If you move from LastPass (or another password manager you are unhappy with), you may be tempted to only go with password manager that comes with your browser or operating system. It is certainly a simple solution, and an affordable solution, depending on your point of view. Until recently, third-party password processors 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 the authentication app. So it can be a viable choice.
One way, however, that these built-in password managers do not stand up to their independent competitors is how difficult it can be to get existing passwords to their systems.
If you tend to get stuck in the Apple ecosystem, that means using Safari for your passwords and sending them to your other devices using Apple̵
Make sure you have a keychain
iCloud Keychain is how 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 check that it is set up and turned on. (If you plan to use your passwords on your mobile iOS device as well, you may want to check it there as well.)
Using a macOS device:
- Go to your System Preferences app by clicking the Apple icon at the top left
- If you have macOS Mojave or earlier, click on iCloud. Otherwise, choose Apple ID> iCloud.
- Go down the list of apps and make sure the keychain is checked
Using an iOS device:
- Go to Settings and tap your name
- Tap iCloud and scroll down to keychain
- If the keychain is off, tap the entry and then turn it on
Import your password data
To get your data keychained, you need to import it into Safari on your Mac. Simple, right? Well, not really.
Unfortunately, unlike most password administrators, you cannot import passwords from a CSV file into Safari. However, you can import passwords from either Firefox or Chrome. So if you have a CSV file from another password manager and you do not have any of these browsers on your computer, you must first install one of them and upload your passwords in it. (Instructions for importing passwords for Chrome 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 select Chrome or Firefox. You can import bookmarks, history, passwords, or any combination of them by checking the appropriate boxes.
One note: I had a series of mishaps trying to import from Firefox to Safari. Safari would always crash, even after I made a series of customizations to Firefox. Finally I gave up and tried it with Chrome, and the import worked immediately. Your mileage may vary.
You can check if the import worked by going to Safari’s top menu and choosing Safari> Settings> Password. (You must enter your user password to access the password list.) You should see your passwords listed there.
Once you have imported your Safari passwords, they will be automatically retrieved by the iCloud keychain and can be used on all authorized devices. You can check by typing and clicking on “Keychain Access” using Spotlight Search. It should bring up your keychain app; You can click on iCloud in the top left column and “Password” at the bottom left to see your imported passwords.