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iCloud: Frequently asked questions about iCloud Keychain

Learn more about iCloud Keychain.

What is iCloud Keychain?

iCloud Keychain keeps your Safari website usernames and passwords, credit card information, and Wi-Fi network information up to date across all of your approved devices that are using iOS 7.0.3 or later or OS X Mavericks v10.9 or later.

iCloud Keychain can also keep the accounts you use in Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Messages up to date across all of your Macs. If you're signed in to Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, or any other accounts in Internet Accounts on OS X Mavericks, iCloud can push those accounts to your Macs as well.

Learn about iCloud Keychain availability by country.

How does iCloud Keychain protect my information?

iCloud Keychain keeps the passwords and credit card information that you save up to date only on the devices that you approve. When you enable iCloud Keychain on an additional device, your other devices that use iCloud Keychain receive a notification requesting approval for the additional device. After you approve the additional device, your iCloud Keychain automatically begins updating on that device.

iCloud Keychain is protected with industry-standard encryption techniques on all of your devices, both in transit and in the cloud.

How do I set up iCloud Keychain?

After upgrading to iOS 7.0.3 or later, you'll be asked by the iOS setup assistant to set up iCloud Keychain. If you skipped this step and want to set up iCloud Keychain now, follow these steps:

Devices using iOS 7.0.3 or later:

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud and turn Keychain on.
  2. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete setup.

Macs using OS X Mavericks v10.9 or later:

  1. Choose Apple () menu > System Preferences, then click iCloud.
  2. Select Keychain.
  3. Optionally set a password to unlock your screen after sleep or after the screen saver begins.
  4. Enter your Apple ID and password.
  5. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete setup.

What is the iCloud Security Code?

When you set up iCloud Keychain, you're asked to create an iCloud Security Code. It can be a 4-digit code similar to the passcode lock for your device, or you can have a more complex code automatically generated for you. The iCloud Security Code is used to authorize additional devices to use your iCloud Keychain. It's also used to verify your identify so that you can perform other iCloud Keychain actions, such as recovering your iCloud Keychain if you lose all your devices.

How can I set up additional devices to use iCloud Keychain?

Follow the iCloud Keychain setup steps above for each device that you want to add. When you enable iCloud Keychain on an additional device, your other devices that use iCloud Keychain receive a notification requesting approval for the additional device. After you approve the additional device, your iCloud Keychain automatically begins updating on that device.

How do I set up iCloud Keychain on a new device if I don't have one of my other devices to approve from?

If you don't have access to any of your other devices that are using iCloud Keychain, you can still set up iCloud Keychain on another device if you have these items:

  • Your iCloud Security Code
  • The device that is using the SMS-capable phone number you provided when you first set up iCloud Keychain. A verification code is sent via SMS to this phone number. If you don't have access to this number, contact Apple Support, who can verify your identity so that you can complete setup on your new device.

If you have these items, follow the iCloud Keychain setup steps documented above. Your iCloud Keychain will then be pushed from the cloud to the new device.

Can Apple recover my iCloud Security Code?

No. If you enter your iCloud Security Code incorrectly too many times, you won't be able to use that iCloud Keychain. You can contact Apple Support, who can help verify your identity so that you can try again to enter your iCloud Security Code. After a number of incorrect attempts, your iCloud Keychain is removed from Apple's servers and you will need to set up iCloud Keychain again.

Can I set up iCloud Keychain so that my data isn't backed up in the cloud?

Yes. When setting up iCloud Keychain, you can skip the step for creating an iCloud Security Code. Your keychain data is then stored only locally on the device, and updates only across your approved devices.

Important: If you choose to not create an iCloud Security Code, Apple will not be able to recover your iCloud Keychain.

What happens when I turn off iCloud Keychain on a device?

When you turn off iCloud Keychain for a device, you're asked to keep or delete the passwords and credit card information that you saved. If you choose to keep the data, it isn't deleted or updated when you make changes on other devices.

What credit card information is stored in iCloud Keychain?

iCloud Keychain stores credit card numbers and expiration dates. It does not store or autofill your credit card security code.

Are my existing saved passwords, Wi-Fi networks, and Internet accounts included in iCloud Keychain?

Yes. When you turn on iCloud Keychain, any previously-saved website usernames and passwords, Wi-Fi networks, and Internet accounts are automatically included in iCloud Keychain.

How does iCloud Keychain handle websites that do not allow Safari AutoFill?

You can allow Safari to remember and autofill account names and passwords for all websites:

Devices using iOS 7.0.3 or later:

  1. Go to Settings > Safari> Passwords & Autofill.
  2. Turn on Always Allow. To use this feature, you must have a passcode lock on your device.

Macs using OS X Mavericks v10.9 or later:

  1. Go to Safari > Preferences.
  2. Click Passwords.
  3. Select "Allow AutoFill even for websites that request passwords not be saved." To use this feature, you must set a screen lock for your Mac.

Does iCloud Keychain work with third-party apps?

Yes. Developers can update their apps to work with iCloud Keychain. Passwords saved by those apps are then kept up to date on all devices that use the app and running iOS 7.0.3 or later or OS X Mavericks v10.9 or later.

Can I remove my iCloud Keychain from Apple's servers?

Yes. Follow these steps, starting on any one of your iOS devices or Macs that is using iCloud Keychain:

Devices using iOS 7.0.3 or later:
  1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Account > Keychain and turn off “Approve with Security Code”.
  2. Go to each of your other devices that is using iCloud Keychain and turn iCloud Keychain off.
Macs using OS X Mavericks v10.9 or later:
  1. Choose Apple () menu > System Preferences. Click iCloud, then click Account details.
  2. Deselect “Allow approving using security code”.
  3. Go to each of your other devices that is using iCloud Keychain and turn iCloud Keychain off.

After you complete these steps, your keychain data will remain locally on your devices, but changes to your keychain information will not push to your other devices or the cloud unless you turn iCloud Keychain back on. If you want keychain data to push to all of your devices, but not to the cloud, turn on iCloud Keychain on each device as described earlier in this document, but skip the step to create an iCloud Security Code.

Last Modified: Aug 6, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Aug 6, 2014
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