For me, one of the best and most useful utilities of Mac OS X is Keychain Access, which allows you to store all you system passwords, including those from websites you visit as well as most from native applications (as long as developers have enabled the feature). Naturally, the most convenient aspect of this utility is that it allows you to locate and view all your passwords in a simple way, which can sometimes be a lifesaver, especially if you forget an important password that you haven’t used in ages.
For example, let’s say you forget the password for a website you visit often but that one day it asks you for it despite you having specified for your login information to be remembered by it (which can be caused by its cookies expiring for example).
To get your password back, just open Keychain Access, click on Passwords at the left panel and then double click on the website (or application) you want the password for.
Note: If you have a lot of passwords stored, using the search field at the top right of the window can definitely help.
Once you do, on the new window that pops up click on the checkbox beside Show password: and then enter you system password when prompted.
However, besides the obvious advantages of this feature, the Keychain Access utility also sports a few additional (and quite convenient) ones you might not know about.
Let’s take a couple of them.
Create Secure Notes
Creating notes in the Keychain Access utility is a great way to store important information, like for example passwords or pass codes that you don’t use on you Mac. You want to keep your credit card number at hand? Or your card pin number? This is the best way to do it, since Secure Notes in Keychain Access are both encrypted and safeguarded by the same system password that other elements in this Mac utility are.
To create a note in Keychain Access, just click on Secure Notes on the left panel and then click on the “+” button at the bottom of the window. On the drop-down panel that shows up, write your note, add a title to it and then click the Add button.
Furthermore, double-clicking on a note once created allows you to tweak some of its attributes, including the password required to open it.
Create Secure Passwords
Somewhat hidden inside the Keychain Access utility, is the ability to create secure, powerful passwords for anything you might need them.
To create one, with Keychain Access open, click on File on the menu bar and then choose New Password Item…
On the Password section of the drop-down panel that follows, click on the Key icon. This will bring up a Password Assistant window that will suggest strong passwords to you depending on the Type and Length you specify. Personally, I have used a couple of these and they are really strong and secure.
There you go. Quite great to have a small, but powerful utility with so many useful features already installed by default on your Mac, right? Make sure to use them and enjoy a more secure workflow.