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. I don’t know of a better password management app. But better comes with a price. 1Password is cross platform, more complex than ever, has a hefty learning curve, and a price tag to match. Plus, I fear the subscription model is coming soon. Pay by the month. Forever.
I’ve done a little back-of-the-envelope calculating and figured out that LastPass, another highly touted Mac password manager app, has most of the features I want and need, works on almost anything– including Mac, iPhone, iPad– and is an absolute bargain at free, and the Premium version, though also subscription, is an affordable $1 per month.
What do you get in the free version of LastPass? All the basics.
Browser sync for Mac, Windows, and Linux, and now mobile devices. Automated login and form filling, and a built-in password generator, plus multi-factor authentication. The annual subscription of $1 per month adds a shared family folder, more multi-factor authentication options, priority tech support, LastPass options for third party apps, and 1GB of online storage.
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 to other devices. 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 data securely 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.
You can also use LastPass to fill in forms with a user profile.
LastPass has an option to create and store secure notes, share passwords and notes, can fill in the online forms automatically when you shop or buy online. It even handles two-factor authentication. There’s much to like here and because the entry-level price is free, you can try it out first, Mac, iPhone, or iPad (something you cannot do with 1Password for iOS).
Subscriptions are becoming the norm among good Mac, iPhone, and iPad apps, so I appreciate the fact that competition also means choice. LastPass is one of those choices I can recommend to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, knowing there’s a bit of support implied in the relationship.