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Can You Explain Apple’s Password Management Across Devices & Apps?

Passwords are often pre-entered into fields I’ve used before… but not always. I’ve even been offered a suggestion by the mysterious little guy who lives deep inside. I don’t know how the system works or where my devices store them. I used Firefox for years and its system is up front and obvious. I have a new laptop on the way and want to clean house or, at the very least, have a basic understanding of Apple’s keychain and/or Password1 app to start out fresh. Thanks Gary.
John Stires

Comments: 3 Responses to “Can You Explain Apple’s Password Management Across Devices & Apps?”

    8 years ago

    They are stored in the Keychain. The iCloud Keychain to be specific -- that is how they are shared across devices. You can see what is stored there with the Keychain Access app on your Mac.
    If an ID and password exists for a site in your iCloud Keychain, then it will appear in the fields when you go to a login for that webpage. Yes, sometimes it is filled in and waiting for you to hit the button. Other times you need to click in the field, and then you can access the little pull-down menu on the right side of the field. I think that happens in a variety of situations depending on whether you have more than one ID for that site, whether the login page is the same exact one you used to sign in when you first recorded the password (many sites have multiple entry points), how the HTML on the site is designed, and perhaps other factors. Not sure of the details.
    If there is no password stored for the site, you get the ability to use a suggested password, which is a good strong random password. Then that is store in iCloud Keychain afterward so you don't have to type it the next time you visit that site and log in.

    8 years ago

    And, once it is in my iCloud Keychain, is a copy also stored on all my iCloud-linked devices? I know that I generally would only need a password if I am online (unless Keychain also works for locked documents passwords?), but are we sure that Apple's serves (and/or iCloud) will always be there every time I need to do online banking, for example, or access other protected sites?

    8 years ago

    Ron: Yes, that's the idea behind cloud services. It should be there on all of your devices as long as they are using iCloud Keychain with the same Apple ID.

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