How to add notes to passwords on the iPhone in Keychain

Store secure and private information in password notes in iOS

Apple continues to improve Keychain, its built-in password manager for iOS and macOS devices and now you can write notes and store them with passwords. Here’s how to add notes on the iPhone.

Security has become a major problem these days and so many websites and apps require you to log in that remembering all your login and account details is impossible. Not only are usernames and passwords required, there may be special questions and answers for extra security, PIN codes, account recovery settings and more.

A password manager app or service is essential these days and they store everything so you do not have to remember it all. Keychain is Apple’s solution and it is built into iPhones, iPads and Apple Macs.

Keychain is not the best password manager that is available, but it is OK for some people. If you never use any devices outside of the Apple ecosystem, it works OK. At least for remembering passwords.

In the latest versions of iOS and macOS, Keychain has been given the ability to store notes with passwords. Now you can store those special questions and answers, PIN codes and additional information.

Let’s see how to add notes to stored passwords on the iPhone.

1 Go to iPhone Settings

The Settings screen on the iPhone
iOS Settings

Open the Settings app on the iPhone, swipe up until you see Passwords and then press it. This part of Settings is locked for obvious reasons, but it should automatically unlock using Face ID.

2 Find the password account

Websites with stored passwordas on the iPhone
Websites with passwords in iOS Settings

A long list of websites is displayed, in fact, every site you have ever logged into on the iPhone, iPad and Mac. Browse the list of sites and find one that you want to store additional information in. Press a site to open the details screen.

3 Password details screen

iPhone password details in iOS Settings
The password details screen in iPhone settings

The account details are shown, like the username and password, and when anything here was last modified. In the ACCOUNT OPTIONS section is an Add Notes link. Press it and let’s add some extra information to this password.

4 Enter notes for a password

Add notes to passwords on the iPhone
Adding notes to a password on the iPhone

A NOTES section appears in the details screen and tapping in it brings up the keyboard and you can enter notes.

If you press the smiley face in the bottom left corner of the keyboard, you can even enter emoji into the note as well. I am not sure why you would need them, but you never know, some people might find it useful or fun.

Press Done in the top right corner of the screen when you have finished entering notes.

5 View password notes on the iPhone

iPhone password notes in the settings app
Notes stored with a password on the iPhone

The password details screen is different and you can now see a NOTES section, which is separate from the ACCOUNT OPTIONS section. There is no blue Add Notes link anymore.

If you want to add more notes or update the existing notes, press Edit in the top right corner of the screen.

6 Sync password notes using iCloud

Apple says: “Just like your passwords, these notes are end‑to‑end encrypted and synced across your devices using iCloud Keychain.

Right now, this is not working, and notes created on the iPhone stay on the iPhone. They do not sync to the Mac. Change anything else, like the username or password and it instantly syncs, but notes are not synced. If you want to see usernames and passwords on the Mac, run Keychain Access in the Utilities folder.

I expect this situation to change and maybe another iOS and macOS update will fix it. In theory, you should be able to add notes on one device, like an iPhone and see them on the Mac, and vice versa. That will be a very useful feature when it is sorted out.

To make sure password information on the iPhone is synced with your other devices, open Settings and tap your Apple account at the top. Press iCloud on the next screen and make sure that Keychain is on. This means it is syncing through iCloud.

iCloud sync settings on the iPhone
Sync settings for iCloud on the iPhone

Then go to Settings > Mail > Accounts > Fetch New Data and make sure that Push is turned on and also that iCloud is set to Push too.

iCloud push settings for syncing on the iPhone
Sync settings for accounts on the iPhone

This setting means that as soon as anything changes in Keychain, the changes are pushed to your other devices. It makes syncing fast and automatic. Hopefully, notes syncing will be included soon.

Interesting finds in iOS passwords

I came across an interesting feature while taking screenshots for this article and I was expecting to have to blur my passwords. However, I discovered that passwords are automatically hidden in screenshots. That is nice.

Another interesting thing is that I found passwords for sites and services I had never used. When others in my family had borrowed my iPhone or iPad and logged into places, the details were stored in Passwords. I have everyone’s passwords! I only lend devices to family, but it is something to watch out for if you borrow other people’s devices.

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