I don’t like GPGTools. I want GPG on macOS. Every tutorial has some obsolete part. Here’s what I did.
GPGTools installs a lot of things that I don’t want to use. I just want to sign my commits on GitHub and save my GPG key in macOS keychain.
There are two main dependencies to achieve that, gnupg contains the GPG tools to generate keys and sign things, as well as an agent to do agent things; and pinentry-mac which is the part of GPGTools that prompts for your key password and stores it on the OS keychain.
Before anything, install Homebrew.
After that, install the dependencies:
brew install gnupg pinentry-mac
Note the output of the install command, which will tell you the location of the
==> Caveats ==> pinentry-mac You can now set this as your pinentry program like ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf pinentry-program /some/path/here
You need to configure gpg-agent to use pinentry-mac by creating a file ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf, pointing to the correct pinentry-mac program:
# Connects gpg-agent to the OSX keychain via the brew-installed # pinentry program from GPGtools. This is the OSX 'magic sauce', # allowing the gpg key's passphrase to be stored in the login # keychain, enabling automatic key signing. pinentry-program /usr/local/bin/pinentry-mac
For Apple Silicon Macs, Homebrew uses a different path:
Then, let’s generate your first key. I recommend using RSA and RSA, a key size of 4096, and not having the key expire. Remember to choose a strong password.
Then, sign a test message so pinentry-mac can store your password in the keychain:
echo "test" | gpg --clearsign
This should open a dialog prompting your password. Remember to check “Save in Keychain”.
Connecting to GitHub
First, copy your private key to add to GitHub:
gpg --export --armor email@example.com | pbcopy
And paste it in GitHub’s Settings > SSH and GPG keys > New GPG key.
Second, configure your git environment to use signed commits. I’ve done it globally. First obtain your public GPG keys:
$ gpg --list-secret-keys (...) sec rsa2048 2019-01-15 [SC] YOUR_GPG_KEY_APPEARS_HERE uid [ultimate] Your Name <firstname.lastname@example.org> ssb rsa2048 2019-01-15 [E]
Then configure git:
git config --global commit.gpgsign true git config --global user.signingkey YOUR_GPG_KEY
And finally, commit something with the-S argument to make sure it’s signed:
git commit -S -m "Testing GPG signature"
Things you can try if things are not working:
# Kill gpg-agent killall gpg-agent # Run gpg-agent in daemon mode gpg-agent --daemon
Cover photo by Micah Williams on Unsplash.
Top comments (7)
Note, for Apple Silicon users, the install location of homebrew packages has changed. Run
which pinentry-macto determine the correct location for you to be placed in the
Thanks for the heads up, I've updated the article to reflect that.
Amazing article. Helped me out today. Thank you Wes.
Thanks a lot, super helpful! 😃
Clean, simple and precise. Kudos!
Excellent advice, just what I've been looking for. Gpg-suite installs oodles of launch services. The keychain feature is the only thing that I need.
Thanks for this. Wanted to avoid GPG Suite myself and this was the only post I found that gave good clear instructions.