Password Manager for Parents, 2020 edition
February 1, 2020 10:19 AM   Subscribe

Which password manager with a family plan is better for my less tech-savvy parents on iOS/iPads: 1Password or LastPass?

They have iPhones and a Macbook, but spend 99% of their time on iPads, so a well-designed iPad app is the most important.

It will be a family plan so they can share passwords for things like the power company or the bank, so ease of shared passwords is important.

I'll be added on the family plan so I can help remotely provide tech support, but hopefully it will be easy enough to use that won't be necessary.
posted by bluecore to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I love the 1Password family plan. I use it for me and my wife, but also our mothers who are both over 75. You can set it up to share a vault or keep separate vaults for passwords. It’s been great. I used 1Password as a single use for maybe a decade as well.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:34 AM on February 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

Can't speak to LastPass but have used 1Password in a shared arrangement with my husband for years. One thing I don't love is that it doesn't have a great built-in way to automate dumping old passwords when things change. For example our bank changed their log-in site. You have to manually remove old log-ins - with no useful prompt from the software. Other than that it's easy to use.
posted by leslies at 12:09 PM on February 1, 2020

The 1Password UI is approximately 10000 times better than LastPass, IMO, but I tried to get my heavy iPad-using, relatively tech-savvy mother on it last year and she had enough trouble that I eventually gave up and let her just write her passwords in a notebook like she wanted to. (I think this is a completely fine solution - it doesn't leave the house, and there's no one with access to the house likely to do anything nefarious with it. YMMV)
posted by corvine at 12:45 PM on February 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

I've got extensive experience with LastPass, but probably wouldn't recommend it here. I've been using LastPass both at work and personally since 2012 and would say that it is now harder to use than a few years ago. I'll describe some of the challenges your parents (and indirectly, you) might experience. Most of these are things in the ecosystem that probably impact all password managers.

#1 Competing with the OS password manager. The apple keychain will also helpfully try to remember passwords for you, and if you don't recognize it as a different thing, it is easy to get confused. You can disable keychain in settings on iOS and iPadOS.

#2 Fingerprint IDs. Lots of financial apps (and others) are going to offer you a fingerprint as substitute for password. Potentially confusing if working across multiple devices and they don't all have fingerprint (e.g. the Macbook you mentioned)

#3 Competing with the browser password manager. All of the major browsers have now also integrated password managers, so they will also helpfully try to remember (and autofill) passwords for you. Again, another place where you can get confused about where your password is. Off the top of my head, I don't remember if they can all be turned off in all, I've had varying degrees of success disabling this.

#4 Adding new ID/password (LastPass specific). The workflow for getting a user-ID password into the tool isn't great on the mobile devices. One a full browser (like the Macbook) with the LastPass plugin, it does a pretty decent job. In any event, you might give some thought to sitting down with them to onboard all of their primary user IDs and passwords.

#5 Sites/apps that break. Some small fraction of sites either use their own security scheme that circumvents the password manager or their site (for whatever reason) breaks the autofill. Example: USAA uses an additional four digit PIN as an augment and LastPass doesn't know what to do with it.

#6 Accessibility. (LastPass specific for Macbook) LP flags a web form that it can autofill with an asterisk on the right side of the ID and password fields. Clicking on the asterisk brings up a submenu. If your parents don't have great eyesight or motor skills, it can be difficult to use.
posted by kovacs at 1:25 PM on February 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

LastPass just announced that they are discontinuing the native Mac app. It’s not always bad news when this happens, but it’s not good news, and it can be a sign that a company is in commercial trouble or doesn’t treat usability as a priority.
posted by caek at 2:26 PM on February 1, 2020

My 79-year-old mother has been a very devoted Dashlane user for a while. I didn't pick it for her -- I use 1Password -- but DL works for her in a way that means she actually uses it.
posted by uberchet at 4:52 PM on February 2, 2020

« Older How can I make the most of a solo creative retreat...   |   Crash Course In Classic Disney Characters For a... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.