Everyone should know that assigning complex passwords to sensitive digital accounts is the best practice to protect against hackers. Those who adhere to password creation best practices also know that it’s nearly impossible to track passwords for every account, even using passphrases. This is why the use of a password manager is highly recommended.

Password managers can also help store sensitive account information, generate random strings for passwords, and autofill passwords when logging into apps and sites. But these services often lock their best features behind a subscription model or in-app purchase.

Google’s Password Manager is a powerful, convenient, and free option. Initially available through Chrome’s browser and OS, it’s now tightly integrated with Android. The downside is that it wasn’t as convenient to access as third-party apps, but a recent Google Play Services update changed that.

Step 1: Update Google Play Services

Since the new feature is provided through Google Play Services, you should ensure that you are up to date. On any Android phone model, open Google Play Store, tap your profile icon on the top right of the homepage and select “Settings”. Next, choose the “About” section to expand it.

You’ll immediately see which version of Play Store you’re currently using, and as long as you’re at or above version 22.18 (which was released in June 2022), you should be good. However, updating to the latest version is always good to keep things running as smoothly as possible.

Tap the “Update Play Store” hyperlink under the current version of the Play Store, and it will tell you if you have an update or are up to date. Either way, tap “I got it” to continue.

Alternative Method: Update Google Play System

You don’t need to update Google Play Services from Google Play Store app. Instead, you can do this from your Android phone’s Settings app.

On a Pixel, go to the “Security” menu and tap on “Google Play System Update”. This option includes updates from Google to Android, Google Play Store and Google Play Services. If an update is available, tap “Restart now”.

The process is similar on other Android devices. For example, open Settings on a Samsung Galaxy model, tap “Biometrics and security,” then tap “Google Play system update.” If there’s an update, tap “Download and Install” and then “Restart Now” when it’s fully downloaded.

Step 2: Open your Google Password Manager

If you have a Pixel, open your Settings app, scroll down to “Passwords & Accounts” and tap it. At the top, under the Passwords category, tap “Google”, then select the appropriate account if you have more than one saved.

On a Samsung Galaxy model, open the Settings app, scroll down and select “General Management”, then tap “Passwords & Autofill”. Select “Google” under Passwords, then choose 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 directly to the account switcher or password manager screen.

Step 3: Access password manager settings

You are now in the password manager. As you can see, it’s not as easy to get there as it is for other password manager apps, so let’s fix that for future use. Tap the gear icon under your profile picture to access settings, then find and tap the “Add a shortcut to your home screen” option near the bottom of the screen.

Step 4: Add the password manager shortcut

In the Shortcut dialog, you have two options: you can long-press the widget icon to manually place it on your home screen or in a folder, or you can press the “Add to screen” button home” or “Add” to automatically integrate it into the first available location on your home screen. In any case, you will now have access to your passwords in one click.

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Cover photo and screenshots by Tommy Palladino/Gadget Hacks