Password AutoFill in iOS 12 will work with third-party password managers

Apple will now allow password manager applications to integrate with Password AutoFill in iOS 12. That means you’ll have easier access to all your passwords when trying to sign into mobile websites and apps, not just those stored in iCloud Keychain.

This may seem like a small change, but it’s actually an important one.

Many users today take advantage of password management applications to help get control over their dozens, or even hundreds, of online accounts.

Password managers help them secure their credentials and recall them quickly, making it easier to use complex, secure, but hard-to-remember passwords. And the password managers can help alert to other problems — like services that have experienced a data breach such as with the 92 million compromised MyHeritage accounts, for example — as well as issues with re-used passwords, passwords that are too easy to guess, and other issues.

But even though many users today rely on password managers, they’ve been a bit cumbersome to access while on Apple mobile devices.

You’d either have to launch the password manager’s iOS app and copy and paste the password, then return to the app or website in question, or you could use workaround solutions — like 1Password’s use of the iOS Share Sheet to pull up your password with a series taps without having to directly launch its own app.

This still took time, and was overly complicated when compared to the ease-of-use of just tapping on the AutoFill option on the QuickType Bar.

Allowing users to instead access the passwords they’ve saved in their preferred password manager application through the same Password AutoFill flow they’re comfortable with today will make it not only faster to sign in, but could also encourage more adoption of password manager apps, in general.

1Password, upon hearing the news at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference this week in San Jose, was so excited about the solution that it went ahead and gave the new software a shot.

As you can see in the 1Password demo above, the new API will allow you to simply tap on the QuickType bar to access your credentials saved with 1Password. The location of those credentials is also identified on the bar itself, after the dash. If two different sets of credentials are stored in both the password manager and in iCloud Keychain, they would both appear in the QuickType bar, so the user could choose.

This is a feature 1Password has been clamoring for since the introduction of Password AutoFill for Apps last year.

“With iOS 11, Apple introduced the ability to fill from your iCloud Keychain into Safari and into apps,” says 1Password’s Mac and iOS team lead at AgileBits, Michael Fey. “As soon as we saw this, we got in touch with them, and said can we get this for 1Password as well?”

“We filed some bug reports and presented them with mockups of ways we though it could work. And this year, it turns out, they granted our request,” he says. (The enhancement request filed with Apple was a joint effort between 1Password, Dashlane and LastPass. All three filed the same request with the same requirements.)

1Password, and likely those other password manager apps as well, will have their integrations ready as soon as Apple’s software launches publicly this fall.