Comparing Password Managers

I’d like your opinion on Dashlane, the app that Google is pushing. I held off doing anything about 1Password when we were waiting to see about the releasing of iCloud Keychain… and I never tried the free LastPass.

I always enjoy introducing people to password management. It’s an increasingly popular and necessary tool, but the whole idea of passwords is so fraught with anxiety and uncertainty that many folks have trepidation about starting to use one of the available solutions. But when they do open up to it, it relieves the headache of remembering logins and keeps their stuff secure. Just start feeding your stuff data into the app, and it starts working for you

I keep not just logins in my password manager, but also things like frequent flyer numbers, credit cards, bank accounts, my family’s social security numbers and drivers’ licenses, and other tidbits I wouldn’t want readily visible in my notes or address book (y’all know who you are). Because I know that whatever I stuff in there will be easy to get to and easy to change as needed, I no longer feel any friction or hesitation about receiving an updated credit card or being forced to change a login; I know I’ll just plug it in once on any of my gadgets, and it will be immediately available on all my others

Comparisons

As you say, Dashlane, LastPass, and 1Password are still the top contenders. As password management is so crucial to getting smoothly through a 21st-century day, I encourage anyone to jump on board with whatever service they feel suits them.

I admit to a bias, but 1Password is still my go-to for many reasons. They have thought of little details like keyboard navigation, lots of different categories, and overall integration with the Mac and iPhone operating systems. It’s pretty, clean, and smooth, and I love it. I open the app at least a couple of times a day, and I’m using it constantly even barely thinking about it via the autofill extensions.

LastPass works fine, and they have some nice enterprise-level features. I really appreciate that their free tier now syncs between devices. I have had frustrations with the interface, mostly along the lines of, “Wait, I gotta go alllll the way up there to click on that and then I gotta click on this other thing? I can’t just do this with my arrow keys and hit return?” (I’m extraordinarily lazy.)

And it’s not just me: a client recently mentioned that LastPass made an update to their browser extension that made it less convenient to use, so we installed the Mac app for him, and it refused to honor the system setting for default browser, i.e, it kept opening links in Safari even though all her other Mac apps use Chrome.

A pal o’ mine is a big fan of Dashlane. If you compare it against the other options, and prefer it, there is no reason not to use it.

Dashlane is a bit cleaner and smoother than LP, but to me they are on a par: both do the fundamentals fine, but I don’t much cleverness behind their design.

DL and LP both have one big thing that 1P does not, and that’s automatic password changing. I like that a lot, not enough for me to switch, but certainly as a boon for anyone.

1Password’s family and business plans are well-priced and sync smooth like buttah. Consider doing the family plan and getting your kids in on the action, so you can share crucial information that can be important to have on hand in emergencies.

You’ll be glad you signed up!

[Update Nov 2018: I published this a while back. iCloud Keychain is now a standard and reliable component of iOS and macOS. But it is not designed to replace these other solutions, and in fact in iOS 12, Apple has allowed third-party password managers to integrate with the keyboard, a game-changingly fantastic improvement to all of our security.]

Author: jjmarcus

Mac Whisperer, Cloud Integrator, Gadget Wrangler, Content Beautifier

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