Managing passwords couldn't be simpler on iOS with the mobile Safari application (the default web browser on iOS). Not only can you store logins on a website, but you can also store credit card information for easier mobile purchasing. This info is stored securely in a feature called the Keychain (not dissimilar to the OS X Keychain on the Mac) and can be synced with iCloud to all of your devices. In this article, we'll show you how to store, sync, and manage your passwords on iOS.
Enable password storing features in mobile Safari
Before you start saving passwords with Safari, you'll want to ensure that this feature is enabled by performing the following steps:
- Open Settings | Safari | Passwords & AutoFill
- In this view, flip the switch to ON for Names and Passwords (Figure A)
- (Optional) While in this same view, also flip the switch to ON for Credit Cards, if you wish to use this feature
You must enable Names and Passwords before Safari will offer to save and input password information automatically.
Note: If you're turning on this feature for the first time, you'll be prompted to turn on passcode lock for added security. If you don't wish to use the passcode lock, you can continue on without it.
Storing and using saved web passwords
To begin storing your passwords and credit card information using mobile Safari on iOS, perform the following steps:
- Open a website that contains a username and password field
- Enter your username and password, and continue the login process per normal
- With the Passwords saving feature enabled, you'll be prompted whether you wish to save or update the password (Figure B)
Note: The save feature will be shown if you never set a password for this site; otherwise, the update feature will let you update existing saved account information.
When logging in for the first time, Safari will offer to save your password for you automatically.
To use your newly saved password:
- Open the website that has a saved password associated with it
- Place your cursor into the username field
- When the keyboard appears, tap the AutoFill Password button that appears in the keyboard toolbar (Figure C).
Easily have your password autofilled for you by tapping "AutoFill Password" in the toolbar above the keyboard.
When you do this, the username and password will automagically be filled into the appropriate fields for you.
Syncing your passwords with iCloud
iCloud includes the ability to securely sync your usernames and passwords between your iOS and Mac devices. To begin using this feature of iCloud, perform these steps:
- Navigate to Settings | iCloud | Keychain
- Enable the switch for iCloud Keychain (Figure D)
Setting your keychain items to sync couldn't be easier than with iCloud.
Existing keychain items will begin syncing. iCloud Keychain keeps the passwords and credit card information you save up to date on all the devices that you approve. Your information is securely encrypted and cannot even be read by Apple.
Managing and removing passwords and credit card information
You can easily save your usernames, passwords, and credit card information inside of the mobile Safari application, but what if you want to delete this information when you no longer need it to be saved or synced? Well, if you no longer need a bit of information or need to view something, follow these steps:
- Open Settings | Safari | Passwords & AutoFill
- Tap Saved Passwords or Saved Credit Cards, depending on which you wish to edit
- A list of saved passwords or credit cards will be shown (Figure E)
You can easily delete information that's previously been saved.
To view the information stored, tap the item in the Passwords or Credit Cards list. If you wish to delete an item, tap the edit button, select the item(s) that need removing, then tap the Delete button in the title bar area.
If you don't like the built-in password manager features of Safari, you can try these alternative password managers that provide a little more of a feature set but lack the built-in Safari integration of Safari AutoFill.
Do you use the built-in Safari password management features on either Mac or iOS, or do you use another password manager? What do you like and what do you not like? Let us know in the discussion thread below.
Cory Bohon is an indie developer, creating both iOS and OS X applications at Cocoa App (his own company), MartianCraft, and for various other clients. As a part of full disclosure, he does not write about any software that he has created or has helped to create through these outlets.
Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite technology part-time since 2007. He runs a development blog named ObjDev when he isn’t writing about consumer tech.