Once upon a time it was easy to remember your logins and passwords. You only had a few logins to remember, and you simply used the same password for all of them. (Admit it, you know you did it.)
But now, you have what seems to be like millions of passwords to remember, and if you’re a wise user at all, they’re all different. How can you possibly remember all those passwords? Enter one of the most important apps for Internet users, the password manager.
Password managers are apps designed to securely store your login and password information, automatically making it available when it’s time to login to an online account.
While the main purpose of any password manager is to, well, manage passwords, many of today’s password apps offer other features. Many apps offer secure notes storage, password generation, (even those required for two-step authentication), and much more.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 3 of the top password managers available for Windows and Mac users. All of the apps we’ll look at are also available on the iOS and Android platform, making them all good options for users who are on multiple platforms.
AgileBits’ 1Password has been around for quite while, and as such has grown from being merely a quite capable password management app to an app that can save your credit card information, receipts, and encrypted notes.
The app also offers the ability to receive around the clock security alerts to let you know if any websites or services that you use have been breached. Everything is stored on your computer or mobile device using strong AES-256 encryption.
As well as storing passwords, 1Password can automatically generate strong passwords and automatically save them for later use. It offers plugins for most popular browsers, which allows users to autofill login information with a click of the mouse.
As well as Windows and Mac PCs, 1Password is also available for iOS and Android devices. All encrypted information can be synced between your computers and mobile devices via the cloud. Also nice, is the ability to unlock passwords with your fingerprint on compatible computers and devices.
A number of iOS apps now have the ability to use 1Password to login to the apps. That is a terrific feature that I find myself making more and more use of. The iPhone version of the app also offers an Apple Watch app, allowing users to view favorited passwords and other information without taking their iPhone out of their pocket.
1Password is a free download, and you get 30 days to try all of the premium features free. After that, it’ll run you $2.99 per month, billed annually. That allows you to use 1Password on every compatible device you own. The developer also offers a Families subscription which allows up to 5 users to make use of the app on all of their devices. The Families plan is $4.99 per month, billed annually.
For more information about 1Password, visit the 1Password website.
Dashlane is another fine password manager, which is available for the Windows, Mac, iOS and Android platforms. This app is also is a bit of a jack of all trades, offering password management, password generation, and a digital wallet to store credit card and other information in. All information is protected by AES-256 encryption.
The Dashlane app for Windows and Mac offers the ability to pop in login and password information when needed while you’re browsing the web. It offers browser plugins for most popular browsers on both platforms.
Just like 1Password, users will receive security alerts when websites or other web services suffer a security breach, so users know that they need to change their password for the affected site.
Dashlane can also generate strong and secure passwords on the fly, making it easy to protect your login without having to tax your brain to come up with something besides “[email protected]$$w$rD” as a password. Passwords can also automatically be changed with just a few clicks.
All passwords and other encrypted information is synced to every device and computer via the cloud, making it easy to have the latest passwords and other important information at your beck and call.
Dashlane says that no one, not even the company themselves could access your information without knowing your master password. This should make any computer user feel a bit safer in these days of hacker and government monitoring of every move we make.
The Dashlane app is available free on every platform, and includes a 30 day trial of the Dashlane premium service plan. While the free level of service still allows users to store an unlimited amount of passwords and other data on their device, as well as receive security alerts, the Premium plan offers syncing between every device, secure account backup, VIP support, and 2-factor authentication. The Dashlane Premium plan is $3.33 per month, billed annually.
For more information about Dashlane, visit the Dashlane website.
LastPass 4.0 Premium
LastPass, but not least. (I had to do it.) LastPass offers nearly identical features as 1Password and Dashlane, also offering a free and paid level of service. The app is available on the Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android platforms. It also offers browser extensions Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Opera on macOS, Windows, and Linux.
LastPass offers a bit more on its free level of service than its competitors do, including access on all devices, the ability to save and autofill passwords, a password generator, the ability to store secure notes, and two-factor authentication.
If you’re willing to spring for $1.00 per month (paid annually), you’ll gain some other useful features, such as a shared family folder for up to 5 users, priority tech support, passwords for applications, desktop fingerprint ID, and 1GB of encrypted cloud storage.
The company also offers business team and enterprise levels of service.
The LastPass mobile app offers users the ability to autofill forms on both the Chrome and Safari browsers, or users can make use of the apps built-in secure browser. LastPass also offers app logins, similar to that offered by 1Password.
For more information about the LastPass password management app, visit the LastPass website.
Computer or mobile device users who are looking for an easy, yet secure way to manage their passwords would do well by choosing any of the apps we’ve taken a look at in this article. However, like most of us, I tend to have a favorite out of the popular trio of apps.
1Password has long been my goto app for password management, ever since I bought my first Mac and my first iPhone, The ability to keep my passwords synced among all my devices, as well as the ability to store important information, and auto login to a number of the apps I use daily is the clincher for me.
I will admit I purchased both the Mac and iOS versions a few years back, before they moved to the subscription model. However, the ease of use of both versions, as well as the excellent support offered by developer AgileBits has locked me in as a 1Password user for life, and I would highly recommend 1Password to any computer or mobile device user.