When I set my Mac Mini for iPhone development, I was told to backup a key file (.p12) because if I lost it and needed to reinstall, I wouldn't be able to deploy to my iPhone (yikes!). I backed it up as suggested, and made sure I had copies of it all over my Mac, PC and the interwebs.

With a clean install of Snow Leopard, it was time to import this keyfile and make sure everything still worked. As instructed in the docs, I double-clicked on the .p12 file and was asked for the password. I entered it and got the following message:

An error has occurred. Unable to import an item. The contents of an item cannot be retrieved.

Oh, shit.

I tried multiple times to import, and even imported other keys I'd exported before it. I'm 100% sure I was putting the password in correctly. No joy, just lots of errors. Although the key appeared in the list (after apparently failing), Xcode refused to recognise it and I'm unable to deploy to my iPhone. This was looking pretty bad...

Google to the rescue!

After a bit of searching, I came across a post from someone having the same issue, and a workaround. Importing via the terminal apparently works. I gave this a shot, and all is good. I can now deploy to my iPhone again. Thanks Dave K!

Just in case you're reading this with the same problem and the link above is now broken, here's a copy of the solution:

Work-around provided by Dave K.

You can use the 'security' command line tool:
security import priv_key.p12 -k ~/Library/Keychains/login.keychain
security import pub_key.pem -k ~/Library/Keychains/login.keychain

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