Apple project aims to help password managers deal with ‘quirks’

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Dashlane password manager all items list on iPhone
A new open-source project from Apple seeks to make coding a good password manager easier.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Apple on Friday unveiled an open-source project to help third-party developers of password managers work together to create strong passwords that are compatible with popular websites.

The job is clearly more complex than many might suspect.

Making life easier for developers of password managers

Passcode managers not only store the dozens of passwords everyone needs to keep track of, these apps suggest strong passcodes for users. But this isn’t always easy.

The intention of Apple’s newly-unveiled project is to help developers deal with the myriad different rules that websites use for passcodes. Some sites disallow certain characters or symbols, while other sites have a different set of permitted symbols.

These idiosyncratic rules are called quirks, and they’re a challenge for this type of software. “Every time a password manager generates a password that isn’t actually compatible with a website, a person not only has a bad experience, but a reason to be tempted to create their own password,” warns Apple.

Apple’s Password Manager Resources project lets all developers of this type of software take advantage of each other’s work. “By sharing resources, all password managers can improve their quality with less work than it’d take for any individual password manager to achieve the same effect,” noted Apple.

It contains collections of websites known to share a sign-in system, links to websites’ pages where users change passwords, and more.

The Password Manager Resources open-source project is hosted now on GitHub. Naturally, it’s available free.

Anyone looking for a good passcode manager should consider Dashlane — the official password manager of Cult of Mac.