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In the latest versions of OS X and iOS, Apple's new iCloud Keychain provides one of the most important pieces of functionality for security-conscious users: a password manager.

Unfortunately, it's kind of a mess. iCloud Keychain does accomplish the most basic things you'd expect a password manager to do, but it often does so in an awkward manner. Important functionality is hard enough to find that it may be effectively hidden from the average user, particularly on iPhones and iPads.

Ultimately, iCloud Keychain can be put to good use if you've carefully examined what it does well and doesn't do well. It works best as a complement to a complete service like 1Password or LastPass, but it just isn't convenient and robust enough to act as a standalone password manager.

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