Password management apps like Dashlane are a revolution in the industry. Gone are the days of stumbling through 15 different passwords for 15 different websites and trying to remember which one has your college roommate’s dog’s name, and which one has your college dog’s roomate’s name. Password managers are the great equalizer because it means there’s only one password to memorize for everything. Even better, once you’ve got the master password you can command the password manager to change the rest of them as often as you want, with no fear of losing the passwords.
The problem is that even password management apps can fall on hard times, like if your computer rashes or if your backup drives are encrypted and you no longer have access to the decrypt key. Computers crash all the time and they aren’t always capable of coming back to life, no matter how many times you take them to the company computer guy to be looked over. When machines are dead, they are dead, and that usually means that whatever was on them at the time of demise is dead with them.
Fortunately, there are fail safes in place for when the worst happens. Here are a few of the can’t miss products that should be utilized to keep all your passwords safe even if your computer decides to take the final swan dive into that great CPU heaven in the sky.
Leave it to the legacy of Steve Jobs to figure out how to keep your passwords safe, even if your computer winds up in the trash. Apple’s iCloud Keychain can store passwords and can sync with your iCloud account. However here’s the rub that keeps the two apart. Going to your iCloud account on a computer or other device will not give you access to the passwords, thus hackers are powerless to steal your passwords just by having your login or password. The only way to gain access to those passwords is to have one of the devices under your control, that’s where the decrypt keys are stored. So if your Mac crashes, you can use your iPhone or iPad to recover your passwords. If you have an existing device with iCloud Keychain active, you can recover your Safari and all app passwords by following Settings>Passwords & Accounts>Website & App Passwords in macOS, then use Applications>Utilities.Keychain Utility and click the iCloud keychain in the list of Keychains, or if you’re on Safari, go to Safari>Preferences>Passwords.
Third-party password managers
When you sign up with a reputable third-party password manager like Dashlane, make sure you go to the website and see if there is a central website you can visit in order to retrieve your passwords if your device crashes. If the password manager only lets you download an app and recover your passwords from that app, make sure that you download it to every device you own so that if one fails you’re not out of luck for signing into your accounts.