Using Secure Code Autofill On Mac and iOS

Secure Code Autofill is a new feature in macOS Mojave and iOS 12 that will take those little codes you receive via text message and allow you to easily insert them into the fields on web pages and apps when they are asked for. This allows you to use two-factor authentication and similar security measures without needing to switch apps and copy and paste. Making this easier will hopefully encourage more people to use this important security measure.

Video Transcript
So Mac OS Mojave and iOS 12 include a feature called Secure Code Autofill. What this means is when you use two factor authentication or something similar to it you can skip the Copy and Paste. So for instance I go to log into a site, I'm going to login to Twitter here, and because I've got the two factor authentication turned on for Twitter I'm going get a security code when I go to log on and I need to enter that security code. Now I can easily Copy and Paste that but it's even easier if I use Autofill to do it. So here's how it looks on a Mac.

I type in the ID and the Password. I'll paste it in here and I go to login. I'm going to get this thing here where I need to fill in the code. Now notice how it automatically came up with this little From Messages thing. You can see here in my Messages app I've got that code. This one time use code from Twitter to login. But I don't have to actually Copy and Paste that or enter it in. It actually pops up and appears here because Mojave is smart enough to recognize what a Twitter two factor text message looks like and it grabs that code from there. So now all I have to do is click on it and it fills it in and then I hit Submit and I'm logged in.

Now here's what it looks like in iOS 12. So I go to login here and I can fill in the password using the autofill there. So I'm using Safari's ability to store those passwords. It's going to use face ID to get that. When I go to login it's going to also send that code and you can see it come in as a message there. Now when I go to enter the code here you can see at the top of the keyboard there it says From Messages and there's that code. I can tap that to enter that in. So it makes it real easy to do both on Mojave and on iOS 12.

So the problem is it's not always going to work. You see all those messages you get sent are formatted differently. They come from different numbers and they look different. They have different verbiage and everything. So, of course, Apple is going to make sure that they can recognize the verbiage from sites like Twitter, for instance, or Facebook and major sites like that. But some individual sites are not going to use words that are recognized as containing a security code. So it will work for some sites for you and maybe not for others.

But for the sites it doesn't work you can still use the old Copy and Paste functionality or just view the number and just type it in since it's usually only about six digits. For those it does work it will make things a lot quicker to log on which means that you'll feel better about using two factor authentication on every site like you should be.

Comments: 9 Responses to “Using Secure Code Autofill On Mac and iOS”

    Brenda Brooks
    12/20/18 @ 8:58 am

    What about iPads when the secure code comes through to your iPhone?

    12/20/18 @ 9:02 am

    Brenda: Do you mean an SMS message that comes to your iPhone but not your iPad? Then there’s no way for your iPad to know about the code. But if you turn on Text Message Forwarding on your iPhone (Settings, Messages) then you can get your SMS messages on both your iPhone and iPad and it will work. Same for Macs.

    Dennis Craig
    12/20/18 @ 1:42 pm

    Gary, do we need to do anything to enable SC Autofill? I can’t find it listed in System Preferences…

    12/20/18 @ 1:44 pm

    Dennis: No, there is no setting for it. Though I assume if you turn off Autofill in Safari that you won’t get it, but maybe not.

    Mac Carter
    12/21/18 @ 2:08 pm

    What if you don’t use Safari? I much prefer Firefox and seldom have to use Safari. Does this SC Autofill work with all browsers? It seems hit-or-miss to me… in fact, I see it less often now.

    Mac Carter
    12/21/18 @ 2:12 pm

    MacRumors site says this: “If you’ve enabled Text Message Forwarding on your iPhone, you can use the Secure Code AutoFill feature in macOS Mojave, too. The code should appear in Safari as an AutoFill option in the relevant field as soon as the SMS is delivered to Messages on your Mac.” It’s still not clear to me where this will work with other browsers.

    12/21/18 @ 2:32 pm

    Mac: Why not just try it? I did and it didn’t come up for me in Firefox.

    Jane Burns
    12/22/18 @ 5:43 am

    Gary, this isn’t happening for me. I have the new IPad Pro, couldn’t Find a place anywhere in settings or iCloud to turn on two factor Auth, although it is automatic on Apple sites I believe. Anyway, secure auto fill isn’t happening. I have the latest updates and have IOS 12.1.1

    12/22/18 @ 8:24 am

    Jane: If you aren’t using two-factor, then it won’t work. You turn it on under System Preferences, iCloud, Account Details, Security.

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