With the release of MacOS Big Sur Apple now provides a fully integrated way to fill in your passwords on different sites and App, all inside that App or site. There’s no need to switch to your Password Manager and Copy/Paste. Strongbox (as of 1.14.0) now integrates with Apple’s Password AutoFill subsystem to offer suggestions and fill in passwords. This follows on from the iOS integration which has been available for a few years now and has proven very convenient. Finally it has come to Mac.

NB: Mac AutoFill support is only available with Strongbox Pro. You can try this out for free for 90 days with no obligation to buy. We hope you’ll love it.

Note that this AutoFill system on works on Apple’s latest OS (MacOS Big Sur) and only with Apps and Browsers that have upgraded to support the Password AutoFill system. So far, as of post time, the only major browser that supports AutoFill is Safari. We believe this will change over the coming months and we should see ubiquitous Password AutoFill support in most browsers and Apps in short order.

Setup

Setup should be straightforward. In Strongbox there is an Onboarding Wizard that should help guide you through initial configuration. But you can always checkout your Strongbox AutoFill settings by unlocking your database and clicking on the menu item:

Database ‣ AutoFill Settings

You will then be presented with the following screen:

As you can see the first checkbox will hint that you should enable the Strongbox AutoFill component in the System Extensions preference pane. It can be found on your Mac here:

System Preferences ‣ Extensions ‣ Password AutoFill ‣ Strongbox

Once the Strongbox AutoFill extension is enabled on your system the other options will become available in Strongbox’s AutoFill Settings screen. You can enable or disable Strongbox AutoFill individually for each of your databases.

Safari Settings

With Safari being the primary browser for a lot of Mac users, you will also need to make sure Safari is AutoFill enabled. You can find this setting under

Safari Preferences ‣ AutoFill ‣ Usernames and Passwords

Make sure this is enabled. You can read a little more about those settings here.

QuickType AutoFill

One of the most convenient aspects of AutoFill is QuickType. This is where suggestions for credentials are presented to you inline in your browser or App and you can immediately select the appropriate one.

QuickType in Action

You can opt-in or out of this behaviour by checking the ‘Enable QuickType AutoFill’ checkbox on the AutoFill Settings screen.

One More Thing – The Wormhole

Unlocking your database can be a cumbersome process, Strongbox is designed for protection against brute force attacks and therefore requires some heavy processing before it can open your database. Further if you’re not using Touch ID or Apple Watch Unlock entering your master password takes time and is error prone. Strongbox AutoFill has the capability of unlocking your database independently but if it detects that you already have your database unlocked in the background it can establish a secure tunnel or “Wormhole” to request your credentials without requiring authentication or going through the whole unlock and decrypt process.

NB: that you must tap on a QuickType suggested credential for this to work. It doesn’t work if you just select ‘Strongbox’ from the little key dropdown. This is because the AutoFill component can only request a specific credential from a specific database via the wormhole.

This is an optional performance enhancement feature, and again you can opt in to it by checking ‘Use Wormhole Fill if Unlocked’ option on the AutoFill Settings screen.

We really hope you’ll find this new feature super convenient and as other third parties start supporting Password AutoFill we should see some really great results and a smooth painless password filling process for Mac at last!

Update 27 December 2020: It looks like Firefox are aware of this issue but could perhaps use some encouragement in integrating into their browser! See here:

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1650212

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