How do you keep track of your passwords today? A sticky note on your desk? A spreadsheet on your desktop called "passwords.xls"?
What about the actual passwords you use? Are they secure using upper and lower case characters, numbers, and special characters or are you using the same password for every site and app you use?
If your current way of keeping up with your passwords is anything like these examples, you're going to LOVE Password Manager apps. Password manager apps let you securely store every password for every app and site you use all in one convenient location.
Think of this like a more secure and easier to use sticky-note for your passwords that you can access on every device you own.
The way these apps work is that they ask you to memorize one strong password that lets you access all your other passwords. Instead of remembering a password for every app and website you use, you only have to remember one master password to access all your other passwords.
Now while this might seem difficult to memorize a really secure master password, you can make this easier on yourself by choosing words that mean something to you and replacing specific letters. For example, let's say your favorite NBA Basketball team is the Dallas Mavericks. You could substitute the "a" letters with an "@" symbol, the "s" character with a dollar sign "$", and the "i" letter with a number one "1" to spell: "D@ll@$M@ver1ck$".
This gives you a 15-character password that uses upper and lower case characters, numbers, and special characters that is extremely secure and is SUPER easy to remember since it's your favorite team! If you're not a sports fan, feel free to substitute your favorite movie, TV show, or band as well :)
What's really great about this is that some password manager apps take advantage of things like Touch ID on your iPhones and iPads so you usually don't even have to type in your master password. We personally use the password manager called 1Password and to give you an idea of how easy it is to use, let's say I need to know my Instagram password:
1. I launch the 1Password app and use my thumbprint with Touch ID instead of typing in my master password:
2. I browse through the list of passwords I have saved to find my Instagram account:
3. I swipe right on this account and tap "Copy Password" and the password for this account is now on my clipboard so I can paste it into the app or website I'm looking at:
4. (Optional) Instead of copying the password, I can also tap on it and reveal the password if I want to see what it is:
1Password even has a feature where it will generate extremely secure passwords for you. I told it to use 15 characters with upper and lower case letters, numbers, and two special characters and take a look at what it came up with:
Normally I'd cringe at the idea of even typing, much less remembering, a password like "XfnR#tRbwq9pr(r" but since I'm using 1Password, I don't ever have to remember or type out this crazy password.
I just remember my master password for accessing the 1Password app and the password manager app does all the hard work for me.
I can access my passwords securely from any device I own and never have to worry about losing track of them. My wife and I share the same password vault as well so that there's never any issue or confusion about what the login is for the bank, Netflix, or our garage code. Try doing all of that with a sticky note :)
Which Password Manager Apps are the Best?
- It works and syncs across Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Android devices.
- It uses Touch ID to save time when logging in.
- It has a Chrome extension that lets you save new logins to your password vault when you create them.
- The app and company have a fantastic track record in terms of keeping user data safe.
If you start using a password manager after reading this article or have any other questions on how they work, please let us know in the comments below or stop by our Facebook community to chat!