How to find and share your public key

1. Locating your public key

Once you have created your key GPG Keychain has both, your public and secret key. Your own key shows in bold and is listed as sec/pub while your friends public keys show as pub in the Type column.


Double click any entry to open detailed information about that key. For your own sec/pub key you can renew, add or remove an expiry date for example.

2. Sharing your public key

2.1 Key server

We recommend using the key servers for distribution of your key. That way it's simple for your friends to retrieve your public key. Once they have your key in their GPG Keychain app, they can create encrypted messages for you. They also can verify incoming signed messages from you.

Important: Keys can not be deleted from the key servers, which is a pain in the ass, but that's how it is currently. They can be revoke but not removed. Keep that in mind when fiddling with key servers.

After key creation you are asked if you want to upload your public key. To upload your key at a later point in time, select your sec/pub key and select menu bar > Key > Send Public Key to Key Server or press ⌘K.

2.2 Email public key

To email your public key to a friend select menu bar > Key > Mail Public Key… or press ⇧⌘M will create a new draft with your public key attached. Subject and message body are already filled with an explanatory text, informing the recipient about how to handle your public key.

2.3 Email signature with public key

It is a good idea, to add your key fingerprint to your email signature. In case you do not use the key servers, consider uploading your public key as .asc file and link to that file in your email signature. There are many ways to solve key distribution - be creative, or use the key servers.

To export your public key, drag your sec/pub key to your desktop. The resulting file will contain your public key. To view your exported key in text form, open the exported file with Text Edit.

2.4 Your public key in text form

To access, copy & share your public key in text form:

  1. open GPG Keychain and drag the sec/pub key in question to your desktop
  2. a file with the .asc extension will be created containing your public key
  3. open the exported file with TextEdit to see your public key in text form