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Remove “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” pop-up on Mac

Here is how to stop an influx of pop-up alerts on Mac saying “accountsd wants to use the login keychain”, which can be a sign of misconfiguration or malware.

What is the “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” alert?

With the ubiquity of potentially unwanted or outright harmful Mac applications in the wild, there are plenty of hypothetical situations that can undermine or ruin the user experience through annoying pop-ups within or outside a web browser. That being said, warnings that are caused by bugs or inconsistencies at the level of the operating system seem to be the lesser of two evils, but they are equally frustrating. To top it off, sometimes it’s problematic to differentiate between malicious or benign catalysts for such activity, which hampers the process of accurately diagnosing the root cause. This ambiguity applies to the issue where pop-up alerts saying “accountsd wants to use the “login” keychain” are repeatedly displayed on a Mac computer.

‘accountsd wants to use the login keychain’ pop-up alert on Mac

Let’s start with the non-malicious facet of this problem. For clarity’s sake, it’s worth diving into the essence of the accountsd entity first. It is a system service geared toward ensuring that the installed applications and the Mac user’s accounts are acting in concert. This bilateral harmony is a prerequisite for seamlessly accessing the native and third-party utilities without the need to enter authentication details off and on. To make this awesomeness happen, the user should head to Internet Accounts under System Preferences and enroll the frequently used services there. On a side note, the iCloud account is added to this list automatically. At some point, though, this synchronization may stop functioning the way it should.

The “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” pop-up problem often appears after macOS updates – either major or supplementary ones. The possible correlation between these two occurrences is as follows: system tweaks may cause this keychain to be locked, although they shouldn’t. When this drag kicks in, the workaround is to open the “Keychain Access” app from the Mac’s “Utilities” interface, right-click the “login” entry in the sidebar, choose “Change Settings for Keychain login”, and deselect the “Lock when sleeping” option if the box next to it is checked. Also, consider disabling the “Lock after” feature or enter a period of inactivity longer than the default five minutes.

Change the ‘login’ keychain settings to stop the alert from appearing

Another likely scenario where the “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” pop-ups start flooding the system stems from a change of the macOS user account credentials. Ideally, the new password should take effect across all the services and applications without any manual action. However, this isn’t always the case, and the authentication data for the high-level “login” keychain and for the system might not match. If so, the easy fix is to make sure that the keychain and the system are using the same password. To do it, open the “Keychain Access” screen once again, right-click “login”, and select “Change Password for Keychain ‘login’” in the context menu. Enter and confirm the new password to bring credentials back into sync.

Blaming the pop-up activity on a system glitch is the correct train of thought in most cases, but there is an extra shade of this problem most users are clueless about. Some strains of Mac malware masquerade themselves as legitimate system services, and a few are even capable of riddling regular processes with toxic components to slip under the radar. Things get worse if this impersonation trick is aimed at accessing the victim’s keychains, which is a source of highly sensitive information that might fuel identity theft and virus distribution campaigns. Therefore, if the “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” alerts are recurrently popping up on a Mac, one of the important remediation steps is to check the system for harmful code and remove whatever is detected.

“Accountsd wants to use the login keychain” virus alert manual removal for Mac

The steps listed below will walk you through the removal of this malicious application. Be sure to follow the instructions in the specified order.

  1. Expand the Go menu in your Mac’s Finder bar and select Utilities as shown below.

    Go to Utilities

  2. Locate the Activity Monitor icon on the Utilities screen and double-click on it.

    Select the Activity Monitor

  3. In the Activity Monitor app, look for a process that appears suspicious. To narrow down your search, focus on unfamiliar resource-intensive entries on the list. Keep in mind that its name isn’t necessarily related to the way the threat is manifesting itself, so you’ll need to trust your own judgement. If you pinpoint the culprit, select it and click on the Stop icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

    Stop malicious process

  4. When a follow-up dialog pops up asking if you are sure you want to quit the troublemaking process, select the Force Quit option.

    Select the Force Quit option

  5. Click on the Go menu icon in the Finder again and select Go to Folder. You can as well use the Command-Shift-G keyboard shortcut.

    Use the Go to Folder feature

  6. Type /Library/LaunchAgents in the folder search dialog and click on the Go button.

    Open /Library/LaunchAgents folder

  7. Examine the contents of the LaunchAgents folder for dubious-looking items. Be advised that the names of files spawned by malware may give no clear clues that they are malicious, so you should look for recently added entities that appear to deviate from the norm.

    As an illustration, here are several examples of LaunchAgents related to mainstream Mac infections: com.pcv.hlpramc.plist, com.updater.mcy.plist, com.avickUpd.plist, and com.msp.agent.plist. If you spot files that don’t belong on the list, go ahead and drag them to the Trash.

    Root-level LaunchAgents folder contents

  8. Use the Go to Folder lookup feature again to navigate to the folder named ~/Library/Application Support (note the tilde symbol prepended to the path).

    Open ~/Library/Application Support folder

  9. When the Application Support directory is opened, identify recently generated suspicious folders in it and send them to the Trash. A quick tip is to look for items whose names have nothing to do with Apple products or apps you knowingly installed. A few examples of known-malicious folder names are UtilityParze, ProgressSite, and IdeaShared.

    Application Support folder contents

  10. Enter ~/Library/LaunchAgents string (don’t forget to include the tilde character) in the Go to Folder search area.

    Open ~/Library/LaunchAgents directory

  11. The system will display LaunchAgents residing in the current user’s Home directory. Look for dodgy items related to “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” pop-up virus (see logic highlighted in subsections above) and drag the suspects to the Trash.

    Contents of LaunchAgents folder in user’s home directory

  12. Type /Library/LaunchDaemons in the Go to Folder search field.

    Go to /Library/LaunchDaemons

  13. In the LaunchDaemons path, try to pinpoint the files the malware is using for persistence. Several examples of such items cropped by Mac infections are com.pplauncher.plist, com.startup.plist, and com.ExpertModuleSearchDaemon.plist. Delete the sketchy files immediately.

    LaunchDaemons folder contents

  14. Click on the Go menu icon in your Mac’s Finder and select Applications on the list.

    Go to Applications screen on Mac

  15. Find the entry for an app that clearly doesn’t belong there and move it to the Trash. If this action requires your admin password for confirmation, go ahead and enter it.

    Drag malicious app to the Trash

  16. Expand the Apple menu and select System Preferences.

    Select System Preferences

    Open System Preferences

  17. Proceed to Users & Groups and click on the Login Items tab.

    Proceed to Users & Groups

    The system will display the list of items launched when the computer is starting up. Locate the potentially unwanted app there and click on the “-” (minus) button.

    Delete unwanted login item

  18. Now select Profiles under System Preferences. Look for a malicious item in the left-hand sidebar. Several examples of configuration profiles created by Mac adware include TechSignalSearch, MainSearchPlatform, AdminPrefs, and Safari Settings. Select the offending entity and click on the minus sign at the bottom to eliminate it.

    Select Profiles under System Preferences

    Remove malicious configuration profile from Mac

    If your Mac has been infiltrated by adware, the infection will most likely continue to hold sway over your default web browser even after you remove the underlying application along with its components sprinkled around the system. Use the browser cleanup instructions below to address the remaining consequences of this attack.

Get rid of “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” pop-ups in web browser on Mac

To begin with, the web browser settings taken over by the “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” virus should be restored to their default values. Although this will clear most of your customizations, web surfing history, and all temporary data stored by websites, the malicious interference should be terminated likewise. The overview of the steps for completing this procedure is as follows:

  1. Remove “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” pop-up virus from Safari
    • Open the browser and go to Safari menu. Select Preferences in the drop-down list.

      Go to Preferences in Safari

    • Once the Preferences screen appears, click on the Advanced tab and enable the option saying “Show Develop menu in menu bar”.

      Advanced tab under Safari Preferences

    • Now that the Develop entry has been added to the Safari menu, expand it and click on Empty Caches.

      Empty Caches in Safari

    • Now select History in the Safari menu and click on Clear History in the drop-down list.

      Clear history in Safari

    • Safari will display a dialog asking you to specify the period of time this action will apply to. Select all history to ensure a maximum effect. Click on the Clear History button to confirm and exit.

      Select all history to clear

    • Go back to the Safari Preferences and hit the Privacy tab at the top. Find the option that says Manage Website Data and click on it.

      Manage Website Data option under Privacy tab

    • The browser will display a follow-up screen listing the websites that have stored data about your Internet activities. This dialog additionally includes a brief description of what the removal does: you may be logged out of some services and encounter other changes of website behavior after the procedure. If you’re okay with that, go ahead and click on the Remove All button.

      Confirmation dialog

    • Restart Safari
  2. Remove “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” in Google Chrome
    • Open Chrome, click the Customize and control Google Chrome (⁝) icon in the top right-hand part of the window, and select Settings in the drop-down

      Chrome Settings

    • When on the Settings pane, select Advanced
    • Scroll down to the Reset settings section.

      Reset settings in Chrome on Mac

    • Confirm the Chrome reset on a dialog that will pop up. When the procedure is completed, relaunch the browser and check it for malware activity.

      Here’s how to reset settings in Chrome on Mac

  3. Remove “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” pop-up from Mozilla Firefox
    • Open Firefox and go to Help – Troubleshooting Information (or type about:support in the URL bar and press Enter).

      Open Firefox and go to Help

      Select Troubleshooting Information

    • When on the Troubleshooting Information screen, click on the Refresh Firefox button.

      Refresh Firefox on Mac

    • Confirm the intended changes and restart Firefox.

Get rid of “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” pop-ups in web browser on Mac

The Mac maintenance and security app called Combo Cleaner is a one-stop tool to detect and remove “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” virus. This technique has substantial benefits over manual cleanup, because the utility gets hourly virus definition updates and can accurately spot even the newest Mac infections.

Furthermore, the automatic solution will find the core files of the malware deep down the system structure, which might otherwise be a challenge to locate. Here’s a walkthrough to sort out the “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” issue using Combo Cleaner:

  1. Download Combo Cleaner installer. When done, double-click the combocleaner.dmg file and follow the prompts to install the tool onto your Mac.

    Download Combo Cleaner

    By downloading any applications recommended on this website you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. The free scanner checks whether your Mac is infected. To get rid of malware, you need to purchase the Premium version of Combo Cleaner.

  2. Open the app from your Launchpad and let it run the update of malware signature database to make sure it can identify the latest threats.
  3. Click the Start Combo Scan button to check your Mac for malicious activity as well as performance issues.

    Combo Cleaner Mac scan progress

  4. Examine the scan results. If the report says “No Threats”, then you are on the right track with the manual cleaning and can safely proceed to tidy up the web browser that may continue to act up due to the after-effects of the malware attack (see instructions above).

    Combo Cleaner scan report – no threats found

  5. In case Combo Cleaner has detected malicious code, click the Remove Selected Items button and have the utility remove “accountsd wants to use the login keychain” threat along with any other viruses, PUPs (potentially unwanted programs), or junk files that don’t belong on your Mac.

    Combo Cleaner – threats found

  6. Once you have made doubly sure that the malicious app is uninstalled, the browser-level troubleshooting might still be on your to-do list. If your preferred browser is affected, resort to the previous section of this tutorial to revert to hassle-free web surfing.
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