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How to: save passwords in Safari on the iPad/iPhone

By danwarne     Filed under: internet, Apple, iPhone, iPad, tablets, Security, smartphone apps, apple ipad, Apple iPhone, iPhone apps, iOS, Apple iPad 2, Apple Safari, iPad 2, mobile internet, passwords, LastPass, 1Password

Is it driving you nuts having to remember all your usernames and passwords when logging in to websites on the iPad? What sort of a "magical, revolutionary" device doesn't have password autofill, you might wonder.

It's one of the most common criticisms of the iPad and iPhone -- and it's an especially inconvenient deficiency for travellers who may not be near their computer and can't look their password up in their normal password manager.

However, it turns out Apple does actually include a little-known password autofill function for iOS -- it is just switched off by default, as a security measure.

To enable password autofill on your iPad or iPhone, go to the Settings icon > Safari > Autofill...

... then slide the "names and passwords" slider to "on".

You can also slide the "use contact info" slider to "on" if you would like web forms filled in with details in your contact card (it will ask you to choose which contact card in the address book is yours when you turn it on.)

Then, when you enter a password in at a website, Safari will ask you whether you want to save it for future autofill.

Bear in mind, of course, Apple's password autofill is a security risk, especially if you don't have a startup password or PIN code on your iPad.

With password autofill, anyone who got hold of your iPad could get into websites and impersonate you -- including ordering goods or making financial transactions.

Additionally, the Apple Safari Autofill feature doesn't always work reliably (for example, while it will save the password for an Australian Business Traveller login, it will not autofill it next time you log in).

There's also no way to view which website usernames and passwords you have saved, nor any way to sync them between your computer and the iPad/iPhone.

For people who have a lot of website usernames and passwords, and want a more robust and secure solution, there's also 1Password for iPhone/iPad, which can sync with a desktop 1Password database via Dropbox. It costs $17.99 in the Australian iTunes Store.

Another popular password manager, LastPass, is available for iPad/iPhone, and costs US$12 per year to use, which includes automatic sync between your computer and iPad/iPhone.

Unfortunately, Apple blocks developers from modifying the Safari browser on the iPad/iPhone in any way, so it's not possible for 1Password or LastPass to fill usernames and passwords in automatically as the official Apple autofill feature does.

To get around that, both 1Password and LastPass include their own inbuilt web browser, which uses the same software as Safari, but includes the username/password autofill and internet-based password database sync.

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About danwarne

Dan is a tech enthusiast who frequently qualifies for enhanced airport security screening due to the number of cords and gadgets stuffed into his cabin bag.

 

Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 17/5/13 by johnblogs

I recommand TapIN for that purpose. It's much better than any other app for automatic login. 

 

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