In iOS 8, Apple is making the process of logging into apps a much smoother experience by allowing native iOS apps to access usernames and passwords stored in Safari. The new feature, which works by letting iOS apps tap into Safari’s AutoFill & Passwords feature, will allow users to login to apps with a simple tap rather than having to type login info. Imagine your username and password are stored in Safari’s AutoFill for Facebook, for example. When launching the native Facebook iOS app, the feature will let users select from passwords stored in Safari to quickly login (as pictured above with Apple’s demo “Shiny” app).

The new feature will first require developers to support it by associating their apps with their websites. The process involves developers adding one file to their website and one new entitlement to their iOS app in order to verify the services are Safari-Autofill-iOS-8-apps-wwdc-03associated. They will then be able to take advantage of a couple easy to use APIs that let them request credentials stored in Safari and present them to the user at log-in. For apps that don’t have associated login data stored in Safari yet, apps using the feature will be able to save and/or update to Safari AutoFill and iCloud Keychain directly from within the app. The feature makes the process of logging into web apps and native apps more seamless, allowing both to access the same stored credentials from Safari.

Select a Safari Saved Password to Use with “Shiny”

You can view and remove passwords in the Passwords & Autofill section of Safari settings.

Apple said it hopes the feature will increase app engagement and solve the problem of users leaving apps while getting frustrated with the login experience. Safari’s AutoFill & Passwords are also synced to iCloud Keychain, allowing you to access the Safari credentials in apps across all of your devices including Mac.

It’s part of Apple’s push for “Continuity” in iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite, which allows users to seamlessly transition from an app or task on one device to another across iOS and OS X. Apple’s Handoff Continuity feature also attempts to bridge the gap between web apps and native apps. While it allows users to easily transition between native iOS apps to OS X apps— imagine picking up where you left off in a document across platforms—  it will also allow app developers to send users to an associated website if a native app isn’t available.

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17 Responses to “iOS 8 lets apps access Safari AutoFill credentials for quick & easy login”

  1. YEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!! I wondered why they didn’t think bigger and instead of Safari AutoFill credentials make an iCloud keychain that other apps could access.

    I hope this includes CCs too, as I’ve often found myself on mobile wanting apps to be able to access the stuff I have in Safari. This is awesome.

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  2. Good news for those that use it, but Auto-Fill is for lazy idiots IMO. It adds a tiny, slight convenience at the expense of possibly horrific privacy failures. Therefore it’s just not worth it.

    I have habitually and automatically turned it off on every computer that went through my office, for every user, over the entire time it’s been available (literally thousands of computers) and no one has ever come back and complained or bothered to turn it on. It’s really a useless thing.

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    • I completely agree…instead of securely storing complex (and randomly generated) passwords in Keychain (a different one for each account) and have them filled in automatically, let’s instead use easy to remember (and guess) passwords – or better yet, let’s use a single password for all applications. So there is no need for Auto-fill. Are you being serious?

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      • The trouble with auto generated passwords unknown to the user is that the user is reliant on a system that they have no access to and no way to fix if it goes wrong. Besides which, for most of it’s life, “autofill” has not been anything like that anyway. Up until very recently, it was literally just the saving of passwords in a local keychain, accessible by anyone using that user account. In other word, physical access equals no security at all.

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      • verizon2828 says:

        I create my own complex passwords but store them in my SplashID app. The autofill will be convenient, but it won’t replace me saving my own local copies of my passwords just in case.

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    • verizon2828 says:

      That’s your opinion. I believe that many, many others would beg to differ. With my iPhone 5S being secured with a longer password and Touch ID, I welcome this feature to make using my phone more efficient. Your comments assume that every user you encounter is an idiot incapable of managing their device and/or computer. It also sounds like you’re in a corporate IT environment. Yeah…autofill and password saves should NOT be done in a corporate environment.

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  3. bobbell69 says:

    It’s about time we had this ability.

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  4. This is a great little change to iOS that will have a big impact on the ease and experience of using Apple devices. I am super pumped for iOS 8’s official release.

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  5. sptolboe says:

    Hooooray!! Now I can finally create unique random passwords for each app/website and not be stuck to doing all my transactions through Safari but rather their native apps!!!!!!! Thanks Apple!

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  6. I like this from the point of view that I now have unique and incredibly complex passwords for all my different internet accounts and many are saved on Safari autofill because they are impossible to remember apart from that.

    The fact that I don’t have to go hunting in that awkward way to the Safari settings to get at the password and remember the user account is brilliant. All password managers out there have the upside of being able to store your credentials securely however the downside of not having this level of access to the system and most cost a bomb to install across multiple systems.

    I knew if I just waited Apple would just do it for me. Now let’s hope this data doesn’t pump straight into the NSA.

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    • Mike Beasley says:

      With extensions in iOS 8, any password manager could potentially have close to this level of access.

      For example, app developers could potentially add a “Login with 1Password” button to trigger a 1Password extension, which would allow you to copy and paste the password stored in that app (or another manager).

      Only downside is that it would require 1Password to create an extension, and then require third-party developers to add support for that extension on their login pages. If either of those things didn’t happen, you wouldn’t have this kind of access.

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  7. this is the best news I’ve heard all day!

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  8. captblack00 says:

    Really??? I wish they would stop messing around in the space and introduce OAuth for Apple ID.

    Would also be useful if they could re-boot me.com as my personal info store (like about me)….but no…let’s continue saving all these usernames (err…email address) and password..

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  9. With the new iPhone 6 coming out I better sell my old iPhone before the value of it drops. I usually search 11-14 different sites to find the best offer. But I just found this site called RecomHub that compares all the buy back companies and shows you their prices.

    It’s like kayak but for electronics, super cool. It’s http://www.recomhub.com

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  10. Does anyone know where this feature is documented? I could not find it in Apple’s iOS 8 info or video collection. Perhaps I did not look deep enough.

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