Apple has announced today that it is launching an open source project designed for developers of password managers. The goal is to make it easier for developers to “create strong passwords that are compatible with popular websites.

Apple’s iCloud Keychain platform is already able to generate strong passwords at the time of account creation or when you change a password. The new Password Manager Resources open source project aims to extend that to password manager applications.

Apple explains in its announcement post:

The Password Manager Resources open source project allows you to integrate website-specific requirements used by the iCloud Keychain password manager to generate strong, unique passwords. The project also contains collections of websites known to share a sign-in system, links to websites’ pages where users change passwords, and more.

Apple has launched the new Password Manager Resources on GitHub, making it available to everyone. The team behind the project explains that the idea is to make it so “creators of password managers can collaborate on resources to make password management better for users.” As of right now, the available information consists of data, or “quirks”, and code.

  • Password Rules: Rules to generate compatible passwords with websites’ particular requirements.
  • Websites with Shared Credential Backends: Groups of websites known to use the same credential backend, which can be used to enhance suggested credentials to sign into websites.
  • Change Password URLs: To drive adoption of strong passwords, it’s useful to be able to take users directly to websites’ change password pages.

Apple pitches three main benefits to developers:

  1. 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.
  2. By publicly documenting website-specific behaviors, password managers can offer an incentive for websites to use standards or emerging standards to improve their compatibility with password managers; it’s no fun to be called out on a list!
  3. By improving the quality of password managers, we improve user trust in them as a concept, which benefits everyone.

You can view the full collection of Password Manager Resources on Apple’s GitHub page here.

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