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iCloud Keychain

Discussion of issues related to iCloud, Apple's "cloud" service designed to store and sync your music, photos, apps, calendars, and documents
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Stephen Hart
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iCloud Keychain

Post by Stephen Hart » Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:25 pm

One of the new features of Mavericks and iOS 7 is keychain syncing by way of iCloud Keychain.
This works (or should) exactly like Keychain works on your Mac, but with some additions. If you choose to let Keychain remember a password, it'll be filled in automatically when you visit the web site. If you choose not to save that password, you'll have to fill it in each time you visit. There are a lot of "ifs" involved in deciding how to make such decisions.
For example, it's a bad idea to use the same, easy-to-remember password for all your web site logins. But it's even worse to forget passwords.
Just like 1Password, iCloud Keychain can be set up with a "master" password, which can be four digits or any arbitrary character string (including three digits and one other character, for example). And just like 1Password, iCloud Keychain can generate passwords. (Note that while setting this up, iCloud Keychain will say that any password it thinks is "weak" is "commonly used." That's nonsense. Generally, the longer the password, the safer it is, assuming you can remember it.

In setting this up, you'll need to have at least two devices available (otherwise why bother?). Three is even better.
You will be prompted to come up with an "iCloud passcode," and you'd better write it down. As far as I can see, this is only used when you're setting the devices up. Pick something simple for the setup. You can change this later, but only on a Mac in the iCloud System Preference pane.
Apple servers will send verification codes to a phone capable of text messages. Beware. I got four different codes while setting this system up on one Mac, one iPhone and one iPad. Be sure to write down the codes in any Messages you receive.
It's easier to "Request Approval." That only requires your iCloud password.
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs

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