If you find yourself consistently getting locked out of one online account or another because you’re drawing a blank when you try to log in, it’s time to consider a password manager to help you seamlessly oversee and handle all your login credentials. Password managers are also handy for auto-filling forms and syncing your data across Windows PCs and Macs, iPhones, iPads, Android phones and more.
Password managers are pieces of software that often take the form of apps, browser plugins or they might be included automatically in your browser or computer operating system. With a few clicks, you can generate new, secure passwords that are long, unique and complex. These passwords managers automatically store your passwords and can autofill them when you arrive at the site.
Advantages of a password manager
- Password managers not only let you manage hundreds of unique passwords for your online accounts, but some of the services also offer other advantages
- Saves time
- Works across all your devices and operating systems
- Protects your identity
- Notify you of potential phishing websites
- Alerts you when a password has potentially become compromised
Three reasons a password manager is the best way to keep passwords safe:
- Encryption: Quality password managers encrypt all of the passwords stored on them, no matter whether the passwords are stored on your device or on the company’s servers. This means that your passwords would be basically impossible to decode if a hacker tried to breach your password manager. The only access to your passwords on a password manager is with a password only you know.
- Multi-Factor Authentication: Because your password vault on a password manager is so valuable, the best password managers require multi-factor authentication for you to log in. This means that anyone trying to view your passwords from unfamiliar device will need to log in multiple ways. This can include a facial ID, fingerprint scan, inputting a code you get in an SMS text message or approving the log-in attempt on a separate app. This builds another wall around your passwords, so you know they are kept extra-secure.
- Zero Knowledge: As the name suggests, zero knowledge means a password manager does not know what your password is – the company does not store the keys needed to decrypt the main password that unlocks your vault. This means that your main password is never kept on the system’s servers. You are the only one who knows it, so you should make it strong and protect it with MFA.
All our best password manager picks come in free versions, which typically let you securely store passwords for one device. Here’s the list: