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How to Setup iCloud KeyChain on iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks

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With the iOS 7.0.3 update and OS X Mavericks release Apple introduced iCloud Keychain. This is a new feature that can help users keep passwords and credit card information in sync across their devices and it includes a password generator that can help users create more secure passwords.

iCloud Keychain is included as part of the free updates to iOS 7 and OS X 10.9, which users should find in Settings of the iPhone or iPad and the Mac App Store on a compatible Mac.

Apple originally pulled the iCloud Keychain support from iOS 7, but now that OS X Mavericks is available users can use the free service which competes with LastPass and 1Password.

What is iCloud Keychain

iCloud Keychain is a password syncing and storage service that works on Safari in iOS and OS X Mavericks. It includes the ability to create a strong password that is then stored and synced to all of your iOS and Mac devices.

The iCloud Keychain service can also store your credit card information, though users will need to enter the credit card security code manually. Still this is a nice addition. Users who don’t want to sync this information are not forced to use it, but many average users will appreciate the convenience.

iCloud Keychain only works in Safari on Mac, so FireFox and Chrome users will likely find more use with a service like 1Password or LastPass.

How to Setup iCloud Keychain

When you install the OS X Mavericks upgrade it will prompt you to setup iCloud Keychain and walk you through creating a security key and linking devices to the iCloud Keychain.

Setup iCloud Keychain on OS X Mavericks.

Setup iCloud Keychain on OS X Mavericks.

This can also be done later by going to iCloud settings on the Mac and turning Keychain on. Once you turn it on you will need to enter your password and security code on other devices to add them to iCloud Keychain. Or, you can tell Apple to ask your approval on another device.

Approve a device to use iCloud Keychain.

Approve a device to use iCloud Keychain.

We used our main Macbook Pro to authorize iCloud Keychain on a MacBook Air and on the iPhone running iOS 7.0.3. Mavericks will push a notification when a device requests access.

iCloud Keychain approval request on an iPhone.

iCloud Keychain approval request on an iPhone.

When you finish the iOS 7.0.3 update on an iPhone or iPad go to Settings -> iCloud -> Keychain -> On to turn the setting on. You can then enter the security code and a key sent to your phone or use the other device to approve iCloud Keychain.

Setup iCloud Keychain on IOS 7.0.3.

Setup iCloud Keychain on IOS 7.0.3.

The iCloud Keychain settings and saved passwords are actually in the Safari settings. Go to Settings > Safari -> Passwords & Autofill to see your saved passwords and credit cards. From here you can also delete passwords and add credit cards to iCloud Keychain.

iCloud Keychain can generate secure passwords and remember them fro you.

iCloud Keychain can generate secure passwords and remember them fro you.

The password generator is only available on Safari for OS X Mavericks at this time, and it will not work on all sites as some prevent passwords from being saved. The generated passwords will sync between devices and can be found on the desktop at Safari -> Preferences -> Passwords where users can edit or remove passwords and access settings.

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and Notebooks.com. He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your gear and loves to talk about tech on radio and TV. Josh uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows Computers. Josh Smith on Google+ Email: [email protected]

7 Comments

  1. Walter

    10/23/2013 at 10:14 am

    How can a 4 digit single factor authorization ever be considered secure?

    • cellist81

      10/23/2013 at 12:11 pm

      same as a bank card pin…they’re only 4 digits or so…

  2. Mohammed

    10/23/2013 at 2:30 pm

    You can always pick a longer passcode.

  3. LaPointe Gary

    10/23/2013 at 5:26 pm

    I really REALLY don’t like that the password to get into the passwords in iPhone Safari is the same a code as unlocking my phone.

    Sure I’m dangerous and a few people have access to my phone password (the same few people that have spare keys to my house and car). But I normally don’t give them access to my Keychain password!

    Let’s get another password for the password Keychain section…

    And let’s have a message on the empty iOS Keychain page that says “you manage your keychain passwords in Safari (Safari -> Preferences -> Passwords)”. Plus, it’s too bad they don’t call it “keychain passwords”.

  4. Landon (@LandonAB)

    10/23/2013 at 5:34 pm

    Very odd, Safari does not offer me a suggested password on Mavericks, Version 7.0 (9537.71). I have tried everything with no luck. Syncs them to iOS but never suggests a password when I click a password field.

    Any thoughts?

  5. Robin

    10/24/2013 at 7:10 am

    I set up a separate password from my phone lock password. The program prints you and asks if you want to save the password. It don’t want to save a particular password, then you don’t have it. It’s your choice. You don’t have to use this program at all; your decision!

  6. Howell Selburn

    10/27/2013 at 2:09 pm

    How do you select a different password than your Apple ID?

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