What Are iCloud Keychains and Why Are They Better Than Passwords

What is iCloud Keychain?

iCloud Keychain is Apple's password management system. Using this password manager, all of your account names and passwords, as well as credit card numbers, can be securely stored on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad, as well as shared among them. 

When using the Safari browser, iCloud Keychain will prompt you to save passwords, which can then be accessed easily when necessary. In addition, autofill shipping and credit card information is also remembered along with your Wi-Fi password.

It looks like this:

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Issues with your browser's built-in password manager

However, there are some issues with using your browser's built-in password manager, and you should consider a dedicated password manager with a great browser plugin

First, iCloud Keychain makes it easier to sync your login credentials across Apple devices and the Safari browser, but you probably don't use Apple products exclusively, which adds inconvenience to your password management.

Second, using your browser's built-in password manager could leave you vulnerable if someone else uses your device. This could happen if someone at work jumps on your computer or if a pickpocket snags your phone while on the subway. 

Anyone who touches your device, with or without your permission, can access every account you have saved in iCloud Keychain. This leaves you wide open to being hacked.

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Use TeamPassword instead 

A dedicated password manager protects you by requiring you to log in with a separate password. It also automatically locks your passwords after a specific amount of time has passed. 

Sign up for a 14-day free trial to test TeamPassword with your team members today.

TeamPassword is right in your chrome browser and looks like this:

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How to set up iCloud Keychain

When you buy a new Apple product, it will prompt you to set up iCloud Keychain on your device. If you already have an account, it will prompt you to log in to your iCloud Keychain. If you do not yet have an iCloud Keychain, then the process takes longer. 

If you skipped the setup process when you first opened your iPhone, then you can set up iCloud Keychain by going to Settings, then your name, iCloud, and Keychain. From there, select turn on iCloud Keychain and follow the onscreen instructions.

iCloud Keychain requires you to create an iCloud Security Code. This is to help you add additional devices to your account or verify your identity when performing other iCloud Keychain actions, for example, recovering your iCloud Keychain if you lose all of your authorized devices.

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Set up iCloud Keychain on an additional device

When you go to set up iCloud Keychain on an additional device, you should have a currently authorized device nearby. When you turn on iCloud Keychain on an additional device, your other devices using iCloud Keychain receive a notification that requests you to approve the additional device.

If for some reason, you do not have a currently approved device nearby, then you can use your iCloud security code and follow the onscreen instructions.

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Reset or create an iCloud Security Code

If you enter the wrong iCloud Security Code too many times, then your iCloud Keychain will be disabled on the device. In addition, your Keychain in iCloud is deleted, but you can still reset or create a new iCloud Security Code. This is easier if you still have access to an approved device.

If you can access an approved device that uses your iCloud Keychain

If you have another device that uses your iCloud Keychain, then you can create a new iCloud Security Code using that device. It is a little different on portable devices, so let's look at how the process changes between portable Apple products and Macs.

On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 12 or earlier:

  1. Tap Settings, then your name, iCloud, Keychain, and Advanced.
  2. Tap Change Security Code.
  3. Enter your Apple ID password when asked.
  4. Enter a new iCloud Security Code.

On a Mac with Mojave or earlier:

  1. Go to the Apple menu, then System Preferences. 
  2. Click iCloud.
  3. Click Options next to Keychain.
  4. Click Change Security Code and enter a new iCloud Security Code.

If you can't access a device that uses your iCloud Keychain

If you do not have access to a device that uses your iCloud Keychain, then the steps are more complicated. Again, it is a little different on portable devices, so let's look at how the process changes between portable Apple products and Macs.

On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 12 or earlier

  1. Tap Settings, then your name, iCloud, Keychain, and then turn on iCloud Keychain. You might be asked to enter your Apple ID password.
  2. If you protect your account with two-factor authentication (2FA), tap Restore with Security Code. Otherwise, tap Approve with Security Code.
  3. Touch Forgot Code.
  4. Tap Reset iCloud Keychain to replace your Keychain in iCloud with the iCloud Keychain from your device.
  5. Tap Reset to confirm.
  6. Follow the onscreen steps to create a new iCloud Security Code.

On a Mac with Mojave or earlier

  1. Go to the Apple menu and then System Preferences.
  2. Click iCloud, then select Keychain. You might be asked to enter your Apple ID password. 
  3. Click Use Code, then choose Forgot Code when you're prompted to enter your iCloud Security Code.
  4. Click Reset Keychain to replace your Keychain in iCloud with the iCloud Keychain from your device.
  5. Click Reset iCloud Keychain to confirm.
  6. Follow the onscreen steps to create a new iCloud Security Code.

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How to turn on iCloud Keychain

Whenever you purchase a new Apple device or update a current device where iCloud Keychain has not yet been set up, the setup assistant will ask you to set up iCloud Keychain. You can then either decline or follow the onscreen steps to set up iCloud Keychain.

The following steps could be followed to set up iCloud Keychain on different devices if you chose not to do so when you first used your device.

Turn on iCloud Keychain on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

  1. Tap Settings, and then your name. 
  2. Choose iCloud.
  3. Tap Keychain.
  4. Toggle the switch to turn on iCloud Keychain. You might be asked for your passcode or Apple ID password.

Turn on iCloud Keychain on your Mac.

  1. Go to the Apple menu and then System Preferences. 
  2. Click Apple ID and then iCloud on the sidebar. For macOS Mojave or earlier, click iCloud.
  3. Select Keychain.
  4. If you choose to "Approve Later" when signing into your Apple ID, then you need to approve your Mac with an old passcode or on another device when prompted. If you're unable to approve, then you will need to reset your end-to-end encrypted data when prompted.

Note that, on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 13 or later, as well as on your Mac with macOS Catalina or later, two-factor authentication (2FA) is required to turn on iCloud Keychain. If you have not yet set up 2FA, then you will be prompted to update to 2FA now.

If you were unable to turn on iCloud Keychain following these steps, then it is possible that your device does not meet the minimum system requirements for iCloud Keychain.

The best way to secure your IT infrastructure is to use a password manager that includes sharing features. TeamPassword offers high-level encryption and 2FA so that only the right people can make sense of the passwords.

Before anyone can access the list of shared passwords, they must log in to the platform using their personal password and a short-term authentication code.

If you're unsure where to begin, sign up for a TeamPassword free trial to secure your shared passwords once and for all.

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Make your passwords available on all your devices with iPhone and iCloud Keychain

iCloud Keychain allows you to share usernames and passwords, credit card information, Wi-Fi passwords, and other account information across all of your Apple devices. That way, it is always up to date. 

In addition, iCloud Keychain can keep the accounts you use in Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Messages up to date across all of your Apple devices.

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Generate a password with iCloud Keychain on your iPhone and iPad

Modern computing can require hundreds of passwords to gain access to all of the apps and websites you need to get work accomplished. All of these passwords need to be unique, complex, and long to keep you safe from brute force or dictionary attacks.

However, this is impractical in reality, and users often reuse passwords, which puts your entire network at risk. Password managers, including iCloud Keychain, can suggest pseudo-random passwords every time you need to create a new login or update a current one.

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How to manually add your personal and credit card information to iCloud Keychain 

You can also add your credit card information—name, expiry date, and number—to your iCloud Keychain. That way, when it comes time to make a purchase, you only need to remember the three-digit verification number on the back.

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How to access and view your iCloud Keychain passwords

iCloud Keychain makes it easy to share your passwords across Apple devices. However, most of us use other devices as well. Unlike TeamPassword, which lets you easily and securely share passwords across all of your devices and browsers, you may need to manually find your passwords in iCloud Keychain to use them on other devices. 

You can find them in the Passwords tab on your Apple devices and then copy and paste your username and password to wherever else you need them. 

If the added convenience and security of a dedicated password manager sounds useful, then you can also disable iCloud Keychain as well.

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How to disable iCloud Keychain on iPhone and iPad

Once you've decided to use a dedicated password manager, you can disable iCloud Keychain to stop it from storing or suggesting new passwords in the future. To do so, use the following steps:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Click the Apple ID banner.
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Scroll down to Keychain.
  5. Toggle the iCloud Keychain switch off.
  6. When asked whether you want to turn off Safari AutoFill, you can choose whether to delete the currently stored information from your iPhone or to keep it on both your iPhone and in iCloud.
  7. Enter your Apple ID password if prompted.

The best thing you can do to prevent security issues online is to help your users create strong passwords by providing a password manager. Only with TeamPassword can you facilitate your team in being proactive participants in network security.

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Sign up for a 14-day free trial to test TeamPassword with your team members today.