The same properties that make a safe, difficult-to-crack password—using special characters, making them long, and creating fake words—also make them hard to remember. Not only that, but every website is supposed to have its own password that is equally strong and totally unique. It’s almost impossible to remember all of them, and writing them down is practically an invitation for a data breach, especially in the workplace.
Why You Need a Password Manager
The solution is simple: password management apps. These apps act as password keepers, storing your login information for every website you use. This way, you need to log in only to your password manager—preferably with some form of two-factor authentication—and then the password manager logs you in to everything else.
These apps even help with password creation. Most password managers will generate long, complicated passwords that are unique and secure. These unique passwords keep your information safe by making sure a data leak or password hack affects only one of your accounts at a time.
Every password manager is different, so we put together a password manager review based on price, user friendliness, and security. Here’s our guide to the best password management apps available for your smartphone.
Cost: Free for the standard app or $39.99 per year for Premium. Business account pricing varies.
Unique Feature: Dashlane’s digital wallet feature allows you to quickly use your credit cards without having to store your credit card information on a website you don’t trust.
Dashlane is making a name for itself in device security and is one of PCMag’s top password managers of 2017. The program’s interface is remarkably easy to use and, like others on this list, Dashlane provides password analysis as well as a handy autofill feature. The app also allows for safe sharing, letting you set rules and restrictions around which passwords you give to others, so you can collaborate without sacrificing security.
It’s worth noting that the standard free app does not sync across devices, making the free app less competitive compared to others on this list. You’ll have to upgrade to a premium account if you want more universal access across your gadgets.
Cost: The Basic version of LastPass is free, while LastPass Premium is $12 per year. Business options are $30–48 annually per user.
Unique Feature: LastPass has recently allowed for syncing across all of an individual’s devices with a free account, a service that most password managers require a premium account to access.
LastPass features a password generator and a password auditor that will tell you which of your current passwords are weak or vulnerable. The program’s form-fill function auto-completes login information across various sites, and the premium version offers priority tech support.
For added security, the heavily encrypted LastPass vault is accessible to only you—LastPass itself doesn’t even have access to the encryption keys for your stored information. Another big perk of LastPass is its affordable Enterprise option that allows you to store passwords for a team of people. And because the app works across multiple web browsers, sharing access with co-workers is simple.
Cost: The standard app is free, Professional is $12 per year, and Ultimate is $39 per year.
Unique Feature: With Selfie-Two-Factor Authentication, LogmeOnce uses a device’s camera to text you a picture of the person trying to log in to your account.
LogmeOnce is ambitious in its scope, which is both its strength and its weakness: the amount of features and applications may be overwhelming for a new user. But if you’re tech savvy, this app offers more tools for you to customize your security experience.
A great example is the metadata feature offered with Professional and Ultimate accounts. LogmeOnce tracks the browser, GPS location, and IP address of people who try to access your accounts. In the case of identity theft, this information could be critical in helping law enforcement track the thief. LogmeOnce also offers some very practical features, like allowing users to quickly and securely update their website passwords from inside the app.
Cost: A basic 1Password account is $2.99 per month, while a 1Password Families account $4.99 per month for the first five members—and $1 per month for each additional family member. Commercial accounts range from a monthly cost of $3.99 per user and up, depending on the features your business needs.
Unique Feature: The “Watchtower” service alerts you if any of the websites you stored passwords for has a security breach.
1Password has a list of impressive features that make it one of the best password managers available. The interface is organized, and the app allows you to categorize your passwords by eighteen different types of labels—from work to vacation—and add separate vaults for personal and business accounts, making it very user friendly.
1Password stores multiple important file types, including credit card numbers and PIN codes, and you can feel secure knowing that data is only accessible via a personalized PIN or fingerprint ID. You can also log in from anywhere, as 1Password automatically syncs between all your devices.
Cost: This app charges a one-time fee of $4.99 for iPhone and iPad, $5.99 for Android, and $19.99 for Macs.
Unique Feature: Recognizing both style and substance, oneSafe allows you to customize the look of your app.
With the slogan “like Fort Knox in your pocket,” oneSafe provides security you can rely on. The app includes ready-made templates for you to securely enter your private information in various categories. Once you log in to the elegant mobile interface, everything from passwords to personal data is accessible through the interactive dashboard.
The encrypted program automatically locks after a period of inactivity for extra security, and it even includes a decoy safe with fake login information to trick potential hackers. Users can also sync oneSafe across devices using either iCloud or Dropbox. While most other password manager apps on this list require a subscription for the full version, oneSafe allows you to buy it outright at a low cost.
Cost: The basic version for one device is available for free. The pro version is available for $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year. Business pricing depends on the number of subscribers.
Unique Feature: SplashID Pro allows you to safely share information, even with people who do not use SplashID themselves.
One of the most user-friendly password managers, SplashID has a lasting reputation. The on-screen dashboard separates passwords by categories, and each entered account can be personalized with various information. You can input your credit card information, add a picture with the photo capture tool, and even add additional notes to each file. And the app’s safe-sharing mode lets you share information with users and non-users alike.
It also has a strong pedigree of safety, including comprehensive security features that provide feedback on vulnerabilities in your records, display usage statistics, and review password strength. SplashID Pro is where all these features come in. All of the other apps on this list offer free versions that, while missing some features, are comparable to their respective paid versions. So if you’re looking for a free password manager, pass over SplashID basic.
As technology and life become more connected, a digital takeover of even one of your online accounts could turn your life upside down. Protect your identity with one of these helpful password manager apps.
Written by Emily Long
Emily Long is a safety expert for SafeWise.com. She is passionate about promoting safe and healthy habits for day-to-day living. When she isn’t writing about safety and well-being, she can be found teaching yoga, road tripping, or hiking in the mountains. Learn more