Chrome Tests Feature To Address Unusable Passwords After macOS Password Resets

Google is testing a new feature in Chrome to address an issue where some saved passwords become inaccessible after a macOS password reset. This can cause inconvenience for users who rely on Chrome’s Password Manager to store and manage their login credentials for various websites.

First, some background on this issue. Chrome uses encryption to safeguard saved passwords, which prevents unauthorized access even if someone gains access to your device. But these encryption keys can change due to various reasons, including updates or password resets. 

When a Mac user password is reset, it can impact Chrome’s ability to decrypt previously saved passwords, causing them to be unusable. This comes after our team member noticed that Chrome users on iOS can directly save files to Google Drive or Google Photos from the web.

Reporters of this issue have observed that after resetting a Mac password, Chrome would prompt users to save passwords in the Password Manager, but these saved passwords wouldn’t persist after a browser restart.

Google acknowledges this as intended Chrome behavior on macOS. They’ve confirmed the issue also exists on Windows through their testing. To address this, Google is developing a solution that involves automatically clearing passwords that cannot be decrypted using the current encryption key. 

This would let the Password Manager function as expected, and users wouldn’t encounter issues with inaccessible passwords following password resets.

The new feature might first be introduced as an experiment on the chrome://flags page. It is a section within Chrome where users can enable or disable experimental features. If enabled, this feature would automatically remove passwords that are undecryptable, and will restore the full functionality to the Password Manager.

This feature is being designed to benefit Chrome users across all platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and Chrome OS. By automatically clearing undecryptable passwords, Google can prevent users from encountering issues with their saved passwords after the password resets on any device.

It should improve the overall reliability and functionality of password management within Chrome.

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