The folks at LastPass are pushing a big update to Android devices today, with long-term plans to make sure your smartphone or tablet can be standalone LastPass systems with all of the same features as the PC version of the service.

Password managers are one of those things that you either rely on entirely or just don't bother with. We live in a world where password rules can be more than a little crazy, and it seems like every other week there's a email sitting in our inboxes from a company announcing a security breach. It has never been more important for your personal security to be taken seriously, and unfortunately that includes having many different passwords for many different services. LastPass is one of several services that tries to make this easier on you by offering to generate secure passwords and storing those passwords in a way that can be securely accessed by you from just about anywhere.

We sat down recently with LastPass CEO Joe Siegrist to talk about the differences between the Android version of LastPass and the Desktop client, and what is being done to decrease the feature gap between the two.

For starters, Android users now have the ability to share credentials from one LastPass user to another securely. This means that when your significant other needs the password to the Netflix account, you aren't passing a username and password over insecure systems like instant messengers or SMS. LastPass users will be able to share folders with one another on Android now as well, so any information you would like to send securely can travel safely. The LastPass update will also make it easier to add many different apps to LastPass, which means apps that require regular sign-in can be handled by LastPass without needed to check that "keep me signed in" box.

If you are currently a LastPass user and want to send something to someone who is not a LastPass user, the service will send them an email with a request to join LastPass before handing over the information you are trying to share. Creating an account is nice and easy, though the LastPass app for Android is going to work hard to get that user to fork over the $12/year for a Premium account after the 14-day free trial. LastPass is absolutely headed in the right direction by making it possible for mobile users to be entirely self contained, and any service that directly encourages people to stop sending passwords over IM or SMS is well worth checking out for yourself.


Reader comments

LastPass update moves to remove PC dependency entirely


Last Pass on mobile devices, like any other password management pgm, is a horror to use. You r forced to use their browser and 7 out of 10 tines the pgm never qorks. I have Last Pass on my laptop and it is great. But trying to duplicate that same, easy to use interface on mobile just doesn't happen.

You can use their launcher or not. I just use the app and copy and paste info. Could not be easier, for peace of mind. I have used LP for years now and it's a must have for me. GLTA

I can't agree with you. I use LastPass, and while there are a few websites that are annoying (you have to click copy username, then paste it, then click copy password, and paste it), for the most part you just click the correct entry in the "Fill With LastPass" pop-up box, and you're done. You might want to check two things - 1) are you using the current version, and 2) you have activated LastPass as an Input Method in your settings.

Exactly. I have never used the LP browser and the only 'annoyance' is occasionally having to copy and paste my password. I guess I could try to manually enter that 40 character randomly generated password with upper/lower case letters, numbers and symbols, but I'll get locked out of my account before I get it correct.

Several months ago, LastPass removed the requirement to use their browser, and now can input information directly into the chrome browser on your android device (usually without the need to copy/paste), assuming your android version is high enough (I think you need Jelly Bean, but I could be wrong.) It actually can input information into other applications too. Sometimes, you have to go into the settings to smooth some confusion (for example, in my Starbucks app, it couldn't figure out that I needed the PayPal password, rather than Starbucks, when reloading fund into my Starbucks card.) I had the same complaint as you until this update was released, then it instantly went from practically unusable to "can't live without."

I had the same complaint as you before, but now it works great, and I find myself using it more and more.

I think that few realize you can install the LastPass Firefox plugin in Mobile FF. Works great and have been using it for probably close to a year.

There is a setting in the LastPass mobile client to use the default browser. So if you click the site name in the app, it will open in whatever your default browser is instead of the LastPass browser.

I used it with Google Chrome on my OnePlus One. Works like a charm for me. You may not have it configured correctly.

that's just not true.

You do not have to use their browser, I never do. Also it can auto fill other login fields through third party apps if you allow it to do so. It works great

Nonsense, Bmilano. I've been using Last Pass on Android for several years and never use their browser. There is a setting to use Chrome or any browser you have installed as the default. Also under the Misc tab in settings, I check "Add Copy Notifications" Click on a site, pull down notification bar, then copy and paste your user name and password. Easy Peasy and a big time saver.

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I was looking for a Password Manager a few weeks ago when I started getting crazy rules for my new accounts (moved towns, got a new accounts at work, etc.) and tried a bunch, LastPass included. In the end, I found that Norton's Identity Safe works wonders and does the same or even more than most of these apps do with a subscription, for free. Can't enter your information directly on Chrome while on mobile, though (AFAIK); for that you still need to use their built-in browser.

So, what is the best password manager app in most people's opinion? I use UPM, which is all on my phone. I believe it encrypts using your password to get into the app. You can back it up and restore it on new devices. It's super easy to use, and doesn't need any internet or desktop version. What do you use, and why?

I decided to go with Last Pass, based on the recommendations of Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte. I'm sure I'm missing something, and I can't say that I've gone through all of their never-ending list of tutorials, but I find Last Pass to be confusing. I get inconsistent auto logins, especially for those sites that independently have two factor authentication, like my bank. Sometimes the login happens, sometimes I get an error message. On some sites that I access through Chrome, the "fill in with Last Pass" prompt shows up, on others, it never does.

My main reason for sticking with Last Pass is that they don't keep your master password credentials, so (theoretically) they have no user data to turn over, no matter how many subpoenas the NSA issues. I also hope that I'll eventually figure out the random generation feature so that I can stop remembering passwords. But, truth be told, I don't feel really comfortable relying on that feature because Last Pass otherwise has been frustrating to use (to me, anyway). Quite a lesson in the trade-off between security and convenience...

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I looked at several password management apps a few months ago. I ended up setting up a KeePass database on my own personal server. With all the problems you hear nowadays of companies losing customer's private data, I didn't want to leave my usernames/passwords in the hands of a 3rd party. Using the keepasshttp plugin in Chrome on my desktop works great and the KeePass2Android application allows me to cut/paste my username/password into any application on my Android devices. I do wish there was something to integrate into the Chrome browser on Android devices, hopefully in time.

I won't use a password manager that stores my data on their servers, for two reasons.

If the company goes bankrupt and disappears overnight, where's my data? Even if it's on my mobile device, my backup just disappeared. And two, if I were a hacker, I would find a cloud service that stores the passwords for millions of user accounts to be a very inviting target.

I also wouldn't use one that keeps my database only on my phone. What happens if I lose the phone? I need to have a backup somewhere.

I user b-folders, which stores my password database on all of my devices, mobile and desktop, and lets me keep them in sync. Even if the company disappears, my copy of the program, and my databases, are still mine. And nothing is stored in anyone's cloud. And there's no annual fee.

You can export a backup of your Lastpass database. You can also use what's called Lastpass Pocket which allows you to run your Lastpass database off of a thumbdrive.

I just don't trust these software with my password.
I have my password file password protected with word and then encrypted.
yeah i am sacrificing convenience for security

I've been using lastpass plug in with dolphin browser for cpl years now and very rarely had any issues. Would recommend this setup to anyone having problems.