iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 bring improvements to AirDrop, Apple’s proprietary peer-to-peer file transfer feature, which can now be used to wirelessly send any saved passwords or usernames from one iPhone, iPad or Mac to another.
Again, this feature only works between devices that are on iOS 12 and macOS Mojave.
How AirDropping passwords works
A password sent through AirDrop is automatically saved into your Safari passwords as part of the system’s keychain. Aside from passwords (you can also send your saved user names).
To access your saved website and app passwords on your Mac, open the Safari browser, then choose Preferences from the Safari menu and click the Passwords tab.
On iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, saved website passwords can be managed in Settings → Passwords & Accounts → Website & App Passwords. This option may be of particular interest to those who prefer not to have their passwords synchronized across devices or people who would like to share their passwords with their friends and family.
Should you AirDrop your passwords?
If you happen to use a third-party password manager like 1Password or Apple’s iCloud Keychain feature to keep any saved passwords and credit card information up to date on the devices you approve, then you may not need this option at all.
Still, it’s nice to know that it exists should you ever need it.
AirDropping a password is especially handy if you have issues with Universal Clipboard, a feature that lets you copy and paste across devices, but it’s no substitute for it. Whereas Universal Clipboard lets you paste anything into almost any app, an AirDropped password gets automatically saved to the existing Safari items for future use.
Before we get to it, I should point out that anyone concerned about their privacy has nothing to worry about. Of course your precious passwords are not sent in plain text.
Like with photos, documents and any other item which you can send over AirDrop, your password is encrypted as it’s being transmitted over a direct peer-to-peer Wi-Fi connection established on an ad hoc basis between the source and target device.
How to AirDrop a saved password
The AirDrop option for passwords is hidden from plain sight, but here’s how to use it.
iPhone and iPad
To do this on iOS, you must head into Settings.
1) Open the Settings app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 12 or newer.
2) Tap Passwords & Accounts.
3) Tap Website & App Passwords.
4) Tap a saved entry on the list.
5) Tap and hold the User Name or Password field, then choose AirDrop from the bubble menu.
6) Tap a nearby AirDrop device to send the item to.
Your saved user name or password will be sent to the target device. When accepted by the device owner, the entry will be added to their own Safari passwords on the device.
If the entry you just sent over AirDrop already exists on a target device for that user name and app/website, the recipient will be asked if they would like to update it.
On your Mac, perform the following steps:
1) Open the Safari browser on your Mac with macOS Mojave or newer.
2) Click the Safari menu and select the option Preferences.
3) Click the Passwords tab.
4) Unlock your saved passwords by authenticating with Touch ID or type in your administrator password. Now double-click a saved password to access details.
5) Click the button AirDrop to send the selected password to another device.
6) Tap a nearby AirDrop device to send your item to.
Like on iOS, you can also AirDrop a saved user name for a website or app to another device.
Do you use AirDrop at all? If not, why not?
Provided your devices meet the necessary system requirements for Continuity, AirDrop should “just work.” If you encounter any issues with AirDrop, be sure to consult our detailed AirDrop troubleshooter that should have you covered.
So, what are your thoughts on sending passwords via AirDrop in iOS 12 and macOS Mojave?
Be sure to chime in with your thoughts and observations in the comments down below.