How to Import and Export Passwords From ICloud Keychain to Other Password Managers

ICloud Keychain has always been something of an island: a hidden, secure nirvana while you stayed in Apple’s strict ecosystem. To access and add passwords, you had to use Safari and there was no reliable way to export passwords. But gradually iCloud Keychain (or iCloud Passwords) is becoming a less walled garden.

For example, you can now use iCloud passwords on Windows computer , including third party browsers. And in macOS Monterey, Apple has added a simple, versatile CSV (Plain Text, Unencrypted) import and export feature that’s widely supported by other password managers such as Bitwarden, LastPass, and 1Passwords. This change means it’s now easier to sign in and out of iCloud Keychain, depending on your needs. This is how it works.

How to import passwords to iCloud Keychain

You can import an existing database of usernames and passwords if you have it in a CSV file. This is the standard format in which data is stored in a plaintext unencrypted database, and this is what you get when you export passwords from browsers (like Chrome) or password managers (like LastPass).

To get started, go to System Preferences > Passwords (Apple moved the Passwords section to System Preferences with the macOS Monterey update ) and log in to see a list of all your usernames and passwords. Click the three-dot Menu button on the bottom toolbar and select the Import Passwords option.

Select the CSV file and click the Import button.

You will be prompted to authenticate with your password or Touch ID. Once you’ve done that, the passwords are imported into your iCloud Keychain. After the process completes, Apple will helpfully ask you if you want to delete the original CSV file.

We recommend that you select the ” Delete ” option, as this will remove the file from your local storage as well as from the recycle bin. If you don’t delete the file, anyone who gets it will know all of your usernames and passwords (you should also use two-factor authentication for all your important accounts). It will be impossible to restore this file.

How to export passwords from iCloud Keychain

Looking to move from iCloud Keychain to a more specialized password manager? It’s finally easy to do it. Go to System Preferences > Passwords and log in with your admin password or Touch ID. Then click on the three-dotted menu button in the bottom panel and select the “Export Passwords” option .

In the pop-up window, click Export Passwords .

Select a location and click the ” Save ” button.

Log in using your admin password or Touch ID. All your passwords will now be exported to this location. As we mentioned above, don’t forget to delete the CSV file after importing the data in your chosen password manager.

Where do you go with your passwords now?

Armed with a CSV file filled with all of your usernames and passwords, you can go anywhere. You can try any password manager or browser with all your personal details.

But now there are many options. Should you pay for 1Password ? Is LastPass still worth it? We only found one real contender for iCloud passwords in our testing, and that is Bitwarden , as their free plan is more than enough for most users. It uses modern encryption and its underlying application is open source so anyone can check its security measures. Plus, it has robust app and browser extensions and is available almost everywhere. You can import this CSV file into Bitwarden with one click, so give it a try if the manager is right for you.


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