Everyone should know that assigning complex passwords to sensitive digital accounts is a best practice to protect against hackers. Those who follow password best practices also know that saving passwords for all accounts is nearly impossible, even using passwords. That’s why using a password manager is highly recommended.
Password managers can also help store sensitive account information, generate random strings for passwords, and auto-fill passwords when logging into apps and websites. But these services often lock their best features behind a subscription or in-app purchase model.
Google Password Manager is a powerful, convenient and free option. Originally available in the Chrome browser and operating system, it is now fully integrated into Android. The downside is that it wasn’t that convenient to access third-party apps, but the recent Google Play Services update changed that.
Step 1: Update Google Play Services
Since the new feature is coming via Google Play Services, you should make sure it’s up to date. On any Android phone model, open the Google Play Store, tap your profile icon in the top right corner of the home page, and select “Settings.” Then select the “About” section to expand it.
You’ll immediately see what version of the Play Store you’re currently using, and as long as it’s version 22.18 or newer (which came out in June 2022), you should be fine. However, updating to the latest version is always good to keep things running as smoothly as possible.
Tap the “Update Play Store” hyperlink on the current version of the Play Store and it will let you know if you have an update or are up to date. Either way, tap “I Got It” to continue.
Alternative method: Update your system from Google Play
You don’t need to update Google Play Services through the Google Play Store app. Instead, you can do this from the Settings app on your Android phone.
On your Pixel, go to the “Security” menu and tap “Google Play System Update.” This option includes Google updates for Android, Google Play Store and Google Play Services. If an update is available, tap “Restart now”.
The procedure is similar on other Android devices. For example, open Settings on a Samsung Galaxy model, tap “Biometrics & Security,” then “Google Play System Update.” If there is an update, tap “Download and install” and then “Restart now” when the download is complete.
Step 2: Open Google Password Manager
If you have a Pixel, open the Settings app, scroll to “Passwords & accounts” and tap it. At the top, under the Passwords category, tap “Google” and select the appropriate account if you have more than one registered.
On a Samsung Galaxy model, open the Settings app, scroll to and select “General Management” and tap “Passwords & AutoFill”. Select “Google” under Passwords and select the appropriate account if you have more than one.
Alternatively, on a Pixel, Galaxy, or other Android device, you can search for “Password Manager” in the settings search bar to go straight to the Account Chooser or Password Manager screen.
Step 3: Access the Password Manager settings
You are now in the Password Manager. As you can see, it’s not as easy to get here as it is with other password management apps, so we’ll cover that for future reference. Tap the gear icon below your profile picture to access settings, find and tap the “Add Shortcut to Home Screen” option at the bottom of the screen.
Step 4: Add a password manager shortcut
In the shortcut dialog, you have two options: you can long-press the widget icon to manually place it on the home screen or in a folder, or you can tap the “Add to home screen” or “Add” button to embed it. automatically in the first available place on the home screen. Either way, from now on you’ll have one-touch access to your passwords.
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Cover photo and screenshots by Tommy Palladino/Gadget Hacks