iCloud Keychain is a new feature in iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks that syncs your Safari website usernames and passwords, credit card information, and Wi-Fi network information across your Apple devices.
This post describes how you can set up iCloud Keychain on your iOS device.
What information does iCloud Keychain sync
Apple says iCloud Keychain syncs these types of information across your iOS devices and Macs
- Safari website usernames and passwords
- Credit card information
- Wi-Fi network information like SSIDs and passwords
- Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Messages (Mac only)
- Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, or any other accounts in Internet Accounts (Mac only)
All information is stored and transmitted using strong, 256-bit AES encryption, and every time you add a new device to iCloud Keychain, all other devices will ask for your explicit consent, and only then will the data be synced.
Set up instructions on iOS 7
When you upgrade to iOS 7.0.3, your device will ask you to setup iCloud Keychain, but if you’ve skipped it then, you can come back to setting it up later as well, by going to Settings > iCloud and turning-on Keychain. Once you turn it on, iOS will guide you through a series of steps.
iCloud Security Code
- When you turn-on iCloud Keychain, iOS will ask you to setup an iCloud Security Code, which will later be used to setup Keychain on new devices. This code can be the same as your passcode or a new code created by you or randomly generated by the OS.
- If you choose to create a new code, iOS will ask you for a 4-digit pin, but if you want to increase the level of security, you can tap the “Advanced Options” button to enter an alphanumeric code. We chose the standard 4-digit code.
- You’ll be asked to re-enter the security code. Make sure you remember and note this code someplace safe, since iCloud will ask you for this code when you setup Keychain on another device.
The next screen will ask you for your country code and phone number, so that Apple can send an SMS to you to verify your identity, when using the iCloud Security Code. Once you’ve entered this successfully, your iCloud Keychain setup process is complete.
Use iCloud Keychain
Using iCloud Keychain isn’t very different from using Safari’s AutoFill feature.
- Simply go to a website’s login screen and enter your login credentials. Safari will show you a popover asking you if this password can be saved to your iCloud Keychain.
- You can even ask Safari to generate a safe password for you when you sign-up on a website, using the “Suggest Password” button.
- The next time you visit that website, you should see your login information autofilled.
- Some websites do not allow Safari to AutoFill passwords, so you won’t be able to use this feature on those websites with default settings.
- If you want to override this behaviour, you can open Settings, and navigate to Safari > Passwords and AutoFill and enable the “Always Allow” toggle. Now AutoFill will work on all websites.
iCloud Keychain is great for security and convenience, and is quite secure, since iCloud requires your iTunes password, your security code and SMS-verification when setting up Keychain on a new device.