Starting in iOS 12, Apple began allowing third-party password managers the ability to integrate directly with the operating system to offer up passwords to autofill for users in Safari and supported third-party apps. This feature allows you to integrate with a single third-party password manager, or multiple password managers, or a combination. This is great for users who use one password manager for work and a different one for personal use, for example.
The majority of password managers that support iOS will implement the Apple Password API, which is a built-in iOS API that Apple provides to ensure a streamlined process when auto-filling passwords throughout the system in Safari and third-party apps. When apps use this feature, you can enable the autofill feature by following these steps.
- Open the Settings app.
- Navigate to Passwords | AutoFill Passwords.
- Select the password app or apps used on your device (Figure A).
This view allows you to select a single password manager of your choosing (or iCloud Keychain) or any combination of password managers. Select however many password managers you use (e.g., if you use Microsoft Authenticator for work, you can use iCloud Keychain or 1Password to store your personal accounts, or vice versa).
When you enable this feature and navigate to a website in Safari or a third-party app that supports auto filling passwords, you will get passwords surfaced from the password manager(s) that you selected (Figure B).
Some iOS password managers also include their own Safari web browser extension (this became a feature in iOS 15) to allow saving and autofilling passwords within Safari. 1Password is an example of an app that implements not only the traditional Apple Password API, but also a custom Safari web browser extension that can run and evaluate its own autofill rules on web pages and detect when new passwords are needed and offer them up to save when creating new accounts.
For Apple users who want more information about mobile security, read my TechRepublic article about the best password managers for iOS and macOS.