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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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