GPGServices: getting "bad passphrase" even though it's correct

Jen's Avatar


02 Feb, 2018 05:46 PM

I’m unable to sign my messages or unlock my secret key. I get “Encrypt/sign failed! (No passphrase given) Code =177” even though I’m entering the correct passphrase.

I did not upgrade to a new version of GPGTools; just downloaded the most recent version and had no problem creating a key pair. I can send and receive encrypted messages. For some reason, though, I cannot access my secret key.

I expected to be able to click the “Sign” box, enter my passphrase, and have a signed message.

macOS                   10.13.2     17C88
GPG Suite               2017.3      2081    (9658b70)
GPGMail -
GPG Keychain            1.4.2       1403    (128637e)
GPGServices             1.11.2      969     (e5438f7)
MacGPG                  2.2.3       900     (cead4f9)
GPG Suite Preferences   2.1.1       993     (05eb1a6)
Libmacgpg               0.8.2       829     (943132e)
pinentry           9       (db18340)
  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Steve on 05 Feb, 2018 06:30 PM

    Steve's Avatar

    Hi Jen,

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

    Does your OpenPGP passphrase contain any special characters? Are you entering the characters one by one or are you copy pasting your passphrase?

    Can you create a test key (which you do not upload to the key servers) and use the passphrase "123". Just accept the warning about short and unsafe password and test if you are able to sign as expected using that newly created test key.

    All the best,

  2. 2 Posted by Jen on 05 Feb, 2018 07:11 PM

    Jen's Avatar

    Thanks for your response.

    I made a test key as you suggested and I can export the secret key of the test key, but I cannot sign an encrypted message- "bad passphrase" :(

  3. Support Staff 3 Posted by Luke Le on 06 Feb, 2018 01:58 PM

    Luke Le's Avatar

    Hi Jen,

    if possible, could you please drop by our live support:

    We are usually available there between 10am - 6pm (Berlin Time)

  4. Support Staff 4 Posted by Luke Le on 06 Feb, 2018 04:06 PM

    Luke Le's Avatar

    Hi Jen,

    I believe that your passphrase is still in the cache or stored in Keychain Access, that's why decryption works and doesn't ask for your passphrase.
    I will try to figure out how to manually extract the passphrase from cache, and will let you know once I find out

  5. Support Staff 5 Posted by Luke Le on 06 Feb, 2018 05:07 PM

    Luke Le's Avatar

    Hi Jen,

    I found a way to manually extract the passphrase from cache, so whenever you have time, please try the live support again. Would be great sooner than later, otherwise the cache will probably be emptied.


  6. 6 Posted by Jen on 21 Feb, 2018 07:03 PM

    Jen's Avatar

    I have been working on another project and ran into a weird $PATH issue. Since this key issue was never resolved, I am wondering if the path could be the problem? When I echo $PATH, I currently get "/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/3.6/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/sbin:/usr/local/MacGPG2/bin"

    I wonder if it gets hung up looking for a key in one of those other directories?

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