NSString *)serviceNameString withUsername:(NSString *)usernameString password:(NSString *)passwordString;
        • Getters
          • - (NSString *)serviceName;
        • Setter Methods
          • - (BOOL)setServiceName:(NSString *)newServiceName;
      • EMInternetKeychainItem
        • Getting or Creating new Keychain items
          • + (EMInternetKeychainItem *)internetKeychainItemForServer:(NSString *)serverString withUsername:(NSString *)usernameString path:(NSString *)pathString port:(int)port protocol:(SecProtocolType)protocol;
          • + (EMInternetKeychainItem *)addInternetKeychainItemForServer:(NSString *)serverString withUsername:(NSString *)usernameString password:(NSString *)passwordString path:(NSString *)pathString port:(int)port protocol:(SecProtocolType)protocol;
        • Getters
          • - (NSString *)server;
          • - (NSString *)path;
          • - (int)port;
          • - (SecProtocolType)protocol;
        • Setters
          • - (BOOL)setServer:(NSString *)newServer;
          • - (BOOL)setPath:(NSString *)newPath;
          • - (BOOL)setPort:(int)newPort;
          • - (BOOL)setProtocol:(SecProtocolType)newProtocol;

Example Usage

Adding a generic keychain item

[EMGenericKeychainItem addGenericKeychainItemForService:@"SomeApplicationService" withUsername:@"Joe" password:@"SuperSecure!"];

Adding an internet keychain item

[EMInternetKeychainItem addInternetKeychainItemForServer:@"" withUsername:@"sjobs" password:@"magic" path:@"/httpdocs/" port:21 protocol:kSecProtocolTypeFTP];

Note that the protocol asks for a SecProtocolType.

Working with a keychain item

EMInternetKeychainItem *keychainItem = [EMInternetKeychainItem internetKeychainItemForServer:@"" withUsername:@"sjobs" path:@"/httpdocs" port:21 protocol:kSecProtocolTypeFTP];

// Get the password
NSString *password = [keychainItem password];

// Change the password and user
[keychainItem setPassword:@"mynewpass"];
[keychainItem setUsername:@"phil"];

Removing an item

[[EMGenericKeychainItem genericKeychainItemForService:@"SomeApplicationService" withUsername:@"sam"] remove];


[EMKeychainItem removeKeychainItem:[EMGenericKeychainItem genericKeychainItemForService:@"SomeApplicationService" withUsername:@"sam"]];

Keychain item removal calls SecKeychainItemDelete(). The documentation for this function states that you cannot delete an item and then recreate it without loosing access rights. In the following snippet we create an item, delete it and then recreate it again.

EMGenericKeychainItem *item1 = [EMGenericKeychainItem addGenericKeychainItemForService:@"Alice" withUsername:@"Bob" password:@"Charlie!"];
(item1 ? NSLog(@"item 1 created") : NSLog(@"item 1 not created"));
item1 = [EMGenericKeychainItem genericKeychainItemForService:@"Alice" withUsername:@"Bob"];
(item1 ? NSLog(@"item 1 found") : NSLog(@"item 1 not found"));
[item1 remove];
 EMGenericKeychainItem *item2 = [EMGenericKeychainItem addGenericKeychainItemForService:@"Alice" withUsername:@"Bob" password:@"Charlie!"];
(item2 ? NSLog(@"item 2 created") : NSLog(@"item 2 not created"));
 item2 = [EMGenericKeychainItem genericKeychainItemForService:@"Alice" withUsername:@"Bob"];
 (item2 ? NSLog(@"item 2 found") : NSLog(@"item 2 not found"));

The logged output is:

KeyChain test: item 1 created
KeyChain test: item 1 found
KeyChain test: item 2 created
KeyChain test: item 2 not found