I’ve long been waiting for Apple to incorporate its incredible iCloud Keychain features for third-parties on iOS. At last, with iOS 12 that prayer has finally been answered. I’ve been fortunate enough to get a first-look with 1Password’s implementation, and it works exactly as I’d hope.

More details after the break…

Note: Both iOS 12 and 1Password are currently in beta. Anything mentioned could be changed or updated in the future. 

Setting it up

To enable use with a third-party, you’ll have to head into Settings > Passwords & Accounts, and then AutoFill Passwords. From here, you’ll have to turn on AutoFill Passwords if you haven’t already, and then tap on 1Password to enable AutoFill Passwords for the app. Hopefully, both Apple and 1Password will improve visibility of the feature in the future.

1Password will then overlay a screen, asking you if you’d like to enable Clipboard Notifications. If you’ve used 1Password for Mac at all, you’ll be very familiar with this feature. Essentially, for any login that uses app-based authentication versus SMS (which is much less secure), 1Password will copy the one-time password to your clipboard automatically. You’ll just need to paste it in when prompted, making logging into those sites/apps more seamless.

1Password autofill in Safari

1Password has for a while now offered an extension on iOS, letting users autofill passwords in supported apps, and on the web. While it was great not having to jump out of your existing app to fire up 1Password, it was a clunky workaround to say the least. It required users to tap on the Share Sheet in Safari (or the dedicated 1Password/password manager button in third-party apps, if supported), tap on 1Password, and then tap on the login you were wanting to use.

With the new implementation in iOS 12, this process is streamlined. In Safari or apps that rely on SafariViewController to login, the process is super simple super easy. You simply tap on the username field, and QuickType will automatically ask to autofill your information. Simply tap on the login, authenticate with Touch ID or Face ID, and bam, that’s it. Tap on login if necessary and you’re in.

Autofill within third-party apps

For third-party apps, the experience is wonky at best in my testing. However, this up to app developers to add support for Apple’s Associated Domains API, which Password AutoFill (and by extension, apps that work with Password AutoFill such as 1Password) uses to identify applications. If 1Password can’t identify the app (which is most apps right now), 1Password will throw up an “Unidentified app” error, prompting you to manually search for the login. Presumably, apps will need to be updated to support the new third-party password APIs. The error reads:

This app has not provided any identifying information

However, this experience is far superior to the Share Sheet implementation in iOS 11, which required developers to build support specifically for it. At the very least, with the new implementation, users can simply tap on a username/password field, tap on the Passwords button, and search for the login, even if the app hasn’t supported third-party password managers in the past.

The aforementioned one-time passwords being copied to clipboard is pretty great, too. Just like its macOS counterpart, one-time passwords automatically clear from your clipboard after a predefined amount of time. Working hand-in-hand with the new SMS-based one-time password autofill in iOS 12 creates a near effortless password management experience on iOS.

What I’d like to see from Apple is a way to have app-based one-time passwords appear in the QuickType suggestion field, similar to SMS-based codes, rather than forcing third-parties to copy them to clipboard.

Conclusion

Even in its beta form, AutoFill Passwords for third-parties is leaps and bounds better than its iOS 11 counterpart. Not only does it work in Safari, it now works in all third-party apps (albeit a bit wonky right now), versus only in a small handful of supported apps. It also works in first-party apps as well. So if the iTunes/App Store, or Settings asks for a password, you can use autofill here as well.

Users with the iPhone X will appreciate it even more, as the experience is nearly effortless, requiring you to do almost no work to login to apps.

For those who use iCloud Keychain, this is nothing new. However, users of third-party password management clients such as 1Password will be happy to know that we’ll be getting the same, first-class experience as iCloud Keychain users.


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