What is iCloud Keychain

What Is iCloud Keychain for iOS & macOS

April 29, 2022 2:29 am Published by Leave your thoughts

When you own an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you may have heard the phrase What Is iCloud Keychain? In addition, you also have passwords for various websites and apps. But what if you could have a single master password that unlocks all your different accounts? Also known as two-factor authentication, this concept is known as ‘password management.’  Using 2FA is essential if you want to keep your online accounts secure.

iCloud Keychain extends Apple’s iCloud service that gives you a single place to store all your passwords. Instead of remembering different passwords for different websites and services, you can keep them all in the iCloud Keychain.  It is much easier to have them available for quick and secure access from any of your iOS devices or Macs. Let’s look at iCloud Keychain and its features so you know what this service is and whether or not it’s right for you.

How Does iCloud Keychain Work?

As we said above, the Keychain keeps your information secure using 2 Factor Authentication or 2FA. First, you need to sign in to your iCloud account on the device, and then you need to use a different trusted device to approve the newly connected device to be used with iCloud Keychain. This is separate from the iCloud two-factor authentication, which Apple recommends.

When you enable iCloud Keychain, all of the features below are included for free with your free iCloud account. There is nothing you need to purchase in addition.

> You can sync your Safari usernames, passwords, and credit card information across all devices.
> Because your Wi-Fi network information is synced, all your devices have the most up-to-date information.
> In addition, service log-ins like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn across all devices are synced when signed in through the Settings app.
> Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Messages accounts are kept in sync with usernames and passwords for servers across all devices.
> Finally, iCloud Keychain works with iOS devices running iOS 7.0.3 or later and Macs running macOS 10.9 or later.

When you enable Keychain on your iOS device or Mac, all your passwords are stored as a single encrypted file in the cloud. The file is automatically decrypted and synced back to all your devices. As a result, you don’t have to enter a single password. All you have to do is open the Keychain app on your device and log into your various accounts with one tap. If you lose your device, you can log into your other devices with the app, and the file will download again.

Benefits of Using Keychain

Let’s look at what iCloud Keychain can do for you and why you might want to use it.

> Split-Screen Multitasking: If you use multiple iOS devices, you know how tedious it is to go through the log-in process on every device. If you use iCloud Keychain, you can quickly and easily log into your various devices.
> Two-Factor Authentication: If you have apps requiring two-factor authentication (2FA), like banking apps, this feature can come in handy. Just log into an app with your iCloud Keychain password, and then enter the second factor—like a six-digit code sent via text—to complete the log-in.
> Better Discovery: Let’s say you have a website that you like to use for tracking your orders. With iCloud Keychain, you can log into your account at any time, which means you don’t have to open another app to find your tracking information.
> Enhanced Security: There are times when you do not want to share your password, not even with your family. Using iCloud Keychain, you can quickly and securely access that password without worrying that your account will get hacked.

Drawbacks of Using iCloud Keychain

But there are also disadvantages to using iCloud Keychain. Let’s look at what they are so you know what to expect. That way you will be forwarned whether it’s a good option for you.

> Slow Log-In: One of the main reasons people don’t like using 2FA is that it can be slow and cumbersome. If you use Keychain, you must assume that the same holds for you. If you log into an account with a strong password, it may take longer.
> Losing Your Device: Passwords are stored in iCloud Keychain and are accessible from any of your devices. You lose your device, and you also lose your data. Many people keep their passwords in a text file on their devices. That is not a good thing either. If you lose your phone or tablet, that file is the only way to access your account.
> Limited Storage: While iCloud Keychain keeps your passwords securely in the cloud, it also takes up valuable space on your device. If you want to use iCloud Keychain on your iPhone, you need to make sure you have enough space on your device to store the file.

Final Words: Should You Use It?

Now that you understand what iCloud Keychain is and its functionality let’s talk about whether or not you should use this service. There are a few things to keep in mind before you enable iCloud Keychain on your devices.

The first is that, just like a password itself, if you receive a device with someone else’s iCloud account, the device will sync that file. So, we recommend you look at MacRumors to get all the details on why you might get a message on your device. The message will say, “Your Apple ID and Phone Number Are Being Used on Another Device – What to Do.

While having all your passwords in one place is convenient, it also lowers your security. If someone breaks into your iCloud account, they could easily access all your passwords. You may want to consider using a password manager that stores your passwords differently than iCloud Keychain does.

In the end, there are a few things to consider before you enable iCloud Keychain. Researching the service and thinking about potential risks and downsides, will better equip you to make an informed decision.

Ending Message

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This post was written by Pam Lokker

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