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Within iOS 12: AutoFill gives password management apps on your iPhone a big boost

After years of steadily absorbing features, such as suggesting strong passwords and remembering features that you have, iOS 12 now gives back to developers of password administrators. With the new AutoFill, your external password manager can be taken on tap more places and much more easily. AppleInsider unlocks what you do – and where the unexpected limitations lie.

In the past, you could not convince people that they needed a password manager, because until you've seen one in action, you do not understand. More recently, however, all iOS users have indeed seen this feature in action – directly built into Safari. Now the problem shows that full password management apps are better and that iOS 12 has just removed one barrier.

The latest Apple iPhone and iPad operating system includes an AutoFill setting that, if you choose to accept it, your password manager can be applied anywhere on tap.

That is the theory and again, if you have not seen it in action, you wonder what the meaning is. As long as you have all your passwords safely in a manager, you can always refer to them. You can always go to a website first or click on a shopping basket and then switch to your password manager to copy the username, password, security codes or anything else.

Maybe you would actually change the app to go there: leave one app completely open and go to your password manager instead. Or, what better, you could stay in the first app and call the Share button. Password manager apps have lived here since the start of Share Extensions and now you can retrieve the relevant information with a tap.

Sharing is a bad title when it comes to retrieving information from another app instead of sending information. We can not think of a better title, but it is still a barrier: unless you know it, unless you've seen it, you can not click on Share in any way if you want information to be retrieved.

Yet that or even app conversion, as annoying as it sounds, is still much faster than manually entering your password or credit card number.

Also, the three main password manager apps – Password, LastPass and Dashlane – have done everything to shorten the steps you need to take. Perhaps the most successful in this line is 1Password, the developers of which have worked with the creators of many other apps. It is now quite common to go through the login process of an app and get a 1Password button.

Now iOS 12 has effectively given this function to all password managers – and it has made the process much clearer.

How it works

It does not work. Not with every website. It takes a while before sites and developers work in AutoFill, but it is also on the most important sites.

Try it with one of you. Go to a website where you have to log in. Tap in the username field and once you do that, it can be automatically filled in by Safari to enter the password. Once you've set this up, however, that offer is not Apple's own iCloud keychain system, it's your choice from LastPass, 1Password or Dashlane.

You will be asked if you want to log in to the site using the details of the password manager. Specific – and fun – the most striking detail is the username of the site that your manager has details for. Further than that there is a note that says that this comes from for example Dashlane. When you tap on the username of the website, your password manager will take over.

While staying in Safari and on the website where you log in, you will receive the password management request for a security password, a TouchID or a FaceID. Enter it and the desired password information will be retrieved from the app and displayed in the correct places on the site.

You do not want to go back

It is a function that tells people when they ask what is so great about iOS 12.

However, this AutoFill does not need to be set.

On your iOS device, go to settings and scroll down to Passwords accounts.
13 Now tap Automatic completion of passwords, turn on the AutoFill switch.

Maybe you have a small choice here. One of the options in the list of apps that you say is allowed to use AutoFill for you iCloud keychain. It is selected by default and you have to leave it on. What else is on the list depends on whether you have installed a password manager.

If you do not already do that, go and get one. Whatever you choose -1Password, LastPass or Dashlane – is much better than remembering passwords or scribbling them in a book.

You may find that you do not like it and you decide to move to another. That's more than good, but if you ever have two password administrators on your iOS device at the same time, this is what you need to think about.

Password managers are simply safe databases, folded down information lists, they do not issue code that can interfere with each other. However, Apple has set a restriction: only one password manager can be trusted at the same time as autocomplete.

You can always come back later and switch to the other, but it would have been helpful to see how they complement each other automatically.

Not practical

However, if you could do that, you probably would not have AutoFill's simple one-button choice if you were asked for a password.

That one button makes it very clear that, if you tap it, you log into this account with this username. Apple does not really hide other information but by making that username so prominent, it feels like LastPass and the rest get a back seat.

So perhaps this is not that Apple is generous, by assigning this Auto-Complete feature to app developers for password management. Maybe it's just that Apple keeps us in Safari. After all, if you ignore the button and leave the login site, you will not be offered the option again until you close the site and return when you return.

Whatever Apple's motivation is, AutoFill is really a blessing. It is also a pleasure: the first time you see it, you think yes, that is exactly how this should work.

LastPass is free to download. It has a limited free version and otherwise costs $ 2 per month.

1Password has a free 30-day trial period and after that there is a $ 2.99 subscription service per month.

Dashlane is also free to try. Until or unless you upgrade to the Premium version, you can use it on only one device and up to 50 usernames / passwords. Premium costs $ 60 per year.

Stay up-to-date with AppleInsider by downloading the AppleInsider app for iOS and follow us on YouTube, Twitter @appleinsider and Facebook for live, late reporting. You can also view our official Instagram account for exclusive photo & # 39; s.

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