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Apple passwords deserve an app

First, let’s consider three random tweets:

They already have.

They definitely should.

They seemingly won’t… but why?

We all know that Apple has nice built-in password management in macOS and iOS. But very, very few people know that Apple’s passwords can also:

  • Autofill any 2FA verification codes, which you easily can add by scanning QR codes!
  • Keep a “Notes” field where you can add extra data, like 2FA backup codes, for each password!
  • Import passwords exported from another app, like 1Password!

(And it all syncs across your devices, for free?!)

Very few people know these things because Apple tucks all of their important password features away in weird little Settings panels, instead of in a Proper Real App. I think this is a mistake.

Passwords are productivity, not preferences.

(heck yeah now i’m really sounding like a tech blogger!! what I mean is, i deal with passwords more than i write docs in Pages, you get it right)

The Position

Every Apple user should know about these features.

As much as I love 1Password (and I do! despite big fears about their venture funding! oh no here I go againnn!), there are people who can’t afford to pay a subscription for a password manager, or people who don’t even know they exist in the first place. They deserve easy-to-use security too.

The Problem

Here an example of what happens when you jam critical functionality into weird-ass places:

All that text is a big red flag reading “this thing should’ve been a proper UI”.

I can’t blame the designer here. It’s not their fault. Since someone decided passwords shouldn’t be given a full, proper UI, 2FA code setup was relegated to contextual menus and control-clicks. The designer knows the user is unlikely to ever find that on their own, so they have to give them little hint somewhere. Why not when they click the “Enter Setup Key…” button to manually do this?

The problem is: 99% of users will never find that button in the first place, let alone see this text.

(Bonus Panic UI Tip: people can’t/won’t read more than three (3) lines of static descriptive text.)

The Pitch

Pretty simple.

In my dumble opinion, Apple should:

  • Break Passwords out into a standalone app, with an actual fully resizable window (!!), and full, proper UI for most of its features

  • Make Passwords a toolbar item in Safari for easy access and to be top-of-mind for the user

  • Stick to a basic feature set, but do that well

The idea is not to replace third-party password apps, as I do not wish a Sherlocking on anyone. Those apps should, and currently do, offer more features than Apple ever will, like cross-platform support, team/family password sharing, etc.

The idea is that every Apple user deserves, as a baseline feature in 2023, obvious, clear, powerful, and easy-to-use password management.

I yield my time

PS: there is one place where Apple provides a nice standalone iCloud Passwords management app, with a fully resizable window. On Windows!?! 🫠

PPS: I dream of a future where Passkeys could make the password manager extinct. But it’ll take time…

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