When Apple announced iOS 17 during the WWDC 2023 opening keynote on June 5 there was a lot to digest. And that was before we even got to all of the other software and hardware that was announced. And that means that there are some new features that might not have had the attention that they deserve.
One of those new features promises to fix a pain point that many iCloud Keychain users have had to deal with for years — they had no way to securely share a username and password combination with someone else. For that reason, third-party password managers were often the way to go.
That will all change when iOS 17 ships later this year, however, with the update adding proper support for sharing credentials with members of a group like your friends or family.
The new feature was buried in Apple's iOS 17 press release and could be a game-changer for people who can't or don't want to pay for a third-party password manager like 1Password or LastPass.
"For easier and more secure password and passkeys sharing, users can share passwords with a group of trusted contacts," Apple explains. "Everyone in the group can add and edit passwords to keep them up to date. Since sharing is through iCloud Keychain, it’s end-to-end encrypted."
That alone could be a big improvement for people who want to be able to have access to passwords for the whole family, for example. And while the lack of a real iCloud Keychain app is still a situation Apple should resolve, the functionality of the feature continues to improve.
Apple believes that the best iPhone is a secure one, and making it easier for people to keep their credentials under lock and key is part of that. We're for anything that prevents people from sending their passwords over iMessage, and hopefully this new password-sharing feature will go some way to doing just that.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.