How to fix - AWS ECR docker login error storing credentials - err exit status 1?

This is a short troubleshooting blog post on how to fix the following error when performing the aws ecr get-login-password --region <region-name> | docker login -

Here is a little brief about the error -

Error saving credentials: error storing credentials - err: exit status 1, out: Post http://ipc/registry/credstore-updated: dial unix backend.sock:connection: connection refused

Here is the screenshot of the error -

AWS ECR docker login error storing credentials err exit status 1

Table of Content

  1. Root Cause- What are the possible root causes based on the operating system you are using?
  2. Remove the .docker/config.json file- Easy fix by removing the .docker/config.json file
  3. Allow docker-credential-osxkeychain.bin in macOS- Allow docker-credential-osxkeychain.bin from Key Access Application in macOS
  4. Install Amazon ECR Docker Credential Helper- Use Amazon ECR Docker Credential Helper from Amazon Labs
  5. Conclusion

(NOTE- Here is detailed on guide on How to push docker image to AWS ECR)

Root Cause

There could be multiple reasons behind this error but here are the possible reasons -

1. .docker/config.json- Whenever we try to push or pull the docker image, docker internally tries to update the .docker/config.json file. It is very much possible that you previously worked with docker and your .docker/config.json file still not updated with the latest AWS ECR Credentials

In such a scenario, you need to remove the .docker/config.json file and re-run the aws ecr get-login command. The completed detailed steps have been posted down in the blog post for removing the .docker/config.json file.

2. docker-credential-osxkeychain.bin- The second root cause belongs to the macOS user. Whenever you are running the aws ecr get-login command on macOS, it internally tries to access the Keychain. In most cases, a POP UP is thrown to the user for asking permission to access the Keychain.

But in the case of the above error, it might be possible that after running the aws ecr get-login command the POP UP is not generated and you eventually end up with the error. Here are the detailed steps on how to handle this error on macOS

1. Remove the .docker/config.json file

The easiest way to fix the error is by removing the .docker/config.json file. Here are the steps on how to locate the file -

1. Locate file - The .docker/config.json file is generally present under the home directory. You can use either of the following commands to locate the file -

1#This list command you can run from any location
2# If this command does not work then use the next find command in 
4ls ~/.docker/config.json 

Here is the find command to locate the .docker/config.json -

1#The following find command would search the entire disk to locate .docker/config.json
3find / -name `config.json` 2>/dev/null

2. Remove .docker/config.json- After you find the file, you can run the following to remove the config.json file.

But make sure to put the correct location of the config.json so that rm command can be successful.

1#This remove command assumes that the file is located under the home directory - ~/..docker/config.json
2rm  ~/..docker/config.json

3. Re-run aws ecr get-login-password- After successfully removing the .docker/config.json file you re-run the aws ecr get-login-password command.

Here is my command which was executed successfully -

1# AWS ECR get login password command after removing the .docker/config.json file
3aws ecr get-login-password --region eu-central-1 | docker login --username AWS --password-stdin 

Here is the screenshot of the successful login-

AWS ECR Docker login success

2. Allow docker-credential-osxkeychain.bin from Keychain Access Application

This error is very common on macOS and to fix the error you have to allow docker-credential-osxkeychain.bin inside Keychain Access application of your macOS.

It happens because when you run aws ecr get-login-password command, it is trying to access the Keychain Item and because of macOS security you need to explicitly allow the docker-credential-osxkeychain.bin.

Follow the below steps -

1.Open Keychain Access Application- Open Spotlight Search in macOS by pressing (command+spacebar) and type in Keychain Access.

2. Allow docker-credential-osxkeychain.bin- After opening the keychain Access application, you can allow the docker-credential-osxkeychain.bin.

Please refer to the following screenshot -

macOS allow docker credential osxkeychain

It should fix your issue on macOS.

3. Install Amazon ECR Docker Credential Helper

If any of the above solutions do not work then you could use the utility from AWS Labs.

The only pre-requisites for this tool is you need to have at least Docker 1.11 docker installed onto your machine.

3.1 Installation

How to install?

Based on your operating system use the following instructions for installing the Amazon ECR Docker Credential Helper -

Amazon Linux 2-

1# For Amazon linux 2
3$ sudo amazon-linux-extras enable docker
4$ sudo yum install amazon-ecr-credential-helper 

Mac OS

For macOS, you can use the Homebrew -

1# For macOS
3brew install docker-credential-helper-ecr    

There is also the possibility to use MacPorts -

1# For macOS
3sudo port install docker-credential-helper-ecr 


1# For Debian based Linux .i.e. Ubuntu
3sudo apt update
4sudo apt install amazon-ecr-credential-helper 

Arch Linux

1# For Arch linux -
3git clone
4cd amazon-ecr-credential-helper
5makepkg -si 

3.2 Set docker-credential-ecr-login in PATH

You can do either of the following for setting docker-credential-ecr-login in PATH -

1. Move binary(docker-credential-ecr-login) to /usr/local/bin or /usr/bin/lib - After the installation you will have either of two binaries based on the operating system you are using.

  • docker-credential-ecr-login
  • amazon-ecr-credential-helper

Use the following copy commands to move the binary to /usr/local/bin or /usr/bin

1# move docker-credential-ecr-login to /usr/local/bin
3sudo cp ./bin/local/docker-credential-ecr-login /usr/local/bin/docker-credential-ecr-login
1# move docker-credential-ecr-login to /usr/bin/lib
3sudo cp ./bin/local/docker-credential-ecr-login /usr/bin/lib/docker-credential-ecr-login
1# move amazon-ecr-credential-helper to /usr/local/bin
3sudo cp ./bin/local/amazon-ecr-credential-helper /usr/local/bin/amazon-ecr-credential-helper
1# move amazon-ecr-credential-helper to /usr/bin/lib
3sudo cp ./bin/local/amazon-ecr-credential-helper /usr/bin/lib/amazon-ecr-credential-helper

2. Add to binary(docker-credential-ecr-login) path to $PATH variable- Goto your .bash_profile and update the $PATH variable -

1#Open .bash_profile
3vi ~/.bash_profile

Append the following line to $PATH variable -

1# The following line might differ in your system.
3export PATH=$HOME/projects/amazon-ecr-credential-helper/bin:$PATH"

3.3 Update ~/.docker/config.json

Now after setting the path you need to update the ~/.docker/config.json file.

Open the file using $ vi command and set the following content into it -

2   "credsStore": "ecr-login"

Use credHelpers for specific ecr registry based on the AWS Account ID and Region. If needed then the following content can be appended to the ~/.docker/config.json -

2   "credHelpers": {
3      "": "ecr-login",
4      "<aws_account_id>.dkr.ecr.<region>": "ecr-login"
5   }

3.4 Set correct AWS Credentials

At last, make sure you are using correct AWS Credentials. Run the following $ aws configure command and set correct ACCESS KEY and SECRET KEY

1aws configure 

After setting up the amazon-ecr-credential-helper you can perform the docker pull and docker push commands.

4. Conclusion

I hope this guide will help you to troubleshoot your error while performing docker push and docker pull operation onto AWS Elastic Container Registry(ECR).

This guide has been prepared based on the issue which I have encountered while working with AWS_ECR. You might have to tweak the commands mentioned in this guide based on the choice of your operating system and environment variables.

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