Keychain Syncing

Error configuring keychain syncing

In Mac, Mac OS X, Mac OS X, OS X Lion, Tips & Tricks by andre13 Comments

‘An error occurred when configuring keychain syncing’ shows up on my iMac after login in the morning, and today after being away for a few days. There are no noticeable problems using the computer and clicking OK removes the message until the next morning, annoying, but not fatal.

This error occurred after upgrading to Lion when it came out. Doing a manual sync via System Preferences does not reproduce this error and everything works fine. I used Keychain First Aid to examine the keychains, but there were no problems either. I found one post indicating that Apple is aware of this problem but there is no ETA for a solution.

After trying all of the suggested solutions Google served up, none of which resolving the problem, I will sit tight and wait to see if Apple will come up with a fix.

If any of you have a solution, please share and I will gladly try it.

Image Credit: unten44


  1. The big secret to fewer sync issues:

    1. If you don’t know what it is, or are not absolutely certain you need to sync it, you don’t.
    Always this question: “Why is it there if you aren’t supposed to use it?” *sigh*
    What does logic tell you?
    Do you push every button or flip every switch in your car because they’re there?
    (Answer: No) KISS – Keep it simple, S_____.

    2. DO NOT SYNC Keychains or Preferences between different versions of OSX*.
    Why? You are asking for trouble.
    But why? Because they are DIFFERENT. Syncing doesn’t magically upgrade/downgrade the files.

    3. DO NOT SET/ENABLE AUTOMATIC SYNCING for anything other than the following four items:
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Bookmarks
    • Notes

    3a. Only do so if you *actually use* those items regularly. See Rule 1 for further clarification.

    4. As a general rule, you should not set your sync interval to Automatic.
    Set it for Every Hour or greater. (You can always click “Sync Now” for instant gratification.)
    This falls under the KISS concept. You’ll thank me later. Or perhaps not.

    5. IF you meet -any- of the following conditions:

    • You are syncing only one Mac with one or multiple iOS devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
    • You sync multiple Macs with different versions of OSX* on them (Rule #2)
    • You sync between a Windows machine and a Mac
    • You are syncing only your one Mac** with the cloud

    THEN you do not need to sync anything other than:
    Contacts, Calendars, Bookmarks, Notes (on Mac only.)
    None of the other options in the sync preferences pane will sync to your iOS device. Nothing.
    So uncheckeverything else in the list.

    If you are just dying to know what the other sync items are for, specifically, and don’t want to take my word for it when I say you don’t need it, check out these articles:
    Set up MobileMe Syncing on a Mac
    Set up MobileMe Syncing on a PC
    Set up MobileMe Syncing on iPad
    Set up MobileMe Sync on iPhone or iPod Touch

    Hint: Step 3 on each page tells you exactly what to sync for that device. Instructions are your friend! 🙂

    *This is pronounced “Oh Ess TEN” and not “Oh Ess EX” It’s a roman numeral ten, not an “x”.
    (Bonus: Saying it correctly will help you sound smarter. About that item, anyhow. You’re welcome.)
    ** Why would you do this? To what are you syncing the info??
    To the cloud because it *wants* it? No. Disable it.

  2. I just bought new macbook air with Lion installed and I too am getting the “keychain sync” error

  3. Same issue here. Glad to find your post, and thanks for doing the legwork to see if there was a fix from Apple! Sometimes it’s just nice to know that your computer isn’t the only insane one, LOL!

  4. Me too!

    whats about this message? Is it linked to iDisk? Or maybe MobileMe?

    what did you think, about?!

  5. Me too!

    However Steve’s hope that it would be rectified in the first batch of fixes for Lion appears to be unfounded. I’ve just applied yesterday’s 10.7.1 patch and I’m afraid that nothing has changed.

    I wonder, from what Mike says, if it could be fixed by a “nuke and pave”?

  6. I hope this can help Apple to find a solution. I upgraded a Mini with Lion and I have the same error others have spoken of here. However, I bought a new MB Air in June and upgraded it to Lion as well and I do NOT get this error. I have no idea if it is “age” related or previous platform related. The Mini is less than 2 years old.

  7. After upgrading my MBA to Lion, same error – everything else works fine. There was no problem before the upgrade and, other than the error message, I don’t see any problem afterwards. Conclusion: Definitely related to Lion, not the keychain.

  8. Thanks for the post. I don’t have a solution but I do have the same issue. Let’s hope Apple include the solution in their first ytranche of Lion fixes.

  9. Yeah, I’ve seen that too on my iMac…

    As far as I know, Keychain syncing was working without problems before the Lion upgrade (and to be honest, still seems to be working fine, error message aside…)

    Hopefully this can be fixed though.

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