Suddenly the behaviour of gpg has changed and my world crumbles.

I have several keys, all but one for testing purposes. The one is my personal key. Up to now I have been able to encrypt with this key, and I seem to remember that I had to type my passphrase to encrypt. Now suddenly I don't. But what is more frightening, I can double click the encrypted file and it will decrypt without asking for my passphrase.

I have googled on this, and found several suggestions, none of which works. How do I force gpg to ask for my passphrase before it decrypts a file? And how do I make sure that it encrypts with the right key. I use -r but it appears that the key doing the encryption is not my own key even if is the name of my personal key. I can accept that it is the recipients key which matters in encryption, but I would like my personal identity to be involved, and not the first key in the keyring.

  • If you are just encrypting, your private key is not needed, so it doesn't make sense to need to unlock it. If you are encrypting and signing, or just signing, then you will need the key and passphrase. Jun 5, 2018 at 14:48
  • Thanks for your comment, multith3at3d. I realise that it is the recipient's key which should be used to encrypt. What concerns me a lot more is that I can double-click on the .gpg file and a decrypted copy is created without my needing to enter my passphrase. I want to keep certain files on my hard disk which are encrypted, but which I can decrypt as necessary, but I don't want them decrypted simply by a double click. Jun 6, 2018 at 15:22
  • What OS is this, and what key software is in use? I.e. do you have a key manager, like Gnome's? Jun 6, 2018 at 15:27
  • I'm using gpg installed via GPG Suite on a Mac running High Sierra, although I seek to encrypt the files in a terminal window with gig -e -r "James Wilde" <file-to-be-encrypted>. When the file has been encrypted, double-clicking on it decrypts it. Jun 8, 2018 at 5:45

1 Answer 1


This is due to gpg-agent temporarily caching your password. You can easily disable caching.

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