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Apple attaches great importance to security and continuously upgrades its operating systems with secure software features. In this article, we look at the password storage feature called iCloud Keychain.
We explain how it works, how to find passwords on Mac, and whether it’s worth using Apple’s password manager.
The central theses:
- iCloud Keychain is free and embedded in the macOS system for great ease of use
- An iCloud account is required to use iCloud Keychain’s auto-sharing features
- You can’t use iCloud Keychain to turn on two-factor authentication for non-Apple websites
First, there are two easy methods to access your iCloud keychain. You can find saved passwords in the system settings or via your Safari browser. Before you begin, make sure you activate your iCloud account if you haven’t already – saved passwords won’t sync over an internet connection unless you’re signed in.
In this article, we won’t explain how to find passwords using third-party software such as web browsers or password managers. Visit our Mac password managers review to learn how to use these tools.
A Mac with iCloud enabled stores the keychain in your encrypted cloud account. Passwords are stored in a local encrypted database if you don’t have an iCloud keychain.
iCloud Keychain is a solid password manager that provides all the basic features for a secure vault. It’s not the sturdiest, but it’s very easy to use.
The best Mac password manager isn’t our very best. On a Mac, we recommend Dashlane for its great value and rich set of features. 1Password is our best password manager overall, but second for Mac. LastPass takes third place.
How to find passwords on Mac using System Preferences
The macOS Keychain Access app is embedded in your system preferences. Use these steps to view saved passwords.
- Open System Preferences
All core macOS settings can be adjusted in the System Preferences menu, which is also where you’ll find your saved passwords. Begin, Click on your Apple menu bar and Click on “System Settings”.
- Click on the key icon
About halfway down the System Preferences page, Look for a key icon labeled “Passwords”. Click on it to open it and Manage your saved passwords. If you’re not signed in to iCloud, you’ll need to use Safari to view saved credentials from other devices. The macOS system keychain will not sync with your iCloud keychain if you are not signed in.
- Login with your admin password
Next, you’ll be asked to sign in with your Mac user password — this protects your sensitive information. All of your passwords and usernames will be visible once you gain access to the keychain. Enter your account ID and password, use biometrics, or sign in with an Apple Watch.
- Select the website to edit
A new window will open with a list of websites and credentials. As a nice feature, keychain places an exclamation mark next to reused passwords. With this option enabled, both local and iCloud keychain will show compromised passwords. Select a site to view its details.
- View, edit and save your password
At first, you will only see password masking dots on your Mac. Click the Edit button to change or view a saved password. A change here only changes the saved passwords. You still need to change your password on the appropriate page. Click on “Save” and your changes are safely stored in the keychain.
How to Find Saved Passwords on Mac Using Safari
Safari still lets you find your passwords if you don’t have iCloud or macOS Keychain turned on. This comes in handy when you’re not at home, using your phone, or just borrowing someone’s computer.
- Open the Safari browser
Whether on your computer or phone, Open the Safari browser. You cannot use this feature in other browsers such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.
- Sign in to your account
In the next popup menu Click the Passwords key icon.. Whether on your own computer or not, enter your admin password to gain access to the keychain. This ensures it’s really you and your credentials are safe. Sign in with biometrics, use your username and password, or sign in with an Apple Watch.
- Select the site you want to view or edit
You’ll get a list of websites with all your saved passwords, just like in the System Settings menu. This includes saved login information for all websites you have visited. Click on a password page you want to view or edit.
- View, edit and save your password
Only masking points are displayed when the site details are expanded. Click the Edit button. to make changes or view the unmasked password. After you finish editing, Click “Save” to save the change. Make sure too Change passwords on the appropriate page. You can also bring up this menu by saying, “Hey Siri, show my passwords.”
Is iCloud Keychain the best password manager for macOS?
In many ways, iCloud Keychain is a streamlined and well-built embedded password management feature. You don’t need to install another app, you don’t need to pay any additional service and the data follows you to any Apple device.
However, the macOS keychain system is also very simple. It lacks fancier features that are well implemented by services like 1Password or LastPass. For example, you won’t see Family Vault, and there’s no way to integrate multi-factor authentication for non-Apple accounts.
As a solid password manager for Apple devices, we recommend Dashlane (see our Dashlane review).
Still, iCloud Keychain is worth trying out. Yes, it’s incredibly simple, but that’s more of a feature than a bug. You don’t need new apps or a browser extension when using the macOS ecosystem.
Your vault is already protected by Apple’s cloud encryption, and you can store and share this data with other Apple users via AirDrop.
Final Thoughts: Password Management for Mac Users
Apple devices have always been a dense ecosystem of apps designed to work well together. iCloud Keychain fits into this pattern by integrating with macOS menus and apps. You get the benefits of secure cloud storage for credentials without paying extra money or setting up new accounts.
To use iCloud Keychain, enable iCloud on your system by signing up for the service.
After that, find your passwords through Apple’s System Preferences or sign in through Safari. Don’t forget that you can also log into iCloud and share passwords with your contacts using AirDrop. Of course, you can always export passwords to one of our better-rated password managers.
We hope you know more about how to find Mac password.
For other Mac questions, please leave a comment so we can address your needs. We’re also interested in your opinion on the iCloud keychain. Do you use it with your Mac? If no, what stopped you from serving? Otherwise, thanks for reading and have a nice day.