Most people recycle their weak passwords whenever they want to sign up at a new site or even when they have to change phones. Not only that, they end up repeating the same passwords across platforms and services.
The most common practices for a password include name, birthdate, or a combination of both, which sure is a recipe of a disaster waiting to happen. That’s why Investing in a password manager has become essential now. By default, Apple offers iCloud Keychain function, which acts as an all-in-one password manager across the Apple ecosystem.
Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for alternatives. The App Store is filled with a plethora of excellent third-party password managers. On top of that, Apple has added auto sign-in functionality for third-party password managers, which only made them more powerful against Apple’s default solution.
In this post, we are going to compare the default iCloud Keychain to one of the best options available in the market, LastPass.
The iCloud Keychain is a part of iCloud functionality which comes with iOS package and takes about 14GB of space. LastPass consumes around 140MB of storage.
As always, Apple has kept it simple with the default UI. Unlike other built-in apps, iCloud Keychain isn’t available as a separate app. It’s a service buried right into the Settings app.
Head to Settings > Passwords & Accounts > Websites & App Passwords to access the iCloud Keychain data.
From there, you can see the passwords and website/app names categorized alphabetically.
The search bar is at the top with ‘+’ button and edit function. One can jump to any website name with a quick scroll bar on the right.
LastPass is adopting the iOS design guidelines with a bottom tab bar and few options at the top.
By default, it takes you to Vault section which adjusts the passwords on section basis such as Bank, Mail ID, Finance, Booking Sites, Online Storage, Social, etc. It’s neat, but the top Search function is the fastest way to find an item.
You can access various Security options, Settings menu from the bottom bar while the top bar is containing Secure Notes, Form Fill option with the ability to add new items.
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Adding a New Item
As always, adding a new item is easy on both apps. Tap on ‘+’ icon on any app, and you are presented with blanks to fill.
iCloud Keychain only offers Website name, Username, and Password sections to fill up.
LastPass gives custom website fill-up options such as Email, Password, secure note, generate a strong password, auto login, and more.
iCloud Keychain data is stored on iCloud and it comes with standard iCloud security measurements.
LastPass syncs and stores all the data on its dedicated servers. The company suffered a huge setback due to this practice. I wish they would allow consumers to store data on third-party cloud storage as well.
Both the apps offer Face ID protection.
This is one of the important aspects of choosing a password manager. After all, you would want to access all the data on more than one device. And in that regard, LastPass wins by a mile over iCloud Keychain.
LastPass is accessible on every platform you can think of. It’s available on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Web, and supports the majority of browsers as an extension.
As usual, the story with iCloud Keychain rhythms with every other Apple software, meaning it’s only available within Apple’s ecosystem.
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With the introduction of iOS 12, Apple has opened auto-fill functionality for third-party password managers.
By default, it’s switched on for iCloud Keychain, but you can change it in the Settings app. Head to Settings > Password & Accounts > Autofill > and select LastPass from the list.
Now wherever you visit a website or app login page, a small prompt will show up to let you add login details from the chosen password manager. Any new login info will be directly added in the password manager.
The biggest highlight of the iCloud Keychain is the ease of use. You wouldn’t even notice the app adding info in the Keychain and using it whenever needed.
LastPass hits back with advanced features such as security audit which shows weak/repeated passwords, secure notes, password sharing, browser integration, and more.
Here is where things get interesting. The basic functionalities of LastPass remain free. For premium features such as password sharing, priority support, the app costs $42/year.
iCloud Keychain is free to use, but the added data counts against the free 5GB of iCloud storage. You can buy the additional storage at as low as $1/month.
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Do You Need to Switch?
The answer is straightforward here. If you are heavily invested in Apple’s ecosystem and have no intention of jumping ship soon, then iCloud Keychain is the way to go. LastPass strikes back with superior cross-platform functionality and advanced options out of the box.
Next up: Enpass password manager is also an excellent alternative to both iCloud and LastPass. With the v5.0, the app has received a huge update. Read the post below to find out more about it.
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