We highly recommend using a password manager. Any password manager. Whether you choose a third-party solution or Apple’s own iCloud Keychain, it’s one of the best things you can do for your cybersecurity and privacy. But what about switching between password managers? What if you wanted to download your iCloud passwords into a .CSV file?
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Most password managers have some type of export system that makes it easy to switch between platforms. Apple’s, on the other hand, doesn’t. But there is something you can do to get those login credentials off of your keychain. Here’s what you need to know.
Apple’s iCloud Keychain is a great password manager that comes baked into the company’s various operating system. It lets you store and create strong and unique passwords, supports auto-fill, and has built-in auditing tools in more recent versions of iOS and macOS.
Despite that, there are still a number of issues with the platform. The most notable problem is the fact that iCloud Keychain doesn’t exactly play nice with other platforms, like Google Chrome or Microsoft Windows.
If you use more than Apple products in your work or day-to-day life, it may a good idea to switch to a more universal password manager like LastPass, 1Password or Dashlane. Unfortunately, if your iCloud Keychain is already filled with your login credentials, you’ll have to export them to your password manager of choice.
This is the other problem with iCloud Keychain. Currently, there is no easy way to export data from the keychain in a format that’s readable by other password managers. Sure, there’s a “export” button in the app, but it doesn’t currently export credentials in a format that’s actually readable by other apps. You can only export keys to import onto other Apple products.
There is a way around this, but it’s tedious: you’ll have to manually copy and paste each individual password and username. Or, alternatively, you can simply opt for a third-party solution.
An easy export option
While there isn’t an easy native way to get login credentials from the iCloud Keychain, there are some third-party scripts available online.
One of these scripts is called MrC’s Convert to 1Password Utility. And based on our testing and user reports, it’s one of the easiest and most reliable ways to export Keychain data en masse.
While it was initially designed to export data for importing into 1Password, you can create generic .csv files with the utility. That means you can import them into basically any password manager that supports generic csv — including LastPass and Dashlane.
You can find the MrC converter script on the Agilebits forum. There’s a dropbox link to download the script and associated files.
The download also contains an incredibly thorough step-by-step guide to exporting your password data. Because of that, we’ll refrain from running over the same ground and refer you to that document for the details.
Keep in mind that the process, while easier than exporting login credentials individually, is a bit involved. It also requires use of the macOS Terminal, so you should be comfortable using it before trying out the script.
But it does work. Users report that the CSV files the script generates are imported effortlessly into 1Password. In our own testing, we were able to import the CSV file into LastPass.
A note on security
We cannot guarantee the privacy or security of third-party scripts or their usage.
When you opt for a third-party solution, there’s always the risk that an app or script could inadvertantly expose your data. Whether the solution outputs your sensitive passwords in plaintext or it actually swipes them, there’s always some inherent risk.
That’s likely why password managers recommend that you manually input passwords into their databases. Essentially, don’t import anything. Just log into all of your accounts and let the password managers save your credentials.
With that being said, MrC’s script is actually recommended by 1Password itself. That’s despite that its creator is not affiliated with the company. For most users, that probably means your login credentials will be safe. For users with more particular data security needs, you may want to opt for the more-tedious-but-more-secure option.
We hope that you found this information helpful! Please let us know in the comments below if you have any questions.
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.