Macs All-in-One For Dummies
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Safari and iCloud have terrific built-in features that help you remember user names and passwords and credit card information. And Safari has security and privacy features to keep that personal information to yourself — or to your Mac. Here, we tell you how to use AutoFill so Safari remembers passwords for you, and then we explain how to keep your information safe.

AutoFill track passwords and more

If you don’t share your Mac and you visit a lot of websites that require usernames and passwords, Safari can remember and automatically fill in the username and password for you when you open those websites. Safari can also automatically fill in forms with your name and address, credit card information, and information you’ve completed on an online form in the past. Safari encrypts this information, so even though it’s remembered, it’s safe.

In the following steps, we also show you how to add credit card information to Safari’s brain trust. After adding card information, when you’re making an online purchase and reach the credit card information fields, a drop-down field lets you choose which credit card you want to use from those you entered.

To use the AutoFill options, as shown, do the following:

AutoFill on Macs AutoFill keeps track of passwords and fills in forms.

1. Choose Safari→Preferences and click the AutoFill button on the toolbar.

2. Select the Using Info from My Contacts Card check box.

Safari presents pre-filled drop-down fields in website forms that request information such as your address and telephone number, which will be taken from Contacts.

Click Edit to open Contacts and view the information that will be accessed.

3. Select the User Names and Passwords check box.

The first time you visit a website that requires a username and password, Safari asks whether you want it remembered. If you choose Yes, your username and password are filled in automatically the next time you visit the website.

4. (Optional) Click the Edit button next to User Names and Passwords.

The Passwords Are Locked dialog appears.

5. Enter your admin password.

The Passwords Preferences dialog opens showing you a list that is divided into three columns: Websites, Username, and Password. The first column shows each website you’ve visited that require a password. If you’ve allowed Safari to save your password for the site, a name or email address appears in the Username column and the password used is hidden by asterisks. After the Passwords Preferences dialog opens, you can do the following:

  • Deselect AutoFill User Names and Passwords and Safari will not auto-fill usernames or passwords, nor will you be prompted by Safari to save website usernames and passwords. This also deselects usernames and passwords in AutoFill preferences.
  • Click a website, and then click Details to display the username and password Safari saved for that site.
  • Click a website (or Control-click multiple websites) and then click the Remove button to eliminate those usernames and passwords from Safari’s memory.
  • Click the Add button to open a dialog box into which you can enter a URL and the username and password required to access the site.

Then click the AutoFill button to return to the AutoFill Preferences.

6. Select the Credit Cards check box and then click Edit.

The Credit Cards Are Locked dialog appears.

7. Enter your admin password and then click Unlock.

The dialog box refreshes showing information for any credit cards you have saved.

8. To edit a credit card, select it and then modify the information.

You can edit the cardholder name, card number, expiration date, and cardholder name, or click Remove to delete the card information.

9. Click Add to add a card to the list.

A dialog appears in which you fill in the card description, card number, expiration date, and cardholder name.

If you choose to use AutoFill for names, passwords — and especially credit cards — we highly recommend setting up your Mac to require a password whenever it is turned on or wakes from sleep.

10. Select the Other Forms check box, which will remember what you enter the first time you fill in a form and use it if the same website asks for the same information again.

Click the Edit button to see, and remove, websites for which AutoFill has been enabled.

If you turn on the Keychain option in iCloud, the information you let AutoFill manage is available across all devices signed in to the same iCloud account with Keychain activated.

Protect your web-browsing privacy

Safari encrypts your web browsing to help avoid Internet eavesdropping and potential digital theft. And, instead of letting websites access your information automatically when you fill out forms, Safari detects forms and presents your information in drop-down fields so you can choose which information to insert.

As a rule, Safari keeps track of your browsing history, but if you use Safari on a public Mac, perhaps in a library, you may not want to leave a trace of where you’ve been. Choose File→New Private Window and Safari keeps your browsing secrets safe. When you enable Private Browsing, a new Safari window opens, and the Search or Enter Website Name field has a black background. In a nutshell, turning on the Private Browsing keeps your web-browsing history usage private by

  • Not tracking which websites you visit, which means they don’t show up in History
  • Removing any files that you downloaded from the Downloads window (Window→Downloads)
  • Not saving names or passwords that you enter on websites
  • Not saving search words or terms that you enter in the Search and Address field
In other words, when you open a private window, Safari gets a case of amnesia, making Safari mind its own business until you close the private window. You know when Private Browsing is active because the Search or Enter Website Name field has a dark gray background. You can use the navigation buttons during the session, but when you close Safari, or close the private window, your viewing history is erased. In short, opening a private window is an excellent solution when you’re surfing for your husband’s anniversary present.

After you close a private window, Safari goes back to thoughtfully keeping track of the websites you visit and the terms you type into the search box so you can easily return to those sites or searches later.

In addition to surfing with a private window, Safari offers Security and Privacy preferences. Do the following to set these up:

1. Choose Safari→Preferences and click the Security button on the toolbar.

2. Select the check box next to the options you want to activate:

  • Fraudulent Sites: When you open a website that Safari finds suspicious, you receive a warning that requires you to confirm or cancel opening the page. Safari uses Google Safe Browsing to determine if a site is fraudulent.
  • Web Content: JavaScript is a language used for buttons, forms, and other website content; if this check box is left clear, some website functionality may be lost. Pop-up windows often contain advertising, so you may want to leave this check box clear. That said, some website functionality may be lost if you don’t enable this feature. In both cases, if necessary, you’ll receive a message from the website prompting you to activate the feature.
3. Click the Privacy button on the toolbar to open Privacy preferences, as shown.

Mac privacy settings Specify your privacy settings here.

4. Protect your privacy by accepting the default Prevent Cross-Site Tracking.

This option makes it harder for companies to track your browsing across multiple websites. We strongly suggest you do not deselect this option.

5. Tighten your web-browsing security by clicking the Block All Cookies check box.

If you select this option, Safari warns you that websites may not work if you enable this option. When this option is not selected, which is the default state, Safari keeps a list of websites that have stored data that can be used to track your browsing. You can click the Manage Website Data button and see who’s tracking what, and then select specific sites you would like to remove, or remove all.

To enable quick surfing without interruptions, do not block all cookies, but visit the Privacy preferences frequently, click Manage Website Data, and remove suspect sites.

Cookies are pieces of information about you that websites you visit use to track your browser usage. Cookies may also be used for user authentication or specific information. When you sign up with a website, that site gives you a cookie so that the next time you go to that website, it recognizes you because it sees you have one of its cookies.

6. Accept the default Apple Pay and Apple Card option.

With the default option enabled, Safari lets you make purchases on the web with Apple Pay and Apple Card using your iPhone or Apple Watch to confirm payment. If you have none of the previously mentioned Apple baubles, feel free to deselect this option.

7. Click the Close button.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Joe Hutsko is a technology enthusiast, a journalist, an author, and a consultant. He contributes to the New York Times blog Green Inc., and has covered the latest tech trends for Fortune, MSNBC.com, Wired, the Washington Post, Newsweek, Time, Macworld, PC World, TV Guide, and others. He runs the green gadget blog gGadget.org and his personal Web site, JOEyGADGET.com.

Ray Anthony has helped Fortune 500 clients close multi-million dollar deals by designing and developing extraordinarily innovative, solution-selling presentations with superior value propositions for his clients. Barbara Boyd has worked as a marketing and technology consultant for more than 10 years and is the author of several books.

Jesse Feiler is a developer, consultant, and author specializing in Apple technologies. He is the creator of Minutes Machine for iPad, the meeting management app, and Saranac River Trail and is heard regularly on WAMC Public Radio for the Northeast’s The Roundtable.

Doug Sahlin operates a professional photography business specializing in event and portrait photography. He's shared his expertise on photo topics in Canon EOS 7D For Dummies and Canon EOS 6D For Dummies.

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