I’m sure most of you are facing the challenges of remembering and storing your passwords to the various apps, bank cards and such. Each password is very secure with upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. The passwords are secure, but where they’re stored may not be.

In my case, it definitely was not! So I began my search for apps in the Apple apps store that run on both the iPhone and iPad as I needed the app to run on both devices in synch.

My requirements were simple: it should be easy to use; information could be accessed offline, and it had to have the ability to store the data in the cloud for backup. All I need to store are the user ID/email and password. Hence, I don’t need overly complex software. I would also prefer the app to be free, but was willing to pay for it if it proves to be excellent!

I looked at four apps: Dashlane, LastPass, Keeper and 1Password (not to be confused with iPassword). All had some common characteristics, such as assessing the strength of the password and offering to create a password if you don’t want to create your own.

When I did a search on the web using the names of the four apps, LastPass showed up as the best known and most often mentioned password manager. So I tried that and the first thing I learned was don’t wait too long to test Last Pass after getting the app or, after two weeks, the trial time expires. I did get several messages that my trial time is about to expire and that, for $1/month, I could become a premium member. It does have a good user guide and it has a feature to share passwords with friends and family which intuitively makes me feel that, by sharing, my passwords are less secure.

The sepasswordcond observation is that not all of the apps have a user guide. Keeper is supposed to have one but when I tried to open it, I got an error message. But it does have a good orientation tour. Keeper also requires payment for backing up the password file after 30 days of usage. So Keeper and LastPass did not meet my requirement to use the app for free.

Dashlane looked so promising! It’s described as free and easy to use. It also has an auto login feature for all the accounts where I provided the user ID and password. But it’s only free for one device, I need it for two devices so I’d have to get Dashlane Premium, which costs $39.99. And just like LastPass, I’d have to get the premium version to back up the information.

I found 1Password easy to use and met all my requirements. It automatically identifies sites and credit cards with the logos, making the password lookup faster. I did have a problem figuring out how to delete a duplicate entry. The “help” function had the answer, although I must admit that the solution was simple and I should have figured it out on my own. It also allows me to sign-in with my touch ID on the iPhone, which makes looking up the information even quicker. It does work both when I am online as well as offline, and on my iPad and iPhone . AgileBits is a Canadian company located in Toronto.

Have you used similar apps? What has been your experience?

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  • Beat Bucher

    The point is that you are iOS centric in your article… You would look at the whole story differently if you would have to use a single system across multiple platforms.. and there LastPass makes a pretty decent job, allowing even for 2-step authentication to make it more secure. LastPass allows to save locally a copy of the entire pwd vault and store it encrypted on a USB key in case you need it off-line too.
    Your article should have been titled “Too Many Passwords to manage on iOS devices”.. LastPass goes far behind just managing password, it saves also user-profiles, credit-card identities, forms to fill out, secure notes, etc..

  • Craig

    Backing up & securely syncing encrypted data is a really important feature, which is why the paid services from Keeper, etc, are essential. If your phone crashes when using a local-storage-only product, you’d be hosed.

  • SavageNarce

    I use KeePass, a free, open-source package from SourceForge. The database is encrypted on your machine, so I can use DropBox to share the database across multiple devices. I use KeeFox to allow Firefox to log in to known sites automatically, and I keep a copy of MiniKeePass on my iPhone, which allows me to use the same database there. I don’t own a MacBook, but I understand that KeePass can also be used on that platform.

  • Eva Schweber

    Hi Catherine,

    I’m Eva and I work for AgileBits, the makers of 1Password.

    I wanted to thank you for taking the time to educate your readers on the importance of password managers, and for including 1Password in your discussion!

    In this day and age, it is so important that we all use strong and unique passwords for every site that we visit, and password managers can help make it much more convenient to be secure.

    Keep sharing the secure word!

    Eva Schweber
    Good Witch of the Pacific Northwest @ AgileBits

  • Ray

    Hi Catherine,

    Thank you for the comparison. We use Hypersocket Single Sign-On. One password authenticates login to all applications. It has hundreds of apps integrated so it has been a very easy journey with Hypersocket. Best feature – its free. https://www.hypersocket.com/en/products/sso