If you use iCloud Keychain, you should switch to a dedicated password manager because it has superior security and more features to help you streamline password and data management. Password managers are cross-functional, allow you to securely share passwords, provide you with the ability to store more than just passwords and have secure add-ons available to further protect yourself.
Continue reading to learn why you should use a password manager if you’re currently using iCloud Keychain.
What Is iCloud Keychain?
If you have an Apple device you’re probably familiar with iCloud Keychain. iCloud Keychain is Apple’s version of a password manager. It’s designed to remember your passwords for you and automatically fill them in when you go to log in to one of your accounts. In addition to passwords, iCloud Keychain stores 2FA codes, credit cards and shipping addresses. It also suggests strong, random passwords when creating a new account.
All Apple devices have iCloud Keychain as a native feature, meaning it’s not an app you need to install because it already comes with your device.
What Is a Password Manager?
A password manager is a tool that aids you in managing and securely storing passwords, credit card information, backup codes, 2FA codes and more. Password managers also come with the ability to generate strong passwords and autofill them for you when you go to log in.
Many password managers also offer add-ons. Some common add-ons you’ll see across different password managers are secure file storage and dark web monitoring.
iCloud Keychain vs Password Manager: Which Is the Best Choice?
While iCloud Keychain and password managers have similar capabilities, there are many things that set the two apart.
Dedicated password managers are created with security top of mind. Some password managers, like Keeper Security, are zero trust and zero knowledge meaning no one but the user has the ability to access their stored passwords and data. Using Keeper as an example, in order to access your Keeper Vault, you need to enter your master password. Most password managers use AES 256-bit encryption, an encryption method that turns plaintext passwords into unreadable text, also known as ciphertext. This type of encryption is used by the U.S. government.
iCloud Keychain also uses AES 256-bit encryption and has said that no one but users have access to their stored information. However, using iCloud Keychain comes with risks. For example, if you use iCloud Keychain to store your passwords, anyone who knows the passcode to your Apple device will be able to access your passwords. With a dedicated password manager, even if someone knew your passcode and unlocked your device, they wouldn’t be able to log in to your password manager and access all your passwords.
Works across all your devices
Dedicated password managers work across multiple devices meaning you’ll be able to access your password vault from anywhere. This is useful if you have different types of devices for personal and professional use. An example would be if you’re an avid Apple user but your company uses Dell computers and Android phones. A dedicated password manager allows you to log in to it on any device and access your passwords or anything else you have stored in your vault. A good use case for this would be if you need to log in to a personal account such as LinkedIn from your professional device, but don’t remember the password. You would simply log in to your password manager and access your login credentials.
With iCloud Keychain, you can only access your stored passwords on Apple devices. This can be inconvenient, especially if you own devices that are not a part of the Apple ecosystem.
Allows you to securely share passwords
All password managers provide you with the ability to securely share passwords with anyone and some even allow you to share passwords with people who don’t have a password manager. You can choose whether you want to share passwords indefinitely or for a certain period of time such as a week, a number of hours or a just few minutes. You can revoke access to a shared password or record at any time and choose whether you want the person to be able to edit the record or just view it.
iCloud Keychain also allows you to share passwords via AirDrop. However, the limitation is that you’re only able to share with other Apple users and they have to be physically near you.
Ability to store more than just passwords
With a password manager, you’re not limited to only storing passwords. Some of the other things password managers let you securely store include:
- Credit card numbers
- Home addresses
- Bank account statements
- Healthcare records
- Images and videos
- Backup codes
Depending on the password manager, securing more than just passwords may be included in your plan or available as an add-on feature you’ll need to purchase.
With iCloud Keychain you’re limited to only storing passwords, credit card numbers and your home address.
Generates and stores 2FA codes
Some password managers provide you with the ability to store 2FA codes in your vault. For example, if you want to create a 2FA code for one of your accounts and already have your login information saved, all you have to do is create a 2FA code for it in the same record. Once your 2FA code is saved, the code will autofill upon login along with your credentials.
iCloud Keychain offers a similar feature, but it’s a much lengthier process to set it up.
Is iCloud Keychain a Good Password Manager?
While iCloud Keychain can be a convenient password manager because it comes with all Apple devices, it does present a security risk. A dedicated password manager uses a unique master password that works like a key to unlock your vault. To access your iCloud Keychain, you use the same credentials you use to unlock your device. This means anyone who knows or is able to crack the passcode to your device, will have access to all your passwords.
iCloud Keychain also lacks features like cross-functionality, secure password sharing and more. This can pose an inconvenience to those who want to be able to share passwords and be able to access their accounts from anywhere on any device.
Why You Should Switch to a Password Manager
You should switch to a password manager like Keeper Security because it provides you with multiple features that iCloud Keychain does not. With Keeper Password Manager you can access your vault from anywhere on any device, securely share passwords, store images and files, and more.
With a dedicated password manager, you can also purchase add-ons to secure yourself further such as subscribing to a dark web monitoring service. A dark web monitoring service like BreachWatch® constantly scans the dark web and notifies you if it finds credentials that match the one’s stored in your Keeper Vault. With dark web alerts, you’ll be notified immediately so you can change compromised passwords right away.
How to switch to a password manager from iCloud Keychain
Switching from iCloud Keychain to a password manager is easy. Follow the steps below to import from iCloud Keychain to Keeper Password Manager.
Note: To import from iCloud Keychain, install the Keeper Desktop application on your Mac.
- Create a Keeper account
- Click on your account email in the upper right corner
- Click Settings > Import and then click the import button
- Copy the code provided to your clipboard
- Click “Next” to open Accessibility settings
- Click “Open System Preferences”
- Click the lock icon to unlock permissions
- Check the box next to “Keeper Import”
- Type in your computer password when prompted
- Paste the code you copied from the Vault Import screen
- Select all the passwords you wish to import and then click “Add to Keeper”
- Verify your passwords were imported and delete the ones saved in iCloud Keychain
A Password Manager Is the Best Choice for Your Passwords
Not only does a dedicated password manager offer the convenience of being able to access your sensitive data whenever and wherever you need, but it also offers a lot more features that iCloud Keychain doesn’t.
Start a free 30-day trial of Keeper Password Manager to see just how convenient a dedicated password manager is.