With Google releasing the first Android P developer preview on Wednesday afternoon, developers and Android fans alike have been digging through the latest version of the company’s mobile operating system to find unannounced features and improvements.
On Thursday, password manager Dashlane published a blog post detailing a feature Google didn’t explicitly announce earlier in the week: official support for password autofill in Android web browsers.
Since 8.0, Android has included an API that allows password managers like Dashlane and 1Password to automatically input login credentials for users. While its technically possible to use this feature in conjunction with a web browser like Chrome, only apps fully support this functionality; using it with a web browser involves the user granting their password manager access to their smartphone’s accessibility services, a process that can be a tricky if you don’t know where to look inside of Android’s Settings menu.
“The reason is that Chrome (like Microsoft Edge, Samsung Browser or Firefox, for example) uses a custom render for web pages you view,” writes Dashlane’s Stan Kocken on the company’s official blog. “This custom render allows high-performance, but prevents the Autofill Engine embedded in Android O from telling identity managers (like Dashlane) certain information, like when the page changes.”
Moving forward, Android P’s autofill API will work by default with web browsers. This small but significant change will create a much more seamless experience for those that use a password manager on their Android smartphone.