It’s been about two weeks since the public release date of iOS 7, and while Apple users are getting used to the redesigned operating system for iPhone and iPad -- some, not so much -- many who have been experimenting with the new features may be wondering what happened to one particular feature unveiled in June, called iCloud Keychain.
For the release of iOS 7, Apple created the iCloud Keychain as a built-in feature for its Safari browser, which can remember site logins, passwords, and even credit card information across all iOS devices. The iCloud Keychain is designed to help users who have many different passwords for many different websites, and the feature was designed to even auto-suggest passwords for new websites to improve one’s own online security.
Unfortunately, those paying close attention to the release of iOS 7 noticed Apple had removed the iCloud Keychain feature in the iOS 7 gold master, which was the final build of iOS 7 shipped out to developers before its public release date.
But while iCloud Keychain wasn’t included in the release of iOS 7, that doesn’t mean Apple plans to never release the feature. In fact, iCloud Keychain is still featured on Apple’s iOS 7 webpage, which is now listed as “coming soon.”
iCloud Keychain: When Will It Release?
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Considering how Apple also introduced iCloud Keychain as a new Mac feature in OS X Mavericks, as well as an iOS 7 feature, we believe Apple plans to release iCloud Keychain alongside Mac OS X Mavericks, which will reportedly be reintroduced at an alleged October event shortly before its release date. That same Apple event is also said to introduce a new family of iPads and some newly updated Mac laptops and desktops.
Whenever Apple introduces new Macs, the computers tend to be sold a few days after the event; last year, new iMacs introduced on Tuesday were released that Friday. We know Apple is a creature of habit, which is why we believe Apple will follow the same release pattern as last year when it comes to launching its new computers and new desktop operating system, OS X Mavericks.
In other words, if Apple holds its October event on Tuesday, Oct. 22, we believe Apple will release its new Macs running OS X Mavericks, as well as the over-the-air update to OS X Mavericks, on Friday, Oct. 25. If iCloud Keychain is ready for the release of OS X Mavericks, Apple will likely release iCloud Keychain as part of an iOS 7 update that same day.
It’s possible iPhone 5s users could benefit more from the release of iCloud Keychain, since the phone’s embedded fingerprint sensor also lets users bypass security-related protocols like passcodes and entering one’s Apple ID to purchase movies, music and apps. However, we believe Apple would only add that functionality at a later time, once it sees iCloud Keychain have a smooth and stable release across iOS and OS X, which isn't as easy as it sounds.
More About iOS 7
Introduced at the 2013 Worldwide Developers Conference in June, iOS 7 is the first redesign of the company’s mobile operating system since the introduction of the original iPhone in 2007. Apple completely revamped the classic icons, colors, and textures of iOS to make it feel simpler yet more sophisticated. The interface acts like a series of layers, which provides context in a way that makes navigation feel even more intuitive than before.
But iOS 7 isn’t just a cosmetic release: Apple added dozens of important features and tools to make the new iOS more productive. Most notable among the new iOS 7 features are the helpful Control Center that provides quick access to important settings; the built-in parallax that shifts the background image in response to one’s movements; a new way to multitask apps; the AirDrop feature for sharing photos or documents with other iPhone users in the area; and many others. The release of iCloud Keychain will help users keep better track of their passwords, as well as create new ones, across all mobile devices.
For more on iOS 7, check out our visual guide on iOS 7 to learn more about the new design, some surprise features we discovered in the very first iOS 7 beta and our collection of 80-plus screenshots of iOS 7.
More About OS X Mavericks
The release of iCloud Keychain will certainly make the lives of iOS 7 users and OS X Mavericks users significantly easier, but OS X Mavericks also introduces plenty of new features to the Mac experience, including the new Tabbed Finder and Tags system for keeping files orderly, and the ability to run full-screen apps on multiple displays.
Mac OS X users are used to looking at their files in separate windows, but Apple has merged these windows into orderly tabs in the release of OS X Mavericks, with each tab fitted with its own custom view setting. With Tags in OS X Mavericks, users can save their documents with as many tags as they want, either previously listed or created on the fly, which makes it exceedingly easy to search through one’s files later. And with full-screen apps optimized for multiple displays in OS X Mavericks, users can utilize Spaces to swipe back and forth between various applications, and even drag assets across the apps. Apple TV owners can also use that display as yet another screen to do work.
In its OS X Mavericks release, Apple also makes Safari a much faster and more effective browser for Mac users. Browsing through bookmarks, favorite sites and even links shared by others via social networks is extremely easy, and it’s all organized directly on the home page. And, of course, OS X Mavericks will release with iCloud Keychain so you’ll never have to blame your faulty memory for having the same password for every site, or never being able to remember your various passwords.
Mac OS X Mavericks also introduces much-improved battery life for OS X power users, thanks to features like Compressed Memory, which rapidly compresses inactive memory used by the computer to give free space to any application in use; Timer Coalescing, which reduces the level of CPU interruptions and transitions by up to 72 percent from OS X Mountain Lion; and App Nap, which puts unused apps to “sleep” automatically.
Apple also brought over more iOS features to the Mac in OS X Mavericks, including the new Maps and iBooks applications finally optimized for the Mac; the refurbished Notifications Center that makes it much easier to reply directly to emails, texts and FaceTime requests; and the new iCloud keychain, which is always encrypted and memorizes all of your passwords, including credit card information.
What do you think of iCloud Keychain? Do you think it was smart of Apple to delay the release date of iCloud Keychain before the feature could release on OS X Mavericks? Do you worry about the security of this particular feature? Sound off in the comments section below.