Use An­droid 8.0 Oreo’s aut­ofill API

Long pass­words made a lot eas­ier. RYAN WHITWAM shows how

Android Advisor - - Contents -

An­droid 8.0 Oreo’s aut­ofill API is here to save you from one of tech­nol­ogy’s big­gest has­sles: pass­words. Google’s API al­lows apps to act as aut­ofill providers at the sys­tem level. So, in­stead of open­ing a pass­word man­ager and copy­ing your pass­words, the app can sim­ply au­then­ti­cate you and fill in the in­for­ma­tion au­to­mat­i­cally. This fea­ture re­quires some setup, but it’s well worth your time.

Aut­ofill was some­what pos­si­ble in older ver­sions of An­droid us­ing the Ac­ces­si­bil­ity ser­vice, which al­lows

apps to in­put text and high­light fields. How­ever, this process was slow and ex­tremely buggy. Fill­ing in pass­words is not what it was de­signed to do. Google’s Smart Lock came to An­droid in Nougat, and it worked a lit­tle bet­ter, but most de­vel­op­ers didn’t add sup­port. So, the aut­ofill API was de­vised to make pass­word man­agers eas­ier to use. Not all pass­word man­ager apps work with this fea­ture, but most of the big ones have an­nounced sup­port. 1Pass­word, Dash­lane, and LastPass have all added sup­port for Oreo that you can try, but it’s still tech­ni­cally in beta for LastPass. If you don’t use a third-party pass­word man­ager, you might still be able to use the aut­ofill fea­ture with Google’s own aut­ofill ser­vice from Chrome.

Oreo’s aut­ofill API

Oreo’s aut­ofill fea­tures are dis­abled by de­fault, and they’re rather buried. To en­able aut­ofill, head into your main sys­tem set­tings and look in Sys­tem > Lan­guage & in­put > Ad­vanced > Aut­ofill ser­vice. You can only have one ac­tive at a time, but “Aut­ofill with Google” is built into the OS. Any other apps you’ve in­stalled with sup­port for aut­ofill will also show up in this menu.

Google’s op­tion pulls in user­names and pass­words from Chrome. That means you’ll al­ready have ac­cess to lots of ac­count cre­den­tials in An­droid if you’ve been sav­ing things to Chrome on your desk­top. The first time you open an app with a na­tive lo­gin field (not an em­bed­ded web frame), a win­dow pops up ask­ing you to con­firm your Google ac­count so lo­gins can be found. A drop-down list of match­ing lo­gins will let you pick among sev­eral ac­counts.

If you choose a third-party app like LastPass, the au­then­ti­ca­tion step is dif­fer­ent. These apps are a bit more se­cure based on the early im­ple­men­ta­tion. For ex­am­ple, LastPass has you con­firm your iden­tity with a fin­ger­print (if en­abled in the app) or LastPass pass­word be­fore it will aut­ofill in other apps. Like the stock Google of­fer­ing, these apps have drop-down menus where you can choose from all match­ing ac­counts be­fore fill­ing the user­name and pass­word.

There’s a bit of setup needed, but you’ll never have to worry about awk­wardly copy­ing and past­ing your long, com­plex pass­words on An­droid again. If you don’t have long, com­plex pass­words, you can start us­ing them with the knowl­edge you won’t have to type them in by hand.

This is how you’d use Google and LastPass to log into the Arlo app

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