GPG Keychain: Importing private keys from previous computer

David Wright's Avatar

David Wright

28 Jul, 2019 03:53 AM

I just got a new laptop and I am trying to move my private key over to the new computer. I export and click on private key export option. When I go to import on the new computer it says “Importing Key” and then after some time says Import Successful, “1 key was processed and 0 imported.”

The public key imported without issue. I cannot get the private key imported.

I expected the private key to import.

macOS                   10.14.5     18F132
GPG Suite               2018.5      2368    (6f26711)
GPG Mail    -
GPG Keychain            1.4.6       1514    (560b5a9)
GPG Services            1.11.6      1056    (ad0c960)
MacGPG                  2.2.10      921     (b487092)
GPG Suite Preferences   2.1.4       1077    (ad934a9)
Libmacgpg               0.8.7       895     (78f424a)
pinentry                1.1.0       10      (1ff8803)
  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Steve on 29 Jul, 2019 06:25 PM

    Steve's Avatar

    Hi David,

    welcome to the GPGTools support platform. Sorry you are having problems using GPG Suite.

    Could you open the exprted file in TextEdit and double check you indeed included the secret key in your export?

    You are looking for this line


    If that is not in your file, please re-export your sec/pub key and make sure to tick the option to include the secret key part.

    I am noticing GPG Mail is not installed on the mac you were sending your report from. Is that intentional?

    In any case: This KB-article explains how to backup keys or your entire .gnupg folder. It also explains how to transfer keys from one mac to a second mac.

    All the best,

  2. 2 Posted by David Wright on 30 Jul, 2019 01:36 PM

    David Wright's Avatar

    Yes, I included the secret key in the export - I’m fairly well versed with
    all of this, which is why I cannot figure out what is the issue here.

    And yes, it was intentional for me not to install the GPG Mail - I don’t
    use the Mail app nor have any use for it. In this case, I don’t think it’s

    That article is exactly what I followed initially in order to transfer my
    keys, but it will not import my secret keys. I don’t get it.

  3. Support Staff 3 Posted by Steve on 31 Jul, 2019 03:02 PM

    Steve's Avatar

    I'm setting this discussion to "private". That means only our core-team and the company hosting this support platform are able to access this discussion.

    Can you share the public key part of your key so we can take a closer look at your key?

  4. 4 Posted by David Wright on 31 Jul, 2019 05:34 PM

    David Wright's Avatar

    I actually resolved it by copying the entire hidden folder under my
    username /.gpg something to the new computer. The secret keys and such
    moved completely. Thank you!

  5. Support Staff 5 Posted by Steve on 01 Aug, 2019 04:21 PM

    Steve's Avatar

    That good news. If any further trouble arises don't hesitate to ping us. You can re-open this discussion or open a new one any time.

    Have a great day,

  6. Steve closed this discussion on 01 Aug, 2019 04:21 PM.

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