The Best Password Manager for Every OS and Platform

Password managers are a crucial part of modern user security. How can you use sufficiently complex passwords if you can’t remember them? If you’re getting started with a password manager, you’ll want the best password manager for every platform. Just about every password manager offers multi-platform sync and support, but that doesn’t mean one password manager can rule them all.

Passwords are a terrible means of securing data. But they’re mostly terrible because people use them incorrectly. They repeat passwords, use short passwords and create easily-guessed passwords. The best way to overcome this weakness is removing the human from the equation.

When you use a password manager, you’re substituting a computer for your own abilities. And computers are awesome at storing and creating data, which is exactly what passwords do. A password manager securely stores your existing passwords, generates new complex passwords, and auto-fills passwords when you want to sign in to user accounts.

Each password manager has its own quirks, but there are some clear winners in the pack. We’ve stuck mostly to commercial offerings in this review: while good free open-source password managers exist, they’re often not easy for the less technical to implement. Commercial password managers aren’t perfect, but you don’t have to worry about fixing your own problems.

password-managers-windows-dashlane

On Windows, Dashlane is our favorite password manager. It has a complete feature set, including storage for everything from passwords to bank accounts. The browser extensions have magic-level auto-fill skills and provide contextual options for generating and saving new and secure passwords. Dashlane includes clients for macOS, iOS, and Android and starts at $40 per year.

LastPass makes a strong runner-up. LastPass, which is primarily a browser extension, provides a feature-rich free version and supports two-factor authentication, a somewhat rare feature in our collection. Dashlane doesn’t support 2FA, but its overall usability is better.

password-managers-macos-1password

Our favorite macOS password manager is 1Password. The app is beautifully integrated with macOS, with a friendly aesthetic that matches Apple’s core software. It relies on context menu hooks to generate and fill passwords, as well as a menu bar icon and a full-featured application. Killer features like Travel Mode protect your passwords while crossing borders, and family plans can share passwords between accounts easily. You can also upload up to 1 GB of data to your secure vault, a rare and extremely valuable feature among password managers.

Dashlane is a solid runner-up for macOS, but it’s not as reliable as 1Password. In several years of use, we found Dashlane often filled information incorrectly or tried to autofill fields that had nothing to do with personal or account information. While 1Password doesn’t offer the same near-magic autofill, it’s also free from annoying bugs in that system.

1Password includes clients for iOS and Android, as well as Windows. User accounts start a $3/month, including global sync and 365-day backup of your account information.

password-managers-linux-enpass

Enpass is free on desktop, so the Linux version is no cost and open source. A mobile version is available for a one-time payment of $10, but you’ll have to provide your own sync in the form of Dropbox or similar cloud storage.

KeePassX is a more mature password manager that has many fans on Linux. It’s completely free but doesn’t include any kind of sync or mobile application. Auto-fill is also a little hit or miss (it’s listed as “experimental” in the feature set), but that could improve over time.

password-managers-1password-ios

As in macOS, 1Password is our favorite iOS password manager. It includes all the top features you’ll want in a password manager on your device. It’s easy to search for and copy passwords, there’s tight integration with Safari and apps that support password managers, and logging into the app supports both Face ID and Touch ID.

Dashlane is an excellent second option. It’s not as tightly integrated with the Apple ecosystem as 1Password, but it includes many of the same features. Choose your mobile password manager based on sync capabilities with your primary desktop device.

password-managers-keeper-android

Keeper is a multi-platform password manager, but it’s especially effective on Android. You’ll find the same features of other mobile password managers like secure password management and generation, but Keeper also sports super-simple password sharing and support for two-factor authentication with KeeperFill. That’s a killer feature that dramatically simplifies using more secure login methods, which is what password managers are all about.

Finding the right password manager is all about what fits your needs. Whatever you choose, make sure the manager fits comfortably with your needs and current workflow process. Security that’s difficult to use is security you’ll ignore.

7 comments

  1. Enpass works great, and it’s multiplatform. From mobile devices to desktop/laptop devices. Syncs through personal cloud such as Google drive, Dropbox, etc.. been using it for many years and highly recommended.

    Cheers

  2. I can’t believe you left out RoboForm. It’s one of the first password managers that appeared, or at least I’ve been using it for years. It’s got so many tools, and I’ve used it in windows, iOS and Android most of the time without issue.

  3. I have been using KeePass2 for years sharing my password database across all my Windows and Android devices. Simple to use with most features presented in a user-friendly way so not difficult to learn. It’s also totally free.

    • Agree with Peter, and also works with Linux and Mac as well. Additional feature as seen in Oreo, can autosave sign-in information into Keepass2 and also load the information from Keepass2 into the signon from the app. In both cases you have to first sign-on to keepass2 to use the feature.

  4. I had high hopes for Dashlane but found it’s interface design to be quite amateurish. I was using the Apple OS X version.

    1) The e-mail and website addresses were automatically converted to lowercase. I enter them in camel case for readability and there is no reason to modify them.

    2) If the e-mail address and username are the same the username field is cleared. They are two different fields and should be trated as such.

    3) A website is required even if there is no associated website, or it’s unknown or not used.

    4) Similar login entries disappear, get deleted, before second/confirmation screen.

    5) Unable to sort category list in edit mode. At least it should default to alphabetical.

  5. Like Peter Shaw, I have been using Keepass/ Keepass2 for years. I run it on MacOS, Windows and Linux as well as IOS and Android versions ( MiniKeePass and KeePassDroid). You have control over the generated password strength and character contentThey all share the same KDB database as Keepass (first version). Unfortunately, no syncing capability but I wear the inconvenience as I am too paranoid to let the database leave my devices.

  6. I have been using Last Pass for a few years now. I wanted to switch over to Dashlane after your strong positive review a few months ago. I found that, even after getting the support staff at Dashlane involved, I could not install it on my Galaxy S8+. Without the cross-platform usability and the additional cost, I decided to staff with a rock-solid performer for me… LastPass has always responded immediately to any issue that I may have and solved the problem quickly. However, I’ve only had to contact them on a few occasions, which a couple were my fault. Without a doubt, Last Pass is the password manager for me as it is the best.

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