Apple Keychain was released, just a short time ago. Like all other things Apple does, Keychain has been the focus of a lot of conversation. With its release, the internet has been buzzing with articles about it.
Apple Keychain is Awesome
Apple Keychain is Awesome, with its ability to sync stored usernames, passwords, credit card information and other stored form data, with all Apple Devices, running iOS 7.0.3 (and later) and Mac OS X 10.9 (13A603 and later), via Apple’s iCloud service.
Apple Keychain is Awesome, with its ability to recommend longer, stronger passwords, for people to use, as they set up new web accounts.
Apple Keychain is Awesome, with its intuitive integration, including prompts (to store form data, update passwords & to use a specific password) and the ability to store login information, even for websites which request it not be stored.
Apple Keychain is Frustrating
Apple is generally so careful to ensure the products and services it creates, can be easily used, in a way that just makes sense. Yet, Apple Keychain doesn’t seem to meet the traditional Apple Usability Requirements, causing some un-needed frustration.
Apple Keychain is Frustrating, when it forces a login, on systems running OS X 10.9, when resuming from sleep or screensaver. The fact that a user has to log in, is actually a good idea, however Apple’s method of implementation, overwrites other, stronger security settings, like not displaying the user’s name or username, at the login prompt. So, when I turn my MacBook Pro on and log in, I’m presented with a prompt to type in my username and password. When my MacBook Pro resumes from sleep or a screensaver, I’m presented with a prompt for my password, with my username fully displayed. These login sequences should be the same, erring on the side of more security, not less. If I don’t want my username displayed on the initial/start-up login prompt, why would it be displayed on the sleep/screensaver login prompt.
* Image(s) Removed Indefinitely
Apple Keychain is Frustrating, when it doesn’t allow you to simply regenerate a password, from the recommended password prompt, nor does it allow you to configure special considerations in the password. For instance, some websites, don’t allow symbols to be used, when creating a password. Other websites allow symbols in the password, but restrict which symbols can be used. I know I can click off the password field, then click back on it and Apple Keychain will recommend a new password. However, no amount of repeating that process will generate a password without dashes, nor will it allow you to add other symbols like the dollar sign, asterisk, exclamation point or others.
Apple Keychain is Frustrating, when it doesn’t allow access to the stored information, within iOS Apps. This should have been one of the first considerations in how the Apple Keychain would work. Think about the number of iOS Apps, requiring the username/password, which you used, to set up your web-based account. Granted, many times, you only have to input the username/password once, for access to an iOS app. However, thanks to the new, stronger passwords, Apple Keychain suggested for you, remembering them is next to impossible. Some iOS Apps, don’t even store the username/password – forcing you to log in each time you use it. Other iOS Apps, remember the username/password, for a period of time, then force you to provide the password again, after a period of time.
* Image(s) Removed Indefinitely
This issue alone, wastes countless hours, especially when setting up a new iOS device. I just got a new Apple iPhone 5s, and it took me all day, to set up the apps I use, on a regular basis, simply due to this issue. I’ll never do that again, even if it means no more iOS devices. That is a whole day, I’ll never get back. If Keychain had the ability to work with the iOS Apps, or if I wouldn’t have used the longer, stronger Keychain passwords, I could have been done in a couple hours.
Apple Keychain should save me time, not waste my time.
In the end, I remain an Apple fan. I think Tim Cook and his team of developers are doing a fantastic job. I’m also of the belief, everyone makes mistakes – even me, yes, even Apple. The Apple Keychain, has frustrating issues (mistakes), yet it also provides an awesome feature-set.
At one time or another, I’ve tried Password1 and LastPass. When the rumors of an Apple Password & Form Data Manager surfaced, I stopped using Password1/LastPass and began my wait for Keychain. While I’m disappointed with the frustrating Apple Keychain issues, its OS X and iOS integration alone, makes it better than both Password1 and LastPass. I will keep using it, until it’s frustrations force me away.