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Apple’s password manager just got a big update in macOS Sonoma

Published Jul 16th, 2023 9:02AM EDT
macOS Sonoma Apple Silicon

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I believe that password manager apps like 1Password and Proton Pass are among the most important applications you can install on a new device. Password managers securely hold all your login credentials, credit card data, and notes. The emphasis is on the login data, as not all password managers offer similar features. The point is, I’d need a password manager to sign into everything else securely. And thankfully, some operating systems and browsers have built-in password managers.

Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and Mac ecosystem is one such example. Apple offers a built-in iCloud Keychain password manager that lets you save passwords securely. The tool syncs the passwords across devices. It’s not a standalone app like 1Password or Proton Pass, but the iCloud password manager is there, ready to provide protection to your most critical data. And the tool just got a big update in macOS Sonoma.

The new OS brings the iCloud Passwords extension to third-party browsers, including Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. That’s great news for all those Mac users not happy with what Safari can offer.

Password manager apps typically require a paid subscription though free versions exist. Proton Pass is one example where you don’t need to pay for the app to benefit from secure, end-to-end encrypted passwords.

While I routinely advocate for premium versions of the apps, I also point out that Apple’s password manager feature is available for free. You’re already paying for the hardware, whether iPhone, iPad, or Mac. All the software comes free, iCloud Passwords included.

This gives you a tremendous tool to protect your password. One that’s at least as good as standalone apps and comes with a few exciting features. Apple’s password manager autofills passwords, handles two-factor authentication codes, and supports passkeys.

The problem with Apple’s iCloud password manager is that it might not be immediately obvious to the user. It’s not a standalone app that runs alongside your other apps on Mac. Or a standalone iPhone app. Instead, it’s part of the Settings app, and it’s supposed to just work.

Whenever you have to fill in login data on iPhone or iPad, the iCloud password manager does the trick.

It’s on the Mac that things get trickier. To work where it matters, a password manager needs browser extensions. That way, you can seamlessly fill in login details without worrying about copying and pasting.

That’s where macOS Sonoma comes in handy. Available in beta, the operating system brings a new iCloud Passwords extension for Google Chrome. The extension will also work on any Chromium-based internet browser, including Microsoft Edge, Brave, and others.

Apple has made the iCloud Passwords extension available to download, and you can install it immediately. All you need to do is also install macOS Sonoma public beta to test it. Or wait for this fall for the official Sonoma release to become available.

Once you’ve installed everything, just sign into your Apple ID to access your iCloud passwords in your macOS browser of choice. Your Apple ID protects your iCloud data, including the passwords you store in it.

If you’re struggling with passwords, you should take advantage of this great tool that Apple built into its operating systems.

You can also consider using iCloud Passwords even if you already use a standalone password manager. That way, you have a couple of secure password managers available to you at all times.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.