How to use iOS 11’s password autofill for apps


iOS 11 password autofill
This key is the key to your securi-tey.
Photo: Cult of Mac

iOS 11 extends Safari’s password autofill out of the browser and inside apps. In iOS 11, when you download a new app — a Twitter app, say, or an email client — then you won’t have to visit your password manager of choice, then copy and paste a username and password between apps. Instead, if you already let Safari save the password in the browser, it will be automatically supplied in the app, too.

Using password autofill in apps

To use in-app password autofill in iOS 11, you need to have already saved that password. This is done right now by allowing Safari to save passwords when you log into sites in the browser. There’s no way to store a password otherwise. For that, you’ll need to keep using something like the excellent 1Password.

Assuming you have the password already saved, then, the in-app autofill procedure is easy. In fact, it’s so easy that it’s not even a procedure. To illustrate, I downloaded the Airmail app, and added a new account.

Hit your Touch ID and you'll have instant access to your passwords, anywhere oyu need them.
Hit your Touch ID and you’ll have instant access to your passwords, anywhere you need them.
Photo: Cult of Mac

When you reach the sign-in section and tap into the password field, a key icon appears in the bar above the keyboard. Tap that, then either enter your device password or authenticate using Touch ID, and a list of available passwords will pop open. Pick the one you want, or use the search bar to find it. Then just tap on the password and it will be auto-filled.

That’s it: Whenever you are in a password field, you’ll get a button that gives you instant access to your saved passwords, whether you happen to be in an app, or in Safari. As you can see from these screenshots, the feature is a little bare at the moment, but it already works, and requires nothing at all from the user to set up.

Is 1Password dead?

With Safari’s password autofill now extending across the entirety of iOS, are password managers like 1Password obsolete? Not even close. 1Password might not be integrated at the system level, but it can do a lot more. For instance, if you use 2-factor authentication on any of your accounts (and you should), the 1Password can generate the required one-time codes for you. It also lets you save multiple passwords for each entry, and many more useful power features. The new app autofill in iOS, then, is a complement to existing password management apps. And in fact, iOS 11 is letting developers like Agile Bits (behind 1Password) do neat things like letting you drag and drop your passwords directly into password fields.

Passwords are a pain, and secure passwords are even more so. By removing some of that pain, iOS 11 will make your data safer, and that can only be good news.

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  • shannon_f

    Some apps already had this capability (HelloFresh is one I know had it). I wonder if this is really just making it easier for apps to access it since they already had the capability but hardly any apps used it.

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