Samsung’s Internet web browser is one of the company’s few apps that people don’t even own Samsung phones actively seek out. It’s one of the best browsers available on Android — it offered extensive dark mode support long before Chrome, and has a higher degree of customization than most other similar apps. It also has ad-blocking (which is cool and all, but I hope you can toss us a few bucks if you do use that). However, there’s one critical feature that is still missing — full support for Android’s Autofill API.
I’d never used Samsung Internet outside of research for articles until I purchased a Galaxy Tab S6 a few months ago, and the Internet browser works a bit better for me on that tablet than Chrome or Firefox. So, as I’ve seen many folks do, I started using Samsung Internet while continuing to use other browsers (Firefox, in my case) on my other devices.
However, I quickly ran into a problem that I had never seen complaints about — Samsung Internet did not support Android’s Autofill API at all. Autofill is how login information stored in your Google account automatically appears in native applications. The default autofill provider on most devices is Google, but you can change it to any other supported service from the Settings app (Samsung, for example, has its own).
Samsung Internet’s lack of autofill support meant I had to dig up all the individual passwords for all my accounts, and if I want to avoid doing that for each device, I have to login with a Samsung account and sync those passwords to the cloud. I already don’t like keeping my passwords in two places (my Google and Firefox Sync accounts), and Samsung Internet is asking me to store them in a third location.
Samsung Internet 12 now works with autofill, but only with select providers.
One developer on the browser team said autofill was “being worked on” back in April 2019, but there were no noticeable changes at the time. The long-awaited feature finally arrived in Samsung Internet 12, which left beta earlier this week, but there’s a catch — not all autofill providers are supported. Lastpass, 1Password, and Dashlane work as expected, but not Google, Firefox Lockwise, and possibly others.
To play devil’s advocate for a moment, there aren’t any Chromium-based browsers on Android that support the Autofill API (to my knowledge). Chrome, Vivaldi, Kiwi, Microsoft Edge, and others only pull login information from whatever sync account they are connected to. However, Samsung Internet is still unique in that there is no desktop or iOS equivalent. There is no way at all to access Samsung Internet’s data on non-Android devices, except the Chrome extension that keeps bookmarks synced with Google’s browser. You’d think Samsung would at least allow people to use a cross-platform autofill solution, to make up for the lack of desktop and iOS applications, but that isn’t the case.
I asked Samsung Internet’s advocacy team about why the browser doesn’t allow all autofill providers, but I never received a clear answer. My hunch is that full Autofill API support will never materialize, as Samsung has tried for years to build a complete ecosystem not reliant on Google, and pushing people to store passwords in Samsung Pass is a step towards that goal.
That being said, I’m still holding out hope that Samsung Internet will, maybe, play nice with all autofill providers one day, just as Firefox, DuckDuckGo, and several other third-party web browsers already do on Android.