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 10.9 or later.

iCloud Keychain can also keep the accounts you use in Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Messages up to date across all of your Mac computers. And when you sign in to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and your other Internet accounts, iCloud automatically adds your usernames and passwords to all of your devices.

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 turn on 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.

If you use two-factor authentication, your device is trusted when you sign in. You won’t need to approve your device separately to turn on iCloud Keychain.

How do I set up iCloud Keychain?

After you update your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to the latest iOS, the setup assistant will ask you to set up iCloud Keychain. If you skipped this step and want to set up iCloud Keychain now, follow these steps:

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 7.0.3 and later:

  1. Tap Settings > iCloud.
  2. Turn Keychain on.
  3. Follow the onscreen instructions.

On your Mac with OS X Mavericks 10.9 and later:

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

Set up iCloud Keychain for each device that you want to add. When you turn on 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. With two-factor authentication, you can turn on iCloud Keychain without approval from another device.

What is the iCloud Security Code?

When you set up iCloud Keychain, you can create an iCloud Security Code. It can be a six-digit code, a complex alphanumeric code, or we can generate a random code for you. The iCloud Security Code is used to authorize additional devices to use your iCloud Keychain. It's also used to verify your identity so that you can perform other iCloud Keychain actions, such as recovering your iCloud Keychain if you lose all your devices.

How do I set up iCloud Keychain on a new device without another device to approve from?

If you can't access 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 can't access this number, contact Apple Support, who can verify your identity, so that you can complete setup on your new device.

After you complete the setup, your iCloud Keychain will be pushed from the cloud to the new device.

If you use two-factor authentication with your Apple ID, enter your password and the six-digit verification code that's automatically displayed on your trusted devices and authorize the new device. Then turn on iCloud Keychain.

Can Apple recover my iCloud Security Code?

No. If you enter your iCloud Security Code incorrectly too many times, you can't use that iCloud Keychain. You can contact Apple Support, who can help verify your identity so that you can try to enter your iCloud Security Code again. After a number of incorrect attempts, your iCloud Keychain is removed from Apple's servers, and you'll 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 you set up iCloud Keychain, you can skip the step to create an iCloud Security Code. Your keychain data is then stored locally on the device, and updates across only your approved devices.

If you don't create an iCloud Security Code, Apple can't help you 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 doesn't 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.

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 kept up to date on all devices that use the app and are using iOS 7.0.3 and later or OS X Mavericks 10.9 and later.

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

Yes. Use these steps on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac using iCloud Keychain:

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 7.0.3 and later:

  1. Tap Settings > iCloud > Keychain > Advanced. In iOS 7, tap Settings > iCloud > Account > Keychain.
  2. Turn off Approve with Security Code.
  3. Go to each of your devices that are using iCloud Keychain and turn iCloud Keychain off.

On your Mac with OS X Mavericks 10.9 and 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 devices that are using iCloud Keychain and turn off iCloud Keychain.

After you complete these steps, your keychain data will remain locally on your devices, but changes to your keychain information won't 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, but skip the step to create an iCloud Security Code.

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