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Keeping the data on your Mac safe with secure passwords is now more vital than ever. As more services move online and cyberattacks continue to grow, you cannot use the same password everywhere. The password you choose must also be complex and not easy to guess.
The problem with this requirement is trying to memorise multiple, unique passwords. It is simply not feasible or practical. Thankfully, password managers solve this problem. Here are the top five that you can run on your Mac.
Best password management apps for Mac 2021
How we picked these password managers
Security and ease of use were the two primary criteria used to select this list of password managers. Additional features such as auto-fill capabilities, browser support and device sync also formed part of the review. Read more detail on our methodology below.
- Travel Mode feature
- Password backup
- No free plan
Why we chose it
1Password offers easy management and advanced sharing features. It is simple to use, provides auto-filling capabilities, secure password generation and unlimited device sync.
It also gives you the option to organise your data into multiple vaults and offers a unique feature called "Travel Mode". With this component, you can hide sensitive information on your Mac that you want no-one else to find.
- Slick user interface
- One-click password changer
- Dark web monitoring
- Limited free plan
Why we chose it
Dashlane is easy to use and offers a wide range of features like dark web monitoring and a VPN. It also provides a one-click password importer and secure file storage.
One of the more innovative Dashlane features is its one-click password changer. It audits and then automatically changes your weak or compromised passwords across every website.
- Reasonably priced
- Cloud backup
- Desktop app needs improvement
- Limited free plan
Why we chose it
Keeper offers the best Multi-Factor Authentication experience. It also provides secure file storage and dark web monitoring.
The user interface is clean and straightforward, and it secures your data using two encryption algorithms – 256-bit AES and PBKDF2. Keeper also comes with the KeeperChat encrypted messaging app that lets you send secure messages and files to other users.
- Excellent free plan
- Unlimited passwords
- Multi-device and browser support
- Premium tier might not offer enough extra features for some
Why we chose it
LastPass offers the best free plan features, including password sharing, unlimited passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication. The app does all of its encryption and decryption on your Mac, and also provides secure note and file storage.
The premium plan offers additional features such as emergency access and a larger file storage quota of 1GB. It also enables one-to-many password sharing and provides support for more authentication options.
- Built into macOS and iOS
- Password sync through your iCloud account
- Limited features
- Only works on Apple devices and Safari
Why we chose it
iCloud Keychain is Apple's built-in password manager. If you are a pure Mac disciple, this password manager may work for you. However, it is limited to Apple devices and the Safari browser.
Compared to other password managers on the list, it is very light on features and not intuitive. The iCloud Keychain app on your Mac does not show all your saved usernames and passwords. If you want to view your web-based credentials, you will have to access these via Safari.
- We've compared reviews from everyday Mac users, Apple-related forums and technology publications in determining this list of password managers for your Mac.
- Our editorial team has a combined 60+ years of experience writing about tech and reviewing the latest cybersecurity solutions.
- The products on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not selected based on commercial relationships.
What is a password manager?
A password manager is a software application that allows you to store and manage your passwords in one central, secure location. As you only need to remember one master password, it improves your security as it enables you to use complex, unique passwords for all your online apps and services.
What are the benefits of using a password manager?
The primary benefit of using a password manager is that you only have one password to remember. These applications also have other useful features that simplify your digital life, such as password generators and auto-fill capabilities.
Some of the other helpful capabilities in modern password managers include changing passwords across multiple sites with minimal effort. You can also share passwords securely, and as they encrypt stored data, you can leverage a password manager to store other confidential information.
Most password managers also offer apps for multiple devices and platforms. This functionality allows you to synchronise your encrypted passwords, accessing them on your Mac and mobile phone.
How to compare password managers for Mac
When choosing a password manager for your Mac, select one that meets your needs. As with any other software application, you need to consider the product's cost and its functionality. Compare these core features when deciding which password manager is the right one for you.
- Password storage location. Password managers store your encrypted passwords on your Mac or in the cloud. If you decide to subscribe to a cloud-based service, make sure they maintain Zero-Knowledge protocols. With this assurance in place, only you (not even their administrators) can access your encrypted store.
- Multi-platform and browser support. When choosing a password manager for your Mac, we recommend selecting one with multi-platform and browser support. With this feature, you can synchronise your passwords and access them on your mobile phone or tablet.
- Auto-fill capabilities. A password manager should save you time. One of the key features to test when comparing various options is their auto-fill capability. The password manager you select should be able to auto-fill your login details into every browser you use. If you are also going to be using the password manager on your mobile phone, test this functionality on it as well.
- Ease of use. You should not have to waste any time learning how to use a password manager. The interface must be intuitive and easy to use. When comparing password managers, test it on your Mac, a web browser and your mobile device.
- Additional features. Support for Multi-Factor Authentication, password sharing capabilities and password strength checking are other features you can test. These capabilities increase the strength and extend the usability of your password manager.
How safe are password managers?
Password managers are incredibly safe. Whether it stores your passwords on your Mac or in the cloud, every password manager encrypts your data. Many services leverage double encryption using the best available commercial algorithms like 256-bit AES and PBKDF2. Cloud-based vendors should also maintain Zero-Knowledge protocols, so no-one without the master password can access your confidential information.
Every site, service or application we access with our Mac these days requires a username and password. However, due to the alarming cybercrime rate, a unique, complex password for each one is no longer an option, but a necessity. Password managers provide the perfect balance between the security and convenience needed to secure our digital lives.
Frequently asked questions
Should I use Apple's iCloud Keychain or a third-party password manager?
If you are only using Apple products, then iCloud Keychain will work for you. It's only drawback is its support for third-party apps and services. If you have an Android phone, you cannot sync your passwords. Its interface is also not as user-friendly as some of the dedicated password managers on the list.
What happens if I forget my master password?
If you forget your master password, you can retrieve or reset it using several recovery methods that password managers offer. However, this is not a standard feature. You also need to configure any recovery methods before you start using the application.
Is it safe to store all my passwords in the cloud?
Storing your passwords in the cloud is safe. Because your password manager encrypts your data, no-one can access it without your master password, including any administrators. Even if a hacker gains access to your encrypted vault, your information remains secure.Back to top
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