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.)
But now, you have what seems to be 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 essential 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 log in to an online account.
All of the information stored in a password manager is protected by a layer of AES-256 industry-standard encryption, keeping everything safe from the prying eyes of those who would love to get their slimy paws on your info.
While the primary purpose of any password manager is to, well, manage passwords, many of today’s password apps offer other features. Many apps provide secure notes storage, password generation (even those required for two-factor authentication) and much more.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 3 of the top password managers available to Windows and Mac users. All of the apps we’ll discuss are also available on the iOS and Android platforms, making them all good options for users who are on multiple platforms.
AgileBits’ 1Password has been around for quite a 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 save them for later use. It provides plugins for most popular browsers, which allows users to auto-fill login information with a click of the mouse.
As well as Windows and Mac PCs, 1Password is 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 mobile devices.
A large number of iOS apps now feature the ability to use 1Password to log in to the apps. The iPhone version of the app also includes 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 popular password manager, which is available for the Windows, Mac, iOS and Android platforms.
This app is also a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, providing 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 computers features 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.
Additionally, Dashlane can generate strong, 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 be changed automatically with just a few clicks.
All passwords and other encrypted information are synced to every device and computer via the cloud, making it easy to have the latest passwords and other valuable information at your beck and call.
Dashlane says that no one, not even the company itself, could access your information without knowing your master password. This should make any computer user feel a bit safer in these days of hackers and governments monitoring 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 you to store an unlimited number of passwords and other data on your device, as well as receive security alerts, the Premium plan offers syncing between every device, secure account backup, VIP support and two-factor authentication. The Dashlane Premium plan is $3.33 per month, billed annually.
For more information about Dashlane, visit the Dashlane website.
LastPass, but not least. (I had to do it.)
LastPass offers nearly identical features as 1Password and Dashlane, also providing a free and paid level of service. The app is available on the Windows, Mac, iOS and Android platforms. Plus, it provides browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Opera on macOS, Windows and Linux.
LastPass includes 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, secure note storage and two-factor authentication.
If you’re willing to spring for $1 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 provides users the ability to auto-fill forms on both the Chrome and Safari browsers, or users can make use of the app’s built-in secure browser. LastPass also offers app logins similar to that provided 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 to choose 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 been my go-to app for password management ever since I bought my first Mac and iPhone. The ability to keep my passwords synced among all my devices, as well as the ability to store important information and auto-log in 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.