Passwords can be one of the most frustrating parts of using modern technology. Assuming you follow basic online security principles and have unique passwords for every account, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them all.
The easiest solution to this problem is to use a password manager on your phone or tablet. These apps store all of your passwords and sensitive information behind a master password, keeping them easily accessible but secure at the same time.
Unfortunately, iOS devices don’t come pre-loaded with a password management system that plays nicely with all platforms. If iCloud Keychain isn’t what you are looking for, then one of the other apps in this list might be a better option!
If you’re still a little foggy on why passwords need to be secure, what different types of encryption mean, or other password essentials, I highly recommend starting with Chris’ article on everything you need to know about passwords and our password management guide.
Before you start downloading apps, it’s important to know the capabilities that your iPad or iPhone already has. The iCloud Keychain can (with permission) automatically store all of your Safari usernames and passwords, credit card information, and WiFi network information and share them between authorized devices. Supported devices are of course Apple devices (including Macs running OS X 10.10 Yosemite or later), and iCloud Keychain doesn’t extend to Windows or Linux operating systems.
For many users, this kind of password storage will be enough – it’s easy, it uses industry standard encryption, and it does everything automatically. If you want to change your iCloud keychain settings, they can be accessed under Settings > iCloud. Read more about what iCloud Keychain is, why you might want it and how to use it.
With that being said, if you’re looking for a password management strategy that goes beyond these features then one of these seven apps might be a better choice for you.
Cost: Free, $12/year for LastPass Premium, or $24/User/Year for LastPass Enterprise (intended for team use)
Best Features: All of your passwords are securely contained behind a single master password, and can be auto-filled into your online accounts across browsers. Passwords are easy to save, search, and can be organized into folders. You can also use LastPass Free to create secure notes and generate new, secure passwords.
Security: AES-256 bit encryption and salted hashing.
Cons: A premium subscription is required to access syncing across devices, a family folder, and priority tech support. So while LastPass is technically “free” on iOS, it’s not really worth it unless you pay.
Cost: Free, or $13.99 for Pro Features
Best Features: The basic 1Password app is one of the only free password management options that allows you to sync your vault across devices and share your information across a team of authorized people using end-to-end encryption. You can also store usernames, passwords, credit card information, and notes in plain text, mark items as favorites, and generate new secure passwords.
Security: AES 256-bit encryption, a Touch ID option, and automatic locking to protect your information even if your device is stolen.
Cons: A Pro subscription is required to access other categories (including bank accounts and passports), multiple vaults, Apple Watch compatibility, and organization options like folders and tags.
Cost: Free for mobile app, pro license required on desktop or laptop if you store over 10 passwords ($9.95 for the first year, $19.95/year afterwards)
Best Features: Roboform has been a trusted password management system for many years. The free version can be used across devices and synced with your desktop or laptop, fill web forms with a single click, generate secure passwords, and automatically log in to your web accounts. Your Master Password can be input with either a PIN or through touch authentication.
Security: AES encryption, BlowFish, RC6, or 3DES algorithms with an encryption key generated from your master password.
Cons: No secure password sharing, form fill doesn’t work with smartphone apps
Best Features: oneSafe makes it easy to sort, edit, browse, and sync your categories across devices. Information can be synced via iCloud, Dropbox, or manually, and can be backed up via email, iTunes or Wi-Fi. Secure sharing is available, and OneSafe can also be used for Documents, bank account details, and private photos and/or videos. This app is also more user-friendly and visually appealing than many of the other options available.
Security: AES-256 encryption algorithms. The master password can be a PIN, alphanumeric, pattern, combination lock, or TRI-PIN (combining numbers, colors, and symbols for increased security).
Cons: There are currently no browser extensions available and oneSafe is one of the “new kids on the block” when it comes to password managers.
Best Features: If you aren’t familiar with KeePass, this article by Justin will help you understand the ins and outs of how it works . MiniKeePass is a third-party app developed to help you easily access your KeePass information from your mobile devices. Much like the original KeePass program, the source code for MiniKeePass is readily available so that you can check on the encryption algorithms yourself. MiniKeePass is a no-frills program that offers you a password generator, an integrated web browser experience, and Dropbox compatibility.
Security: AES and Twofish algorithms used for data, Touch ID lock option.
Cons: While this app’s no-nonsense approach to password management is part of what attracts many of its users, it also means that it may not have all the features you are looking for. There’s no syncing included, which means you’ll have to import a KeePass file from a cloud storage service each time you update your passwords. That also means you can’t make changes from within the iOS app and sync them with your main machine. In addition, the app tends to be updated less frequently than many other password managers available.
Cost: The app itself, and storage on your device, is Free. For an Unlimited Sync and Backup subscription the cost is $29.99/year.
Best Features: Keeper is one of the most popular apps in this list because of its large array of features (including a password generator, one-click login, and private file, photo and video storage). The app has an auto logout timer for theft prevention, self-destruct protection, an integrated Apple Watch app, and Touch ID login.
Security: Everything in your vault is encrypted using AES-256 encryption, and the app is TRUSTe and SOC-2 Certified.
Cons: Keeper’s cost is higher than many other apps with similar features, there is no password strength report, and form fills often require multiple steps instead of a single click.
Cost: Free, Premium is $39.99 (in-app purchase)
Best Features: Stores passwords, notes, credit card information, ID details, and itemized receipts in one safe place. Auto-login and strong password generation features are included, you can receive notifications for potential security breaches, and you can instantly change your passwords to make your accounts safer with the “Password Changer” feature. Data can be stored locally or backed up in the cloud, and Dashlane is compatible with Apple Watch.
Security: AES-256 encryption, a Touch-ID lock option, and auto-lock after inactivity.
Cons: Premium is required for instant sync across devices, a secure cloud backup of your passwords, and web app access. Unfortunately, the Dashlane Premium subscription is also one of the more expensive options available.
What is the Best Password Manager for You?
It might seem counter-intuitive to trust your passwords to an app or a browser add-on, but password managers are a safer choice than writing your passwords on scraps of paper or using the same alphanumeric combination for all of your accounts.
When it comes to choosing the password manager app you want to use it will definitely be a matter of personal preference! Explore the apps above and look for the option that best fits your needs with regards to price, security, aesthetics, and function.
Have you used any of the password managers above? What has your experience been? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!