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Stop using your birthday, start using one of these password manager apps

Liane Cassavoy | Jan. 29, 2015
It's no secret that creating – and remembering! – secure password is a must these days. These apps can help.

Sure, you could go without a password manager--if you want to try to remember all of your super-secure passwords and login credentials on your own, or if you live dangerously and use the same password for all of your accounts. But let's get real: There's no reason to do that, not when there are so many excellent password managers out there that can store passwords securely for you, and generate them, too.

LastPass has long been my favorite desktop password manager, but I've never been bowled over by its mobile version, available for Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Windows Phone devices. The desktop version just works: Install it as a browser extension and never worry about remembering a password again. But I always found the mobile version too clumsy to actually be useful, requiring too much back-and-forth between the LastPass app and my mobile browser.

I'm happy to say that things have improved greatly with the most recent version of LastPass mobile. Much of the improvement is thanks to the browser that's built into the LastPass app. While this was, apparently, a feature of earlier versions of LastPass, it was difficult to find. Now, it's prominently presented to you when you open the app.

If you already have a LastPass account, you'll see all of your logins and passwords that you've stored in your LastPass Vault, ready and waiting for you. You can browse to any of those sites and opt to copy your password credentials, or to have the info entered for you automatically. LastPass's browser is not as slick as most mobile browsers; it certainly won't give the iOS version of Safari a run for its money. But it's a very handy way to access the sites you need to log into securely.

Less impressive is the option for using bookmarklets in the mobile version of Safari to replicate the desktop experience. The option is hidden deep within the LastPass settings menu--and, thanks to the convoluted directions, I was unable to install this option properly.

LastPass is available in free and Premium versions for use on the desktop, but you will need to upgrade to Premium in order to access LastPass's mobile apps. LastPass Premium costs $12 per year.

1Password is very similar to LastPass. In fact, it's so similar that choosing between the two often comes down to a few small differences. Both store login information in secure vaults and generate secure passwords when needed. Both offer digital wallets for storing payment information and can help fill in forms. And both mobile apps offer built-in browsers that let you surf the Web, and Safari bookmarklets for filling in information while using iOS's own browser.


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