How Do I Access My Work Passwords From My Home Devices?

How Do I Access My Work Passwords From My Home Devices?
Photo: <a href="">Shutterstock</a>

What a week we’ve had! It feels like it’s still Monday, but maybe that’s just me. We’ve helped figure out cable modems and ISP speeds; how to set up your work laptop with your monitor at home; talked about why your work laptop stinks at wireless networking; and helped troubleshoot the ever-vexing “now my primary computer won’t boot into Windows” fun.

There’s plenty more to go—you’ve sent in a number of sticky problems related to working from home that you’d like solved, and I encourage you to keep blasting them into my inbox! Every Friday, I’ll be answering queries no matter how big or small they might be. That’s my promise to you! (Unless I’m on vacation).

For today’s instalment, I’m fielding a fun emailed question from Lifehacker reader Daisy. I suspect a number of you are currently experiencing this problem, too.

The Question:

“Is there any way to make my Chrome saved passwords (work) port over to my iPhone/iPad (home)? It’s killing me to retype each one manually. thanks!”

The Big Answer:

Oh yes. Let’s solve this right now, because there’s no reason you should have to suffer typing in long, complicated, secure passwords more than once. And whatever you do, do not let this be an excuse to change your long, complicated, secure passwords to something simpler. No, no, no: Convenience is the enemy of security.

The super-simple answer to this question is that you only have to install Chrome on your iPhone and iPad, log in with the account you use to access the browser on your work system, and sync your passwords. Easy as that.

The slightly more complicated nuance to this is that you might not want to have whatever you do in Chrome on your iPhone or iPad sync to your work account. That’s fine, though—you can sync multiple accounts across your devices, though switching between them on iOS and iPadOS isn’t as easy as it is on Android. You’ll have to sign out of one account and temporarily “turn off sync” for it before signing into another. The process is a pain in the butt, to be honest, and not nearly as easy as setting up and switching between multiple Chrome profiles/Google accounts on your desktop.

ImageScreenshot: David Murphy

Instead, I might recommend pulling up your Password Manager when you’re signed into your work account in Chrome. Click on the gear icon and click on Export Passwords, which should dump them all down to your desktop as a .CSV file.

ImageScreenshot: David Murphy

From there, log out of your work account and log into your personal account within Chrome—on your desktop or laptop—and type this into your address bar: chrome://flags/#PasswordImport

You should see a screen that looks like this once you hit enter:

ImageScreenshot: David Murphy

Turn that flag on, restart your browser, and pull up your Chrome settings by clicking on the triple-dot icon in the upper-right corner and selecting Settings. Click on “Passwords” under the Autofill section, and then click on the triple-dot somewhat-next to “Saved Passwords” to pull up a new “Import” option, as shown here:

ImageScreenshot: David Murphy

You’ll then be able to load the .CSV file of all your work passwords previously saved into the instance of Chrome that you’ve tied to your personal account. Now, click on “You and Google” in the upper-left corner and select “Manage Sync” to confirm that your passwords are going to sync anywhere where you’ve logged into Chrome using your personal account.

You should now be able to pull up your work passwords on your “home” version of Chrome—on your iPhone or iPad, that is—as long as the latter accounts are also syncing passwords from your Chrome account (which you can check in the settings menu for the Chrome app on each device).

In all honesty, you might just want to bite the bullet and move all your passwords over to a solid password manager. That way, you can access them no matter what accounts you’re using on any device. Ihe process will be completely agnostic, and you’ll have your passwords whenever you have the password manager’s apps installed. It’s as easy as that; no more fussing with Chrome accounts and what-have-you.

That’s what I’d do, at least. In fact, that’s what I do right now to manage passwords I use for Lifehacker and passwords I use for everything else: I dump them all into 1Password and let the app manage my logins no matter what device or browser instance I’m using. I highly recommend it; a solid password manager is worth every bit of the, what, $US35 ($57) or so you’ll pay each year to use it? That’s less than half the price of a bougie coffee each month, and the joy will last so much longer.

Do you have a tech question keeping you up at night? Tired of troubleshooting your Windows or Mac? Looking for advice on apps, browser extensions, or utilities to accomplish a particular task? Let us know! Tell us in the comments below or email [email protected].

Log in to comment on this story!