Free and integrated password manager, iCloud Keychain

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By Erric Buttlar

You can set up ICloud Keychain on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac for free. With two-factor authentication, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting your password again.

Apple’s password management has been improved with the release of iOS 15, macOS Monterey, and other 2021 releases. iCloud Keychain used to be a background service offering strong passwords or auto-filling something from time to time. The Settings section now includes tools for scanning passwords, warnings for persistent passwords, and two-factor authentication (2FA).

It may be different in terms of security from other options available on the market, but many users still use third-party tools. iCloud Keychain makes it easy to update your passwords.

Iphone Password Manager

When you’re using iCloud Keychain, you can’t see it. If an app or website uses an adequately coded password field, you will see a prompt instead of your keyboard.

If you enter a username or email address, a password is automatically suggested. By default, this is a series of twenty characters including a symbol, a capital letter, and two dashes. If prompted, choose “remember login” when prompted to avoid having to remember that complex password.

You will be able to access that app or website immediately by using your saved user name and password. Your password will be auto-filled instead of the keyboard when you log in in the future, and you will be prompted to enter it with Touch ID or Face ID.

As the password is encrypted throughout iCloud, there will be no danger of it being accessed by unauthorized users. Go to the Settings app and choose the passwords section to view your saved passwords, view security alerts, and delete them.

There is also an option to enable two-factor authentication.

The Passwords App icon: how to get one

The iCloud Keychain does not have an app, but it can be accessed through Settings. Creating a Shortcut and adding it to your Home Screen with a direct link is another alternative if navigating to this isn’t convenient.

  1. Go to Shortcuts.
  2. Select “+”
  3. Enter “Passwords”
  4. Search “URL” and tap “add action”
  5. In the URL field, enter “prefs:root=PASSWORDS”
  6. Choose “URL” in variables within an action for “Open URL”
  7. Make the shortcut available via the top right settings icon

You can now access your passwords with a single tap from your Home Screen, after choosing an icon or custom image. Alternatively, Siri can be asked to display passwords.

For Mac users only

Security prompts, authentication certificates, and passwords are stored in Keychain Access, an application built into macOS. Monterey offers a more user-friendly system preference app for macOS.

Not everyone will find it appealing. There is a “Other” folder in the app launcher that shows password information. The “Passwords” tool in System Preferences is better.

Passwords app on Android displays all your saved passwords, linked login information, just like the iOS version. The System Preferences do not require passwords very often. Sites should provide strong passwords or automatically fill in the password for them.


Two-factor authentication codes can be auto-filled in iCloud Keychain. The built-in safe and reliable system can be relied upon rather than using third-party tools dedicated to 2FA.

2FA is one of the most secure features when implemented properly, but generating it can be frustrating. The text message code send when verifying a phone number may make some people aware of 2FA, but it’s not secure.

In their place, many sites and apps use a code generation system that uses a time signature and text key. The Password tool can update the code every thirty seconds.

The 2FA key can be set up automatically through a password manager, or manually if the site is not set up to offer this option.

How to use iCloud Keychain for 2FA on iOS and MacOS:

  1. Use the password manager
  2. on your iOS or MacOS device
  3. for verification.
  4. Type the setup key
  5. on iPhone or right click on Mac to scan the QR code
  6. Verify the key was entered correctly on the website

Those websites that have been adequately coded for 2FA will display the 2FA key above the keyboard. You can also manually copy and paste the code from the Passwords tool.

More than just Keychain…

While not the only option provided by Apple, iCloud Keychain may be the best fit for most users. Business password managers aren’t covered by the built-in solution.

You’re not confined to Apple’s ecosystem with iCloud Keychain’s Windows app and Chrome extension.

Most password managers require a specific browser or add-on to work, but some are free and cross-platform. A good alternative to Apple’s ecosystem is Google’s password tool.

Other paid options are available if iCloud Keychain does not meet your needs. Companies or groups needing to share passwords can look at 1Password.

iCloud Keychain is the easy and accessible option for the casual user and family member.

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