You have git repositories setup for http access,
and you want to access automatically without typing your password.

Set up an access token

Generate an access token for GitHub:

  • Go to Personal access tokens and click Generate new token.
  • In the next screen name it Personal Token (the name doesn’t matter), and check every option except “delete_repo”. This is for security, so if you want to remove the repository you have to do it manually from the web.
  • Click Generate new token and copy it to a safe location.

Check that the token works:

curl -u MYTOKEN:x-oauth-basic
  • Replace MYTOKEN with your token obviously.
  • If you don’t have curl, brew install curl using Homebrew.
  • If you want to clear the token from your bash history type: history -c.

Create a .netrc file

.netrc is a file in your home directory that has the information that enables authenticated HTTP/HTTPS logins. Google it.

  • Edit the file (mate is my editor):
mate ~/.netrc
  • Paste this content (replace TOKEN with your personal token)
login janopoq
password TOKEN
protocol https

At this point it clones using git and http/https without user interaction.

When we created the SSH key, we protected it with a password, but the .netrc key is unprotected. This means that anyone with physical access to your computer while your user is logged can dump the .netrc. If this is a concern for you, here is how to protect it with GPG.

Encrypt .netrc with GPG

  • Install GPG using Homebrew.
brew install gpg
  • Replace pinentry with a mac compatible version:
brew install pinentry-mac
echo "pinentry-program /usr/local/bin/pinentry-mac" >> ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf
killall gpg-agent
  • To create a GPG key type the following and carefully follow the instructions. Be aware it will ask you for a password to protect your key.
gpg --gen-key
  • Replace .netrc with an encrypted version:
gpg -e -r ~/.netrc
git config --global credential.helper "netrc -f ~/.netrc.gpg -v"
chmod 600 ~/.netrc.gpg
rm .netrc

Now try again for the final test. Be aware it will ask you for the GPG password you set before.

git clone

This will present you with a GUI asking for your GPG password and offering to store it in the keychain. You won’t have to type it everytime.