How to Set up and Use iCloud Keychain

Find and manage your passwords on Mac and iPhone

iCloud Keychain is Apple’s first-party password manager that’s used on Mac and iOS devices like the iPhone. This tool stores login information for websites and apps so users can access these services faster in the future without having to manually re-enter account information each time.

iCloud Keychain is only available on smart devices running at least iOS 8.4.1 or Mac computers with OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 or higher installed.

Is iCloud Keychain Safe?

All user information is saved on the device and on iCloud servers via end-to-end encryption, which protects it and prevents even Apple technicians from accessing it while it’s being uploaded or stored at their data centers. This added security is possible due to a unique private key that’s associated with the hardware and the device’s passcode.

While your account usernames and passwords are generally considered to be secured within iCloud Keychain, and the service can speed up your access to websites and apps, it is important to remember that, with this service enabled, most websites will log you in automatically.

This can be great for you and your productivity, but it also means anyone else using your device with the same account will be given access to the same sites and apps as well. Because of this, you may wish to limit iCloud on some services and manually log in the old-fashioned way.

What Is iCloud Keychain, Apple Keychain, and iOS Keychain?

The official name used for the Apple password manager is iCloud Keychain, though some people and online resources casually refer to it as Apple Keychain, iOS Keychain, or even just Keychain. Some settings in iOS and macOS also refer to iCloud Keychain as Keychain.

There is no Keychain app as the service is a part of Apple’s modern operating systems on Mac computers and on the company’s smart devices such as the iPhone and iPad. If you use a Keychain app, it's likely a different service.

How to Turn on iCloud Keychain

iCloud Keychain will likely already be enabled on your Apple device, but if it’s been turned off, you can use these steps to turn it back on. Conversely, you can also use these instructions to turn iCloud Keychain off.

The steps for activating iCloud Keychain are almost identical for Mac and iPhone users.

  1. On iPhone, open Settings. On Mac, click the Apple logo > System Preferences.

  2. Tap your Apple ID or name.

    If your Mac is running Mojave or earlier, you can jump to the next step.

  3. Tap iCloud > Keychain.

  4. Tap the switch or box next to iCloud Keychain to turn the password manager on.

    Steps for activating iCloud Keychain on iPhone in iOS.

How to Find Saved Passwords on Mac and iPhone

The method for how to see passwords on Mac and iPhone are very similar.

Find Saved Passwords on Mac

To find Passwords on Mac, open Safari, click Preferences > Passwords, then select the website you need the password from.

iCloud Keychain password settings on iPhone.

Find Saved Password on iPhone

To find website passwords on an iPhone, tap Settings > Passwords & Accounts > Website & App Passwords, then tap the name of the website.

From this screen, you can tap Edit or the website name to reset keychain passwords or delete them entirely.

iCloud Keychain website settings in iOS.

If you don’t see the website you want on this list, it’s possible you manually selected not to save the login info when first visiting the site. You may also have used another password manager app or a different web browser that could have saved the data within its own settings.

Forgot keychain passwords and usernames? This information can also be useful if you need to enter an account login information on a device that doesn’t support iCloud Keychain as you can view the individual username and password by tapping on each website name from the list.

What is Keychain Password?

If your iPhone or Mac ever asks you for a Keychain password, it's likely they need you to re-enter your Apple ID. Your Apple ID is the same account used for buying apps from the App Store and media on iTunes.

If this doesn’t work on a Mac, you may need to re-enter the passwordyou set up for the computer itself. This can be different than your Apple ID and is used to prevent others from logging in once you turn your Mac on.