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Autofill will automatically work in browsers in Android P

The change might be a small one, but it allows Dashlane and other identity managers to work better in Chrome and other browsers.

Published onMarch 9, 2018

  • For Android P, Google improved how Autofill works for third-party services like Dashlane and others.
  • Instead of having services manually enable Accessibility Service, Autofill in Android P turns it on by default.
  • This allows Dashlane, 1Password, and others to automatically work in Chrome and similar browsers without a clunky workaround.

Among the litany of user-facing and underlying changes present in Android P are Autofill improvements that allow the feature to automatically work in Google Chrome and other browsers.

Introduced in Android Oreo, Autofill automatically retrieves passwords, credit card information, and other personal details from either itself or other services like Dashlane, 1Password, and LastPass. The problem is that third-party services must use Android’s Accessibility Service for them to autofill information in Chrome and other browsers.

Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Samsung Internet, Firefox, and similar browsers use custom renders that increase web page performance. However, the custom renders prevent Autofill from allowing Dashlane and others access to certain information, such as when the page changes. Because of that, services must manually enable Accessibility Service for them to work as advertised in browsers.

This created a bit of a mess for password managers, since Accessibility Service was not designed to be used this way. Google eventually paused its Google Play accessibility services enforcement to properly evaluate the apps, but this did not solve the developers’ dilemma.

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Those problems might be a thing of the past, however, as it appears that Android P enabled Accessibility Service by default. This allows Dashlane to take advantage of Autofill in Chrome and other browsers without manually enabling Accessibility Service. Dashlane even finished a prototype that shows the password manager using Autofill in the mobile Twitter page.

In its blog post, Dashlane also said CPU usage will be drastically reduced on Android P, which should lead to improved battery life.

Until Google says otherwise, the improved Autofill is exclusive to Android P. Dashlane hopes to get a version compatible with Android P out by June, with Android P’s final release slated for sometime during the third quarter of 2018.

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