iCloud Keychain: Everything you need to know

iCloud Keychain is Apple's password management system. With it, your account names, passwords, and credit card numbers can be safely and securely stored on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad keychain and synced across all your devices using iCloud.

When you're using Safari, you can easily access passwords or auto-fill shipping and credit card information. You can also access passwords stored in iCloud Keychain while in third-party apps. Here's everything you need to know about iCloud Keychain.

How to enable (or disable) iCloud Keychain

iCloud Keychain is an excellent program for creating, storing, and accessing your complex passwords. Since it's built right in, it's super easy to set up iCloud Keychain on iOS and get up and running with iCloud Keychain for Mac, too.

By using it, you'll always have your passwords and credit card details at your fingertips and won't need to rely on a third-party password manager app.

How to generate a password with iCloud Keychain on your iPhone and iPad

iCloud Keychain password (Image credit: iMore)

In today's technology-driven world, we have dozens, if not hundreds, of passwords to keep track of. It's easy to be tempted to use the same password continuously, but that's precisely the opposite of what you should be doing. So instead, create a password using iCloud Keychain, and you'll have a super-secure, pseudo-random password to log in with.

The best part is you don't have to remember the random collection of letters, numbers, and symbols as your iPhone or iPad will auto-fill it for you when needed. You can also create iCloud Keychain passwords on Mac.

How to manually add your personal and credit card information to iCloud Keychain on iPhone and iPad

iCloud Keychain is more than just a password manager. It also stores your credit card details and personal data, like your shipping address and phone number. Once you set it up, you can use it to fill out forms and pay for items online without remembering that long string of numbers. It even stores your credit cards' expiration dates, so you only have to remember your card verification code. Three numbers are much easier to remember than 16.

When shopping online, iCloud Keychain will offer to remember your details for the next time. However, you can manually add personal and credit card information to iCloud Keychain if you want to. There's also an option to edit iCloud Keychain information on your Mac if that's where you prefer to do your shopping.

How to access and view your iCloud Keychain passwords

Icloud Keychain Passwords Touch Id Ipad Mini (Image credit: Adam Oram / iMore)

The point of iCloud Keychain is to make it easy for you to fill out passwords in Safari and some apps, but there will always be times when you need a password, and you're not trying to log into a website or an app. So don't worry; your passwords aren't hidden from you.

Though there's no app for iCloud Keychain, your details are stored on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac in your Passwords tab. So you can go in and view your iCloud Keychain passwords, copy and paste your login name or password, and head back to wherever you need to enter it quickly.

How to delete saved passwords and credit cards from iCloud Keychain on your iPhone and iPad

So you stopped using that photo editing service and no longer need the login credentials. Or maybe you got a new credit card to replace the old one, and it has an entirely different number. No problem. In just a few easy steps, you can delete saved passwords and credit card data from iCloud Keychain.

Remember, since this is iCloud, changes sync across all your devices. So if you delete it from the iCloud Keychain on your iPhone, it also disappears from your Mac.

How to stop iCloud Keychain from storing and auto-filling credit cards or passwords in Safari

iCloud (Image credit: iMore)

Even though you may love the ability to create, store, and access your passwords across your devices with iCloud Keychain, you may not want all of the features the service provides. For example, you may have no use for auto-filling and autosaving your personal and credit card information.

If, for example, you share your Mac with your roommate or your iPad with your kids, you probably don't want them to be able to use your account details to log into your social media sites or buy stuff on Amazon. You can keep your passwords stored in iCloud, but turn off iCloud Keychain AutoFill if that sounds like a better solution for you.

Keep it protected

Whether you're just getting set up with iCloud or you already use it for storing and syncing plenty of data, iCloud Keychain is worth spending the time to master.

It's one way to ensure you are making the best iPhone, iPad, and Mac security decisions and helps to keep your other online accounts and personal information safe.

Updated March 2022: Updated for iOS 15 and macOS Monterey.

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).