How to update the gpg key expiry date step by step

In this post I am sharing how to update the expiration date of a GPG key, taking a backup, and restoring the key involves several steps.

Step 1: Open a Terminal

Open a terminal or command prompt on your computer.

Step 2: List Your GPG Keys

Use the following command to list your GPG keys. This will display the keys you have, and you can identify the key you want to update by its ID (e.g., 12345678).

gpg --list-keys

Step 3: Backup Your GPG Key (Optional, but recommended)

Before making any changes, it's a good practice to back up your GPG key. Use the following command to export your key to a backup file, replacing 12345678 with your key ID and backup_filename.gpg with the desired backup filename.

gpg --export-secret-keys -a 12345678 > backup_filename.gpg

This command exports the private key, so make sure to store the backup file securely.

Step 4: Edit the GPG Key

To update the expiration date of the key, you'll need to edit it. Use the gpg --edit-key command followed by the key ID (e.g., 12345678):

gpg --edit-key 12345678

This will open the GPG key editor.

Step 5: Extend the Expiration Date

Inside the GPG key editor, you can extend the expiration date:

To see the current expiration date and other key information, type:


To change the expiration date, use the expire command followed by the number of months you want to extend the key's expiration date. For example, to extend the key for one year (12 months), use:


Then, enter the number of months (e.g., 12) and confirm.


Command> expire
Changing expiration time for the primary key.
Please specify how long the key should be valid.
  0 = key does not expire
  = key expires in n days
  w = key expires in n weeks
  m = key expires in n months
  y = key expires in n years
Key is valid for? (0) 12m
Key expires at Tue 27 Sep 2023 12:00:00 PM EDT
Is this correct? (y/N) y

Save your changes by typing:


Step 6: Confirm the Changes

Exit the GPG key editor by typing:


Use the gpg --list-keys command again to confirm that the key's expiration date has been updated to the desired value.

Step 7: Restore the Backup (Optional)

If you previously backed up your GPG key, you can restore it using the following command, replacing backup_filename.gpg with the actual backup file:

gpg --import backup_filename.gpg

This restores your GPG key from the backup file.

That's it! You have successfully updated the expiration date of your GPG key, taken a backup, and restored the key if needed. Make sure to keep your keys up to date and handle backups securely for continued key management and security.

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