Chrome for Android now lets you use a non-Google password manager, but there's a catch

Google Passwords for Android on Samsung Galaxy S21
(Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Chrome for Android now supports non-Google password managers. 
  • Previously, users were forced to use Google’s password manager and Chrome’s autofill options.
  • The new setting isn’t totally reliable, and is currently hidden.

Password managers are all but essential given the vast number of usernames and passwords we have to remember. But up until now, Chrome users have been restricted to using Google’s password manager to save all these details. For many, this limitation could be enough justification to use one of the other best Android browser options. Now, though, a hidden setting may be about to make Chrome a little more appealing.

Work on integrating third-party password managers with Chrome was first spotted in November 2023. Now, X user Leopeva64, the same person who spied that development, has noticed that the setting appears to have gone live on Chrome. 

This means that users are no longer restricted to using Google’s password manager. But as noted in a report by Android Police, the feature is currently hidden, and in order to use it, you need to enable a specific Chrome flag – chrome://flags/#enable-autofill-virtual-view-structure – before the setting will become visible. 

Once the feature has been activated, users can go to the Chrome settings menu, and under Autofill Options is the option to “Use other providers”. Selecting this option will automatically default to whatever password manager you have active in your Android settings.

Importantly though, there seems to be a good reason why this setting is currently hidden. According to Android Police, while using a non-Google password manager did work for populating passwords, there were issues with trying to save new passwords when entering them for the first time (although you can save them manually). 

Other reports also suggest third-party password managers don’t always populate your saved usernames, which indicates the experience is far from polished. This would explain why you have so much trouble activating it at the moment.

There is no indication of when this feature might be made more publicly available. In the longer term, though, this could make life easier for anyone who prefers an alternative password manager to Google’s default. 

Steven Shaw

Steven Shaw is a full-time freelancer, but before he changed his career at the start of 2021, he was in the retail industry, leading teams to achieve goals in selling technology products, such as smartphones, tablets, and more. Graduating from the University of Cambridge with a Masters in Medieval History, he's always had a passion for the topic, alongside technology and many Simpsons quotes.