What comes first – the keyboard, or the password?

November 5, 2013

Despite some of the problems with my WP8, I really do love most of the things about it – except for one big thing: the keyboard. Because I work on the Remote Desktop clients for non-Windows devices, I spend a good chunk of my day on various iDevices, and I have to put in my corporate credentials a lot – and what I’ve found is that the iOS keyboard is much more suited to my passwords than the WP8 keyboard.

So now the question arises – do I choose a new password that requires less keyboard switching on my phone, or my iPad? I find myself switching to the third level of symbols on both quite often, because I’ve been using similar variations of my current password for a few years now and it’s just been easier to swap between a few of them despite the inconvenience factor that comes with the mobile devices. For most accounts, I use KeePass or KyPass and it works wonderfully, but i just don’t have that for logging into Windows/OSX/to verify my corporate account and creating easy-to-type-on-a-mobile-device passwords that are secure is simply a pain.

I’m on a quest now to create a strong password that allows for easy input no matter what the device I’m on. It has to be secure, it has to be alpha-numeric with a symbol or two, and it has to be quick to type on both my iPad and WP8 (which, naturally, have ridiculously different keyboard layouts for symbols).


WP8 keyboard [top] and iOS [bottom] symbol keyboards, first layer

Let’s see where this leaves me:

Windows passwords allow characters [email protected]#$%^&*_-+=`|(){}[]:;”‘<>,.?/ to be used in passwords. Of these characters, ~#%^*_+=|{}[]<> do not appear on the first level of either keyboard. That means I should use [email protected]$&-‘():;'”..?/ in my password if I want to minimize my keyboard swapping on my mobile devices. Unfortunately for me, my current password has an “&” and a “^” (among other things, so have fun guessing if you’re really trying). Also unfortunate: none of these characters share a key location, so no matter which ones I choose, I’m going to be learning multiple entry patterns to input my password quickly.

Is trying to make my password entry on touch devices a futile effort? Perhaps – I will likely always be quicker at one device than the other. But if nothing else, at least I’ve eliminated what characters I shouldn’t use – until I consider what the Android keyboards look like, too…

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