How to Install a CAC Reader for Mac [UPDATED 2020!]

Here are the steps on how to install a CAC Reader for Mac:

  1. Ensure your CAC reader works with Mac
  2. Check to ensure your Mac accepts the reader
  3. Check your Mac OS version
  4. Check your CAC’s version
  5. Update your DOD certificates
  6. Guidance for Firefox Users
  7. Look at graphs to see which CAC enabler to use

Step 1: Purchase a Mac Friendly CAC Reader

Purchase a CAC reader that works for your Mac. There are only a couple that you can choose from and I’ve listed them below.

If you already have a CAC reader and it isn’t Mac friendly, you could update the firmware, however, for the non-tech savvy people out there, it’s probably better to just purchase a new one and save the headache – they’re only ~$11-13 dollars.

Best Mac Compatible CAC USB Readers

Best Mac Compatible CAC Desk Readers

Step 2: Plug in and Ensure It’s Accepted

Once you have your CAC reader, plug it into your Mac and ensure your computer recognizes it. If you have one of the CAC readers we suggested above, then you should be good to go.

If for some reason your CAC reader isn’t working, you may need to download the appropriate drivers for your CAC reader. You can find these drivers on the Reader’s Manufacturer Website.

Step 3: Update Your DOD Certificates

Now that you have your CAC reader connected and accepted on your Mac computer, it’s time to ensure you have the right certificates in order to access DOD CAC required web pages.

Procedure for Chrome and Safari

  1. Type ⇧⌘U (Shift + Command + U) to access your Utilities
  2. Find and Double click “Keychain Access”
  3. Select “Login” and “All Items”
  4. Download the following five files and double click each once downloaded so as to install in your Keychain Access.
    1. Mac All Certs
    2. Mac Root Cert 2
    3. Mac Root Cert 3
    4. Mac Root Cert 4
    5. Mac Root Cert 5
  5. When you double-click the Mac Root Cert 3 and 4, you’ll need to tell your browser to always trust them. Click the button like you see below:

Additional Steps for Firefox

If you’re using Mozilla Firefox as your primary browser, you’re going to need to perform some additional steps. First, perform the same steps that you did for Chrome and Safari. Afterwards, follow these additional steps to get started.

*If you’re having issues downloading the zip file below, try right clicking the link and opening the file in a new tab.

  1. Download All Certs zip and double click to unzip all 39 files
  2. While in Firefox, click “Firefox” on the top left, then “Preferences”
  3. Then Click “Advanced” > “Certificates” > “View Certificates”
  4. Then Click “Authorities” and then “Import”
  5. Import each file individually from the “AllCerts” folder. When you do this, the below box will popup. Check all three boxes and click “OK”

Step 4: Download and install CAC Enabler

Choosing the right CAC enabler can be pretty tricky. It all depends on what OS you have installed, how you installed it, and even what kind of CAC Card you have!

In order to get the right enabler, be sure to visit our trusty guide to Mac CAC Enablers! It’ll walk you through exactly which enabler is right for you.

CAC Access at Home Success

Now that you have a CAC reader, certificates, and a CAC Enabler, you should now be able to access any CAC-enabled website and log on using your CAC password and data.

Common Reasons Why Your CAC Card Won’t Work On Your Mac

Ensure Your CAC Card Meets the Standards: In order for your CAC card to work, it must meet the minimal requirements. Currently, there are only four types of CAC cards that can be used. The ensure you have the right CAC card for online access, flip your CAC card to the back and if you have one of the below numbers written on the top left, then you are good to go:

  • G&D FIPS 201 SCE 3.2
  • Oberthur ID one 128 v5.5 Dual

If you do not have any of the above written on the back, then proceed to your nearest PSD to get a new CAC card issued.

10 thoughts on “How to Install a CAC Reader for Mac [UPDATED 2020!]”

  1. Everything was working up until yesterday, and now I can no longer access any car sites. When I am prompted to select a certificate and enter my pin, I keep getting prompted to enter my pin. I enter the pin and the same prompt to enter my pin pops up again. I cannot get past this page. What is happening.

  2. My cac has been working for a year. Now all of a sudden its promting me for my cac pin and its not recognizing it. I have installed a new iOS and installed my certs again and still not recognizing my pin. Can anyone help ?

    • When I upgraded to Catalina, I had the exact same issue. But I had third party middleware installed. Catalina has its own, and the two weren’t jiving. After uninstalling my middleware, things went back to normal.

  3. I’ve done all of the steps, cleared the cache, restarted the computer (I’ve got Catalina 10.15.4), but I still keep getting repeated requests for PIN and can’t access any CAC enabled website either on Chrome or on Safari. Everything was working up until yesterday….

    • Oh, and Google recommends Smart Card Connector App as well as CAC Key which I enable on Chrome, but Smart Card Connector App says:
      Warning: The app is intended to be run on Chrome OS only!
      Smart Card readers: SCM Microsystems Inc. SCR 3310 (Error 0x80100005).


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