Keeping track of login IDs, usernames, passwords, serial numbers, credit card numbers, and other important data is a requirement in the digital age. A painful requirement that touches all of us, especially when we’ve forgotten a password.
That brings me to password manager apps. For years I’ve used 1Password, considered by many to be the end-all be-all, cat’s meow of password management apps. But it comes with a price. 1Password is cross platform but complex and has a hefty learning curve and a price tag to match.
I’ve done a little back-of-the-envelope calculating and figured out that LastPass, itself a premium, multi-platform password manager with similar features costs about the same, even with the annual subscription. The reason for that is 1Password gets updated every couple of years and the upgrade price is roughly the same as the LastPass subscription rate, but there’s also a free version.
What do you get in the free version of LastPass? All the basics.
Browser sync for Mac, Windows, and Linux, but not mobile devices. Automated login and form filling, and a built-in password generator, including multi-factor authentication. The annual subscription version adds the mobile sync options, more multi-factor authentication options, and priority tech support.
As password manager apps go, LastPass works much like 1Password and others. Create a new item, fill in the blanks, and it’s saved, then synced. Browser extensions make it easy to use any popular browser to login to a website without knowing either the username (login ID) or the password.
1Password’s Dropbox storage to sync between devices has always worked well for me but LastPass adds an option to retrieve passwords online using a browser. Also built in to LastPass is a strong password generator which is highly recommended now that you don’t need to create simple passwords that can be remembered.
Also a nice touch is the online shopping option with Profiles. Setup a profile for a credit card, member of your family, complete with addresses, and LastPass can fill in the online forms automatically when you shop or buy online. There’s much to like here and you can try it out first, Mac, iPhone, or iPad (something you cannot do with 1Password for iOS).