With iCloud Keychain you can safely store passwords, login data, account names and even credit card numbers on your iPhone, iPad and Mac. iCloud Keychain automatically creates strong passwords. The passwords you save are automatically synchronized between your devices thanks to iCloud. In Safari and apps you can easily have the passwords filled in automatically. In addition, Apple warns you about insecure passwords.
What is iCloud Keychain (iCloud Keychain)?
iCloud Keychain is Apple’s alternative to password apps such as 1Password. It includes a number of functions, the main of which are:
- Generate strong passwords
- Store passwords securely
- Sync saved passwords between devices
- Warn about insecure passwords
iCloud Keychain makes it easier to use a different, strong password for each service. That is safer, because if your password falls into the wrong hands, the damage remains relatively limited. If you were to use the same password over and over again, someone could completely ruin your (digital) life by buying stuff, taking out loans or even taking over your identity with your accounts.
What devices does iCloud Keychain work on?
iCloud Keychain is available on these devices:
- iPhone and iPad (from iOS 7)
- Mac (vanaf OS X 10.9 Mavericks)
- Apple TV (from the 4th generation, with autofill via your iPhone)
- iCloud for Windows (via Chrome extension)
Apple protects your data with 256-bit AES encryption. Since February 2021, iCloud Keychain can also be used on Windows via a Chrome extension.
Advantages of iCloud Keychain (iCloud Keychain)
iCloud Keychain has a number of advantages. The main ones are:
- Automatic generation of strong and unique passwords. It prevents you from using the same password over and over (which is unsafe). The password consists of a combination of numbers and letters.
- Automatic saving of passwords, so you don’t have to remember them yourself. This means you don’t have to use easy passwords.
- Automatically sync passwords so you can access web services on all iOS devices and Macs.
- Automatic filling of passwords, so you do not have to enter them manually.
- Automatic filling of credit card information.
- Automatic filling of one-time SMS codes.
There are also a number of disadvantages:
- Since it is an Apple service, it only works on iPhone, iPad, Mac and other Apple devices, but not on multiple platforms. For example, you cannot use it on Android.
- It does not work with two-step verification via special one-time codes. Entering one-time SMS codes is supported.
- You cannot generate a strong password on command. A unique password is only created when creating an account or changing a password for services via Safari.
Using iCloud Keychain
The feature is not automatically enabled, so you will have to do this manually. We have a separate explanation of the following functions:
Read our tip for using iCloud Keychain on iPhone and iPad.
iCloud Keychain and credit cards
iCloud Keychain is more than just a password manager. You can also store credit card information and personal data, such as your telephone number and home address. Once you have set it up, you can easily complete and pay for forms on websites automatically, without having to manually enter the same information every time. With credit cards, the expiration date is also saved, so that you only have to enter the 3-digit verification code. This is easier to remember than the full 16 digits of your credit card.
If you buy something through an online store from the Safari browser on the Mac, you will be asked whether you want to save the credit card information. You can have this done automatically, but it can also be done manually, as explained above.
ICloud Keychain security
Password apps like 1Password often use a so-called master password. This is one password that gives you access to all your confidential information. Since people often have to enter this password, they often choose a simple one master password and not a complex, hard-to-guess password with many special characters and numbers.
Apple has handled this differently. They have chosen to link with iCloud and that means that you always need your Apple ID and password to gain access. On devices with Touch ID and Face ID, it is made extra easy because you only have to put your finger on the Touch ID sensor or have your face scanned to access your passwords.
Apple has also introduced two-factor authentication to provide extra security for your Apple ID. As a result, you run less chance of your data being compromised than with a system with a master password. Apple uses end-to-end encryption to protect all your passwords.
iCloud Keychain security code
In addition, Apple works with an iCloud security code. If you set up the Keychain you can create an iCloud security code. This is a 6-digit or alphanumeric code that authorizes additional devices to use your iCloud Keychain. You must also enter this code to confirm your identity, for example if you have lost all devices and then want to access your passwords on a new iPhone.
iCloud Keychain Tips
We have several tips on how to use the Keychain: