How to use iCloud Keychain to manage your passwords

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While password managers have long existed as third-party apps on iOS and macOS, Apple has doubled-down on its own efforts. iCloud Keychain is a feature on macOS and iOS that stores passwords, credit card information, and more.

iCloud Keychain has been around for several years, but it continues to get more powerful and capable with each new release of iOS and macOS. For instance, iOS 12 and macOS Mojave added new features that automatically create strong and unique passwords for each website and app you use. This password is automatically stored in iCloud Keychain and easily accessible from all of your devices.

Here’s how Apple describes the feature:

iCloud Keychain remembers things, so that you don’t have to. It auto-fills your information—like your Safari usernames and passwords, credit cards, Wi-Fi passwords, and social log-ins—on any device that you approve.

How to set up iCloud Keychain

enable icloud keychain

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you’ve setup two-factor authentication. This makes iCloud Keychain much easier to use across all of your devices. Read our full how-to here on setting up two-factor authentication.

Once you’ve done that, on your Mac you’ll want to open the System Preferences app and go to the iCloud one. In that list, you should see “Keychain,” where you can tick the checkbox to enable it.

On iOS, open the Settings app, tap your name at the top, then tap “iCloud.” Scroll through the list of apps using iCloud and look for “Keychain.” Tap it and ensure that it is toggled towards on.

How to access iCloud Keychain passwords

icloud keychain

As with any password manager, one thing you’ll want to ensure is that you always know how to access the passwords and data stored in iCloud Keychain.

On iOS:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Scroll down to “Passwords & Accounts”
  3. Tap “Website & App Passwords”
  4. Authenticate via Face ID or Touch ID

On Mac:

  1. Open Safari
  2. In the menu bar, click “Safari” then “Preferences”
  3. Look for “Passwords” along the top

Now, you’ll see a clear list of passwords and login information for every website. Apple will also warn you if you’ve reused the same password on multiple websites, and provide a quick link to change your password on a service’s website.

You can also coy and paste usernames and passwords, and AirDrop them to other devices.

Wrap up

On macOS and iOS, iCloud Keychain will present itself at almost any login screen, allowing you to easily access your username and password. It will also offer autofill suggestions for card payments, your address, and more.

iCloud Keychain is an incredibly powerful way to manage your passwords, credit card details, and more, with the need for a third-party app. Do you rely on iCloud Keychain to store your personal information? Or have you found a better solution? Let us know down in the comments.

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