How do I delete the passphrase for the SSH key without creating a new key?

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I set a passphrase when creating a new SSH key on my laptop. But, as I realise now, this is quite painful when you are trying to commit (Git and SVN) to a remote location over SSH many times in an hour.

One way I can think of is, delete my SSH keys and create new. Is there a way to remove the passphrase, while still keeping the same keys?


Short answer:

$ ssh-keygen -p

This will then prompt you to enter the keyfile location, the old passphrase, and the new passphrase (which can be left blank to have no passphrase).

If you would like to do it all on one line without prompts do:

$ ssh-keygen -p [-P old_passphrase] [-N new_passphrase] [-f keyfile]

Important: Beware that when executing commands they will typically be logged in your ~/.bash_history file (or similar) in plain text including all arguments provided (i.e. the passphrases in this case). It is therefore is recommended that you use the first option unless you have a specific reason to do otherwise.

You might want to consider using ssh-agent, which can cache the passphrase for a time. The latest versions of gpg-agent also support the protocol that is used by ssh-agent.