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How to Import Your Passwords to Apple’s iCloud Keychain via Safari

If you’re switching from LastPass (or any other password manager you’re not happy with), you may be tempted to just go for the password manager that comes with your browser or operating system. It is certainly an easy and reasonable solution depending on your point of view. Until recently, third-party password managers were known to be more secure, but Apple and Google have been working to make their built-in password managers more secure, while Microsoft is adding one to its authenticator app. So it could be a viable choice.

However, one way these built-in password managers cannot withstand their independent competitors is how difficult it can be to get pre-existing passwords into their systems.

If you tend to hang out with the Apple ecosystem, that means using Safari for your passwords and passing them on to your other devices using Apple̵

7;s iCloud Keychain. Here’s how to move your password information to iCloud Keychain.

Make sure you have a key ring

With iCloud Keychain, Apple syncs your information across devices – not just passwords, but also credit card information, Wi-Fi passwords, etc. If you haven’t used it, you may want to make sure it’s set up and enabled. On. (If you plan on using your passwords on your iOS mobile device too, you may want to check them there too.)

With a macOS device:

  • Go to your System Preferences app by clicking the Apple icon in the top left corner
  • If you have macOS Mojave or earlier, click iCloud. Otherwise, select Apple ID> iCloud.
  • Scroll down the apps list and make sure Keychain is checked

Make sure you have iCloud Keychain.

Make sure you have iCloud Keychain.

With an iOS device:

  • Go to Settings and tap your name
  • Tap iCloud and scroll down to Keychain
  • If Keychain is off, tap the item and then turn it on

Import your password information

To get your data into Keychain, you need to import it into Safari on your Mac. Simple right? Well not really.

Unfortunately, unlike most password managers, you cannot import passwords from a CSV file into Safari. However, you can import passwords from Firefox or Chrome. So if you have a CSV file from another password manager and you don’t have any of these browsers on your computer, you will need to install one first and upload your passwords into it. (Instructions for importing passwords into Chrome can be found here and Firefox here.)

Once your passwords have been imported into one of the other browsers:

  • Close the other browser
  • Open Safari, go to File> Import from and choose Chrome or Firefox. You can import bookmarks, history, passwords or any combination thereof by checking the appropriate boxes.

One note: I had a number of accidents when trying to import from Firefox into Safari. Safari would invariably crash even after I made a series of tweaks to Firefox. I finally gave up and tried with Chrome, and the import worked right away. Your mileage may vary.

You can check if the import worked by going to the main Safari menu and selecting Safari> Preferences> Passwords. (You must enter your user password to access the password list.) You should see your passwords there.

After you import your passwords into Safari, they should be automatically retrieved by iCloud Keychain and used on all your approved devices. You can check this by typing and clicking “Keychain Access” with Spotlight Search. That should bring up your Keychain app; you can click on iCloud in the top left column and “Passwords” on the bottom left to see your imported passwords.

You should find your passwords in Keychain Access (for obvious reasons some data is grayed out).

You should find your passwords in Keychain Access. (For obvious reasons, some data is grayed out.)

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