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Handling Multiple Github Accounts on MacOS

Handling Multiple Github Accounts on MacOS

The only way I've succeeded so far is to employ SSH.

Assuming you are new to this like me, first I'd like to share with you that your Mac has a SSH config file in a .ssh directory. The config file is where you draw relations of your SSH keys to each GitHub (or Bitbucket) account, and all your SSH keys generated are saved into .ssh directory by default. You can navigate to it by running cd ~/.ssh within your terminal, open the config file with any editor, and it should look something like this:

Host *
 AddKeysToAgent yes
 UseKeyChain yes
 IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa
 ForwardAgent yes

Assuming you've got 2 github accounts, for work and play, lets get your Mac to "register" them. To do that that you'll need to create SSH key pairs for each account. If you have already setup your Mac to SSH with one of them, or check if you have one, continue on with the following for the second account.

1. Creating the SSH keys. For each SSH key pairs:

  • run ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C ""

  • You'll be prompted: "Enter a file in which to save the key" and the suggested default filename would be id_rsa. This filename will be used for your SSH private and public keys so remember to make it unique, eg. user-1, user-2. This step will generate both the private and public keys, user-1 + , user-2 + respectively.

  • GitHub has this step in detail. We're not adding the keys to the ssh-agent.

2. Register your keys to the respective GitHub accounts.

  • Follow these steps to do so.

3. Head back over to the SSH config file at ~/.ssh and amend accordingly to:

#user1 account
   User git
   IdentityFile ~/.ssh/github-user1
   IdentitiesOnly yes

#user2 account
   User git
   IdentityFile ~/.ssh/github-user2
   IdentitiesOnly yes

Replace user1 or user2 with your GitHub usernames/identification-handlers

4. Go ahead to git clone your respective repository

git clone your-repo-name_user1

5. Configure your git identity:

  • Open up local git config using git config --local -e and add:
    name = user1
    email =

6. Ensure your remote url is in the right format e.g: your-repo-name_user1

  • You either run git remote set-url origin your-repo-name_user1
  • Or amend your remote ssh-url in your local git config file:
 [remote "origin"] 
       url =
       fetch = +refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*

Now you can git actions (pull/push/fetch...etc) all you like!


Special thanks to @pbuditi for your help!

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n8sabes commented Jan 2, 2023

Thanks @Jonalogy!

Incredibly useful -- Thanks for taking the time to figure this out and share it.

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Trangbn commented Jan 16, 2023

I followed the guide. However it always accept the first relevant_ssh_key when it's added. The second added is always ERROR repository not found. Could you advise on this ?

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I was able to make it happen only with multiple .gitconfig, that I configured for multiple dirs such as

[includeIf "gitdir:~/PROJ1/"]
    path = ~/.gitconfig-proj1

[includeIf "gitdir:~/PROJ2/"]
    path = ~/gitconfig-proj2

A very decent guide is here

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mwritter commented Mar 16, 2023

Sometime adding the key was not solving it for me. So i started following this sequentially. It gives more consistent result.

# list all the SSH keys attached to the ssh-agent
$ ssh-add -l
# removes all ssh entries from the ssh-agent                             
$ ssh-add -D
# Adds the relevant ssh key  
$ ssh-add ~/.ssh/relevant_ssh_key

🙌 This seems to be the easiest method for me - Thanks!
I added an alias in my rc file to make this even easier 😆

# Alias for switching git accounts
alias git_user1='ssh-add -D && ssh-add ~/.ssh/user1_id'
alias git_user2='ssh-add -D && ssh-add ~/.ssh/user2_id'

now to switch accounts I just run git_user1 or git_user2

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alesalv commented Apr 28, 2023

I have similar problems mentioned here and there in the comments, in a two users setup:

  • few months ago it stopped working
  • when I add both keys then only one is accepted, the second one gives errors

The only solution for me is to always remove all of them (ssh-add -D) and then add only the one I'm using at the moment ... I've also added aliases, but it's quite annoying

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I create a CLI command to handle this! Checkout my repo~~ This repo uses ssh-agent to switch your ssh account.


A CLI tool can switch an ssh account to your current shell. You will easily switch to your git account & ssh key when using the server, and using your account to manipulate the project on the server.


$ bash ./

it will add some code in your profile & $logout_profile, and setup git-acc & .gitacc on the $HOME. file: -> $HOME/.git-acc, git-acc function.
.gitacc -> $HOME/.gitacc, save info. that regist on git-acc.


        |    git-acc    |


  git-acc [account]|[option]


  [account]               use which accounts on this shell, type the account name that you register.
  -h, --help              print help information.
  -add, --add_account     build git_account info. & ssh-key.
      -t, --type          ssh-key types, follow `ssh-keygen` rule, 
                          types: dsa | ecdsa | ecdsa-sk | ed25519 | ed25519-sk | rsa(default)
  -rm, --remove_account   remove git_account info. & ssh-key from this device
  -out, --logout          logout your current ssh-acc.


  $ git-acc tw-yshuang

This extension is seems to only for Linux, anyone succeeded in Mac?

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Hi @ansarisufiyan777, I'm the author of this extension. I think it can be functional on the MBP & Ubuntu because I'm using this tool on both platforms. What's the problem you met?

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Thanks a lot!

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Hi, thanks so much for the guide! It's always my go to when setting up.
Just wanted to check in if there's a way I can configure my git users to automatically switch users when busy on either work projects or person work. Sometimes my personal user is able to push work to my work repo's which I don't want

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Thank you so much! this really helped

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kwam1na commented Jun 14, 2023

the hero we needed but don't deserve

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This is helpful again, years later. Also, LOVE @kwam1na comment. Exactly!

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What if the repo is in the organization how to set the remote URL for it.
is this correct?

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@tamili2i - Your line worked for me. I keep forgetting how to do this every time I have a new org repo to clone locally.

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currently, I am working with GitHub let's assume with the email: and I have another GitHub with an email linked with How I can work on both GitHub accounts with the same terminal Please suggest!

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tamili2i commented Dec 8, 2023


Configure ssh for two accounts

#user1 account
   User git
   IdentityFile ~/.ssh/github-user1
   IdentitiesOnly yes

#user2 account
   User git
   IdentityFile ~/.ssh/github-user2
   IdentitiesOnly yes

Clone Repositorys like below

Repository1 - git clone your-repo-name_user1
Repository2 - git clone your-repo-name_user2

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hile commented Dec 11, 2023

There is another way to do this with SSH: create SSH configuration aliases for the hosts to define separate keys and change the origin URLs in SSH string to use these alias hosts.

In .ssh/config

  User personalid
   IdentityFile~/ .ssh/personal-ssh-key
  User workaccount
  IdentityFile ~/.ssh/work-ssh-key

And then change origin URL in repo config to use or kind of URLs. The git commands don't do DNS lookups and SSH resolves the alias names for you with correct key.

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varzhonglei commented Jan 11, 2024

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