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Q: Why do I get "Bad configuration option gssapikeyexchange" after upgrading to macOS Sierra?

  • After upgrading to macOS Sierra (10.12) and attempting to run ssh, I see an error message like:
    dhcp-18-111-116-122:~ username$ ssh
    /Users/username/.ssh/config: line 2: Bad configuration option: gssapikeyexchange
    /Users/username/.ssh/config: terminating, 1 bad configuration options


    /etc/ssh/ssh_config: line 20: Bad configuration option: gssapikeyexchange
    /etc/ssh/ssh_config: terminating, 1 bad configuration options

    How do I fix this?


  • You are running macOS Sierra (10.12)
  • You have a pre-existing .ssh/config or /etc/ssh/ssh_config file, possibly with a GSSAPIKeyExchange no setting that was previously required for El Capitan (Mac OS 10.11)


  • The ssh program in macOS Sierra no longer supports the GSSAPIKeyExchange option
  • Remove or comment out lines containing GSSAPIKeyExchange


For Unix neophytes here are steps to edit the ssh_config file using the vi editor on Mac:

sudo vi /etc/ssh/ssh_config
  1. Press i key for vi editor insert mode.
  2. Use arrow keys to navigate to lines you want to delete or comment.
    For example, to comment the offending line in an ssh_config script:
    # GSSAPIKeyExchange yes
  3. Press esc
  4. Type :w to write the file

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Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

June 22, 2017

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