OS X 10.12.3, iOS 15.4, watchOS 3.2 and tvOS 10.2 are the latest updates to OS X, iOS, watchOS and tvOS respectively released by Apple in the past couple of months. They introduce some minor new features that you might not have noticed in the release notes or press releases from Apple when they were launched by the company earlier this year.
What are Notes?
Notes is a new tab at the top of the password window on macOS, and it replaces the Details section on iOS devices. It’s a field that can be used to provide extra information about a password – even including a drawing if you have an idea of what you need or something you’d like to see – making it easier for you when trying to log into an account on another device. As we said, Notes replace the Details section from previous versions of iOS which allowed for names and addresses too, as well as uploading files with usernames and passwords for authentication. This feature has been removed with Notes due to security concerns, but feel free to use notes for anything else you might find helpful!
Why not just use Keychain?
Keychain, while a time-saving application, is not always secure because it typically shares its password with other applications on your Mac. However, when you add a note to your iCloud password in the latest versions of MacOS or iOS, the note will only be visible inside this one specific app and not any others you may use for browsing or word processing.
Adding Notes from the iPhone
In order to add a note for your password, you’ll need to enter the App Store and update Safari by tapping Updates (only available on iPhone). Once updated, go back into Settings > Safari > Advanced > Website Data. To start adding a note for your website, tap + sign next to the specific username or password.
Opening Notes on the Mac
For Mac users, the easiest way to add a note is by typing it directly into the password field when editing the login entry. After tapping on Done, you’ll be able to see your note next to that password. Note that once you change your iCloud password, the note will disappear as well until you add another one.
Important Security Considerations
According to the Apple Support team, iCloud only syncs items over WiFi – but that may not be a problem for most people who want to use the new update because they will be able to access all of their devices at the same time when on WiFi. However, if you are using the Mac App Store version of iCloud Drive (with OS X 10.8 or earlier), this will not work because you won’t have an internet connection while you’re offline.
Change iCloud password security questions
As a best practice, we recommend changing your security questions on a regular basis (every 6 months) as well as adding additional verification questions that are unique from your usual questions. So instead of What is your mother’s maiden name?, you could use Who was the last person to give you flowers? Adding another question like this provides better protection against accounts being accessed by those who know more about you than someone who just hacked into your cloud storage.
Automatic Password Changes – 1Password Version Only
You can also now add a comment on the password itself by typing or pasting a note after you have entered the password and hit return. This is also visible when you hover over the lock icon next to the password field. The popup window will show any pre-existing comments, as well as any new ones that you have added via this method, with the newest at the top of your list. You can then tap on a comment’s title text to jump right into that specific line in your vault’s contents!