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Home / Tips and Tricks / Why You Should Not Use iCloud Keychain to Store Your Passwords in iOS 12 «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

Why You Should Not Use iCloud Keychain to Store Your Passwords in iOS 12 «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks



iOS 12 turned iCloud Keychain into a more useful password manager for your iPhone with strong password suggestions, password reuse checking and Siri support. However, before jumping off your current password manager, consider all the reasons why iCloud Keychain makes no sense as your primary password manager.

While iCloud Keychain got more useful features in iOS 12, it's still fairly fairly limited compared to third-party options. It has a big advantage with the ability to automatically fill passwords, but with iOS 12, third-party password managers can now use the AutoFill feature. Also, the ability to generate strong passwords and identify weak ones are welcome additions to iCloud Keychain, but they are either already possible or better implemented by third-party vendors.

Overall, iCloud Keychain is a good password manager ̵

1; but not the best. With the ability to automatically fill in along with a host of other features, the iCloud keychain is simply destroyed by third-party password managers. If you decide that Apple's built-in iCloud keychain will not hurt you or compromise your security, you'll miss it.

. 1 Third-Party Managers Can Now Use AutoFill

Apple allows third-party password managers access to the AuthenticationServices framework, which allows them to integrate their apps with Password AutoFill in iOS 12. This allows apps like 1Password to show you your app or website credentials using the QuickType bar password – a service that was previously limited to iCloud Keychain – so you can quickly log in without visiting your password manager or the Share-sheet option to use.

You may easily choose to use iCloud Keychain as your password manager in iOS 11 due to the convenience of AutoFill, but it is now much harder to justify that all third-party vendors can do the same.

Pictures by Jake Peterson / Gadget Hacks

2. Keychain's Weak Passkey Detection is Weak

In iOS 12, iCloud Keychain can gain the ability to recognize weak passwords in the database. The feature notifies you of the weak password and offers the possibility to change it. The problem is weak password recognition, especially how limited it really is.

A password is marked as weak in iCloud Keychain only if it is reused by another account in the same database. However, there are other forms of weak passwords that Apple should not ignore. Accounts can use simple passwords from leaked Web site databases, contain fewer than eight characters, or can not use uppercase letters, numbers, or special characters. All these types of passwords can be easily hacked.

Compare this with third-party password managers such as LastPass, who can check your entire database to detect weak passwords, not just reused, and it's obvious iCloud Keychain is not your best

3. It is too hard to change weak passwords

Changing a weak password in iCloud Keychain is also not as pronounced as in other password managers. If you select the "Change password on website" button for the weak password, a Safari WebView window opens within Settings . The problem is that many websites are not giving mobile sites access to the password change feature. While you can combat this with the desktop version, not all sites allow an iPhone to access the desktop version. Therefore, you must go to your computer to change the password.

This is not the case with all third-party password administrators. Dashlane has a feature called "password changer" that allows you to change multiple passwords without leaving the app. If the site supports the feature, you can change the password with a button, the desktop version is not required. And just like LastPass, the password can also be checked, so it's easy to see which password needs to be changed.

4. It lacks basic Password Manager features

The biggest complaint with iCloud Keychain is that when you compare feature lists, it does not compete with other third-party password managers. Managers like LastPass, 1Password and Dashlane warn you about security breaches of your accounts. Multiple apps support the ability to share a set number of passwords with others and set up emergency access in case something happens to you.

There are apps that allow you to share other files such as pictures and pictures for quick access to private items such as your driver's license and passport. And they all allow you to store far more types of information and specific information for each entry.

Keychain lacks these features and limited You just save your username and password for a specific account. Its only advantages are its convenience of being already installed and being able to suggest strong passwords when signing up for an account first. But with third-party support for AutoFill, downloading an app is not that big of a deal. As with strong passwords, you could even use Apple's suggestion by copying it to your third-party manager instead.

If iCloud Keychain really wants to compete with well-known password managers, it must fill the void gap between itself and its competitors. While I do not believe Apple is trying to become the best password manager in the world, for many iOS users, this will be the only manager they know. We hope that you will make a better choice by understanding the restriction.

Cover image and screenshots of Jon Knight / Gadget Hacks (unless otherwise noted)

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