At some point I found myself wanting to move/copy my GPG keys. Since I didn’t find the exact answer I was looking for, this is a quick writeup detailing the steps required.
First we need to know the details of the GPG keys we’re going to move, specifically the Key ID.
# To list the keys in your public key ring: gpg --list-keys # To list the keys in your secret key ring: gpg --list-secret-keys
keyid with the Key ID found in the previous step.
# Export the secret key gpg --export-secret-keys -a [keyid] > private_key.asc # Export the public key gpg --export -a [keyid] > public_key.asc
Now you should have 2 keys available, which you can securely copy them to the second machine you want to use them on.
To import the GPG keys on your second machine:
# Import the private key gpg --import private_key.asc # Import the public key gpg --import public_key.asc
This imports the keys, but they cannot be used yet.
To activate the key, run:
gpg --edit-key firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.com is the email address associated with your GPG key.
This opens the GPG command prompt:
gpg (GnuPG) 2.2.15; Copyright (C) 2019 Free Software Foundation, Inc. This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law. Secret key is available. [your keys here] gpg>
From the GPG command line, type:
trust and press
You should see something like below:
gpg> trust Please decide how far you trust this user to correctly verify other users' keys (by looking at passports, checking fingerprints from different sources, etc.) 1 = I don't know or won't say 2 = I do NOT trust 3 = I trust marginally 4 = I trust fully 5 = I trust ultimately m = back to the main menu Your decision?
Only if this is your main GPG key, you should choose ultimate trust by choosing
5 and pressing
You should now be able to use your GPG key on your other machine!