Apple's macOS Sequoia finally makes importing passwords into iCloud Keychain less of a pain with its new Passwords app

iCloud Keychain on iPad
(Image credit: Adam Oram / iMore)

When Apple announced macOS Sequoia at WWDC on June 10 there was a lot to take in, and that was even before the company took the wraps off Apple Intelligence. Some of the new features are bigger than others, but one new change that I think might have an outsized impact on the way people use their Apple devices from this fall is the arrival of a popular password manager.

Sure, iCloud Keychain is nothing new and it's been a solid option for people who want to sync passwords, passkeys, and notes between devices for years. But it's always felt like something of an afterthought for Apple with the company hiding it deep inside the Settings app on iPhone and iPad and the System Settings app on the Mac. Some people, including yours truly, resorted to using a shortcut to more quickly access the potion of settings that houses passwords. But no more.

An actual, bona fide Passwords app is coming to the Mac as well as the iPhone and iPad via iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 respectively. But just having an app that you can tap on your Home Screen or in the Dock is just one part of the improvement here. The other, we've found, is a much-improved method for importing passwords from other services and apps like 1Password and LastPass.

Import all the passwords

Switching password managers isn't something that most people do lightly — I made the move from 1Password to iCloud Keychain myself not that long ago. Doing so involved exporting all of my passwords from the former via the ubiquitous and surprisingly powerful CSV file before importing it into the latter. But actually doing that is something I am willing to bet a whole lot of people don't even realize is an option.

See, importing passwords into iCloud Keychain on macOS Sonoma involves knowing you can actually do it in the first place. Apple — in typical System Settings fashion — does a great job of hiding the fact it can be done, but if you know which nondescript button to press, it's pretty easy once you get going.

With macOS Sequoia, the whole endeavor is made easier by the fact you have an actual app to use, and from there you just click a couple of buttons and you're off to the races. It isn't magic, by any stretch of the imagination, but it's more discoverable and that's key. Apple's Passwords app will ask you if you want to import saved passwords from another password manager the first time you open it. The macOS Sonoma System Settings situation is terrible, and it isn't much better in macOS Sequoia from what I've seen, either. But that's all the more reason to be glad that Apple has come to its senses and finally broken iCloud Keychain out into its own app.

Now, if only the Passwords app didn't look almost identical to Reminders. Is it too much to ask for a unique design?

Maybe that's coming in beta 2.

The macOS Sequoia beta is currently in the hands of developers and a public beta will arrive next month. From there, more beta updates are expected before the software is released to the public this fall, likely in or around September.

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Oliver Haslam

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.