Passwords are extremely important in a world where we have more accounts than we know what to do with. Many of us likely have multiple email accounts, social media accounts, an Amazon and Netflix account, and tons and tons of other things. That also means that we either have more passwords than we’re physically able to keep up with, or we use the same two or three passwords for everything on the internet, neither of which is a good idea.
That’s where password managers come in. Instead of having to remember every single password for every single account you own, you’ll only have to remember one password for your password manager, and it stores your passwords for everything else. Using a password manager is great for your account security, and it’s incredibly convenient for anyone with tons and tons of accounts.
Like anything else, though, there are plenty of password managers to choose from on Android. In this guide, we’ll go over the best of what’s available to get you started.
LastPassis an extremely popular choice that’s been around for a while. It covers all the bases of what most people look for in a password manager, and it does it without being too flashy or without too many excessive features.
You set up LastPass with a single master password, then begin storing your passwords in its database. For the security-minded, LastPass uses 256-bit AES encryption and handles all of the encrypting and decrypting locally, not in the cloud. That’s a fairly secure way of doing things, and since LastPass did unfortunately deal with a small hack in the middle of 2015, they’ve since ramped up measures to keep everything safe and secure. When storing passwords, LastPass also offers a very powerful and flexible password generator so you aren’t using simple phrases that would be easy to guess for anyone trying to break into your accounts.
Besides technical security, LastPass offers some cool features that you’ll actually notice while using it. The interface is quick and easy to navigate, borrowing heavily from Google’s famous Material Design language, and everything can be categorized and sorted by custom labels and folders, making it extremely easy to find a particular password. You can also secure the app with a fingerprint for an additional layer of security, so you won’t actually need to punch in your password every time you want to access your password bank.
Passwords aren’t the only thing that LastPass is good for, though, since the app has added the ability to store a few other things in its database. You can create secure notes and form fills, which include things like addresses and credit card numbers. Most browsers support this to an extent, but none are blocked behind heavy security and encryption like LastPass. You can also share certain folders and passwords with other users (say you have a shared Netflix account for everyone in your family) and there’s an option to set up an emergency contact in case someone else needed to get ahold of your passwords for any reason. If you’re extremely privacy-conscious, there’s also a LastPass browser and keyboard that are extremely barebones but don’t track or store any info from you.
The free version of LastPass works on a single device, like your Android phone or tablet, or your desktop computer, but for $12 per year you can sync to as many devices as you’d like. Premium also includes sharing passwords and opens up two-factor authentication, which is probably one of the most secure ways to protect your info. You have to pay for the full year in advance, but at $1 per month, it’s pretty affordable for the convenience and security.
Dashlaneis the most similar and most competitive service to LastPass, offering a slightly more polished experience with a few extra features for more money. The concept is still the same; create a master password for your account, then begin storing your passwords, notes, and payment methods. The service secures everything with 256-bit AES encryption and takes security very seriously.
One area where Dashlane has a leg up is in its interface, however. I’m as big of a fan of Material Design as anyone, but Dashlane sticks to its own rules and made an extremely polished UI that’s simple to navigate around. The pop-ups for entering information are less intrusive than what you see with other password managers, but still somehow manage to work better. Android also sports a floating bubble on screen to help you quickly punch in info, too. You’ll still get the fingerprint authentication that’s offered in other apps, plus password generators, note storage, and all the other standard features.
Where Dashlane really shines is with its extra, automated features. The digital wallet offered is one of the most unique things on our list, which gives you a way to quickly store your payment information to input on shopping sites. However, the digital wallet also takes a screenshot of receipts and itemizes what you’ve been buying, which helps you keep track of what you’ve purchased and where your money is going. Most of us probably just trash those receipt emails in our inbox, but Dashlane autonomously takes care of that for you.
The app also audits your security for you, tracking any site that you have stored on your account. It gives out a security score that lets you know how well you’re doing with your passwords, and if you’ve got some weak passwords, gives you a quick way to change them to something more secure. Dashlane offers bulk, automated password changing on supported websites, so it can even update your passwords without you having to do anything. If an account that you use is breached, it will also proactively alert you to the breach to get your password changed ASAP.
Here’s the kicker for Dashlane: it’s $39.99 per year. There aren’t any options for monthly subs, and compared to something like LastPass, it’s nearly four times as expensive. You can use the free version if you don’t want device syncing, so if you’re only looking for password management on a single device, it’s fine, but I feel like most of us at least have another laptop or tablet around that could benefit from syncing. That’s not to say that it isn’t worth it at $40 for 12 months, because the app does offer some extremely useful features that you can’t get anywhere else, but the price tag clearly won’t be for everyone.
1Passwordis a slightly more simplified way to keep your passwords in sync, and for those of you that hate recurring costs, it’s one of the few apps that you can pay for once and be done with. It’s a pretty basic app otherwise, with fingerprint authentication, a built-in browser and keyboard for quickly accessing your stored passwords, and a strong password generator.
The app stores passwords, payment methods, and other info, and actually offers a pretty great interface that’s better than some of the other less expensive options. It does take a different approach to syncing your information that doesn’t involve storing anything about you, so if you’re looking for a nearly-completely offline approach to storing your passwords, this is it.
Instead of your passwords being backed up to a server from 1Password, you can either sync things through one of two cloud services, or over WiFi. Syncing things over WiFi relies on your desktop being on the same WiFi network as your mobile device, then keeping things in step that way. While it’s a manual process and a little more inconvenient, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t the most secure way of doing things.
If the WiFi network sync is too much of a hassle, 1Password can back your passwords up to Dropbox or iCloud. I can’t imagine too many of our readers are relying very heavily on iCloud, so Dropbox would be the only option for an Android user. (iCloud sync wouldn’t help your Android device, even if you had some Apple products, anyway)
This essentially replaced a company’s servers with Dropbox, and stores an encrypted database on your Dropbox account, so you’d definitely want a secure password and two-factor authentication set up there. But as long as you maintain your Dropbox security, you won’t have to worry about 1Password ever being hacked and losing any of your info.
1Password’s biggest drawback is its confusing pricing scheme. It’s $49 per desktop OS (Windows and OS X) and $10 per mobile OS (Android and iOS) that are one-off payments, nothing yearly or monthly. Premium allows you to store an unlimited number of items in your database, and includes some extra organization tools. Up front, that’s a little pricey but over several years it’s a significantly cheaper option. That one-time payment is likely because 1Password doesn’t do any storing on their end, expecting everything to be kept by the user for security.
So, if you have a Windows computer, an iPad, and an Android device, you’d be out $70 for a $49 Windows license and two $9.99 mobile licenses. Granted, you can probably mix and match depending on which features you want on which platform, but it can be a little daunting to figure out at first. Still, this decentralized approach keeps everything in your own hands, which arguably makes 1Password one of the most secure solutions on this list.
Password Safeis an Android-only, totally offline solution for storing your passwords. It’s a heavily Material Design-inspired app with just a few extra features, so if you need something simple and lightweight, this is it.
The app secures everything behind your master password using 128-bit encryption, or 256-bit encryption for Pro users. It offers a password generator that you can even use from a widget on your home screen, and it organizes and stores everything for you locally with no internet access or unnecessary Android permissions. For someone that relies heavily on their Android phone without needing a tablet or a computer, this is the way to go.
The Pro version offers some useful extra features, like fingerprint authentication, attaching pictures to entries, custom entry fields, automatic logout, and a unique self-destruct feature for a very powerful layer of security. The app does also support exporting its database, which you can then upload to Dropbox/Drive/etc. which allows for manually backing up and restoring your info, but since it doesn’t have internet permissions in Android, that’s the extent of its syncing and backup functionality.
Password Safe only costs $3.49 for the Pro features, which is by far the cheapest solution on this list. It’s customizable, it’s secure, and it takes Material Design to heart, so there’s a lot to like even if it’s short on the feature list.
Enpassis one of the most cross-platform solutions available that also tries to avoid collecting any data about you, for security purposes. It doesn’t require any kind of account through Enpass and syncs using popular cloud storage, and it offers affordable extensions and apps for almost every platform you might have.
When you start up Enpass, you’ll be required to set a master password, and that’s it. No other passwords, no email addresses, just the password. From here you can set up fingerprint authentication, auto-lock settings, and start storing passwords. Enpass offers 256-bit encryption and a strong password generator, which you should probably expect as a standard for any password managers at this point.
You can import other password databases into Enpass if you’re migrating over, but the app also supports backing things up to OneDrive, Drive, Dropbox, Box, and a few other cloud services. That covers just about all platforms for syncing, including some more obscure systems like BlackBerry OS and Linux distributions. In fact, Enpass also offers apps for those platforms on its website, with links to Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Linux downloads. Plus, it supports all of the major platforms, too, so anyone using Windows, OS X, iOS, or Android will be covered. A dedicated Chrome OS download is the only thing missing, but considering there’s a Chrome extension, you’re still covered.
Otherwise, Enpass supports storing a ton of information and offers some in-depth customization to get things working exactly how you like them. On Android, the app offers a pretty slick interface that’s pleasant to navigate. It’s not the best on this list, but it’s close. It also has templates for things like licenses and travel info, plus several others, which is something that’s fairly unique to Enpass.
Enpass is completely free on the desktop, while mobile apps cost $10 to store more than 20 items. It could get a little pricey if you’re using iOS and Android, but even then $20 for two lifetime licenses shouldn’t break the bank.
It’s tough to recommend Enpass over some of the other services, but if you need support for some more obscure platforms and are looking to save a few bucks in exchange for losing a few features, it’s probably the best budget-friendly password manager you can find.
Free desktop app, only pay for mobile
Extensions and autofill for mobile apps
Extensions on major browsers
Syncs through personal cloud storage (Dropbox, Box, etc)