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The best password managers for PCs, Macs, and mobile devices

Tim Ferrill | June 19, 2014
6 local and cloud-based password managers make passwords stronger and online life easier for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone users

Two-factor support in SplashID only provides an extra layer of security when registering a new device (not on each login), requiring you to enter a six-digit code sent via email. While a registered device paired with a password technically meets the definition of two-factor authentication (something you have and something you know), it's not quite up to par with services offering support for Google Authenticator or other two-factor methods. SplashID Safe offers a pattern unlock feature as an alternative to a master password, but I found this feature to be somewhat inconsistent.

Other contenders

It's always nice when a security product is backed by a brand synonymous with computer security, and Symantec's Norton Identity Safe certainly has that factor in its favor. Identity Safe has another plus: It's completely free. You have a number of free password managers to choose from, but none are cloud services operated by a software vendor with a level of trust built up over decades. Norton Identity Safe used to be part of a Norton security suite, but it's now a stand-alone service with a Web front end and clients for Windows, iOS, and Android.

RoboForm is a popular password manager and form filler, but it falls short of the leading contenders on a few counts. Though it offers synchronization across multiple platforms, there is no Web app, two-factor authentication, or sharing capability. Individual RoboForm desktop licenses can be purchased outright for Mac or PC at a price of $29.95, and a Windows portable version for USB storage is available for $39.95. RoboForm also offers subscription-based licensing for $19.95 per year, which provides synchronization and access through mobile apps on iOS, Android, Windows 8, and Windows Phone.

KeePass isn't the only open source password manager. There's also Password Safe, currently available for Windows in both installable and portable versions, and for Linux in a beta version. Password Safe is not nearly as feature-rich or mature as KeePass, and I'd be hard-pressed to give you a reason to use it over its big brother. That said, Password Safe is a viable alternative, and if all you need is a local password manager, the decision may come down to which program you find easier to use. The result may be Password Safe.

My1Login has both a free version, supported through advertisements and affiliate links to partner sites, and a pro version, which eliminates the ads and affiliate links for $2 per month. My1Login offers features commonly found in the other contenders such as secure sharing and strong password generation. The problem with My1Login is that the entire service is Web-based, with mobile support coming through the mobile Web app only. While My1Login is enthusiastic about the minimal setup requirements due to the lack of client applications, I find this method to be more difficult to use in the long term.

 

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