Even though there are many advanced ways of locking an Android device, the moment you’re on the home screen to use an app or access an online account there is a chance that your most precious data may be sniffed out without you ever even realizing it. To avoid this there are two options: either don’t access your accounts at all – which is completely unrealistic – or opt for the appropriate protection in the form of a password management app.
These apps are not only better than the built-in password managers found in mobile browsers, but they are often available as free miniaturized versions of the best-known desktop password managers on the market.
And with features like an encrypted vault containing app logins and passwords fetched from your desktop browser or the autofilling of credentials into their respective input boxes, these tools provide the exact things that they were intended for: convenience and security.
Top Android Password Manager Apps
Although it lacks crucial features like a password analyzer and password changer, Dashlane’s Android app is a carbon copy of the desktop version with its intelligent categorization of credentials and its option to share logins with other Dashlane users. However, there are certain features exclusive to the mobile app, such as a safe browser that fully supports autofill and autologin. In addition to that, the app can be unlocked by a PIN code or a fingerprint and can also serve as an authentication tool to register the service on other devices.
The Android app comes free with every Dashlane subscription, but it’s worth considering Dashlane Premium, which contains features like cloud syncing between vaults, since it costs no more than $3.33 per month. Note, however, that regardless of the chosen plan all users can enjoy Dashlane Premium for the first 30 days, during which paid subscribers are entitled to money back guarantee.
LastPass is a prime example of how desktop password managers should be adapted to the world of mobile apps. For starters, the app still contains everything its web-based counterpart does, such as the much-appreciated password evaluator or the ability to share passwords with others. However, it manages to up the ante with its smart implementation, best highlighted by including the password generator in the drop-down menu – something that even the desktop software lacks – and the fact that the app is translated into the device’s native language. Additionally, the LastPass app provides a secure browser that not only autofills existing passwords into their respective places but is capable of importing new logins into the vault, too.
To make things even better, LastPass is free of charge, but for just $2 a month you’ll gain access to advanced features like password management for apps, emergency access, additional two-factor authentication options, and 1GB of file storage.
Compared to the other two apps here, Sticky Password’s Android version is quite limited. It’s one thing that the password generator and the security dashboard are missing, but the inability to integrate with the Chrome mobile browser is a grave oversight.
Despite that, the app has still retained the most interesting features, such as storing the passwords of apps and providing multiple online syncing options. However, the app has its own merits too, like the built-in mobile browser with autofill and the option to unlock Sticky Password with a PIN code or fingerprint.
Thankfully, the free version of Sticky Password is barely limited and for the first 30 days of use it even offers the advanced cloud syncing options, too. As for the premium version, there is the option to purchase a lifetime license or opt for an annual subscription for as low as $1.25 per month.
Risks of Free Password Manager Apps
Everybody knows that all major web browsers are available as apps and that they are all equipped with free built-in password managers capable of saving and then recalling any of your logins any time they are needed. However, no matter how convenient this option may seem, the use of these password managers is a serious security risk, which is especially true for the mobile version of Chrome – which is as vulnerable security-wise as its desktop counterpart. The vaults of these password managers aren’t as protected as a true password management program, not to mention that they aren’t even properly encrypted, meaning that any hacker could access and steal the vault’s content with ease.
Thankfully, all of the major password management services that have taken a closer look at offer their apps for free, only requiring you to create an account. Granted, the free plans of these services are often a bit limited – typically lacking cloud syncing between devices, for example – but they still provide the necessary amount of protection for your logins and other credentials.
Best Password Managers of 2019
|Editor's Choice 2019|
Importing and Syncing Password Data
Password managers are desktop-based programs first, meaning that despite sharing the most important features the app version of the service will never be as complete as its desktop counterpart.
This involves the importing of passwords as well; password management apps are simply incapable of importing existing passwords from either the device’s default browser or from an exported file. Admittedly, there are rare exceptions like Sticky Password that allow you to manually add a password database file after it is exported from the company’s Windows/macOS program, but in most cases the only option to fill the app’s vault is by having the computer version and activating cloud syncing – a feature that is only available for premium subscribers.
Thankfully, cloud syncing is flawless and, most importantly, secure. Once all the passwords are fetched from the browser and are stored in the desktop password manager’s vault, the only task then is to enable the cloud sync function and the next time you sign into the mobile app those credentials will be waiting for you in the app’s vault as well.
Password Security on Android
The overall password security of Android devices is not bad at all. Even though many models still provide unlock patterns, which are by far the worst way of protecting the device, the newest Android phones feature biometric authentication methods like fingerprint detection or voice passwords that are much harder to crack.
Google, on the other hand, is a terrible friend. Not only are its services gluttonous RAM guzzlers taking up valuable memory space but they also don’t protect users’ data as they should. Admittedly, the built-in password manager of the default Chrome mobile browser is an exception, since it is at least capable of password-protecting the vault with the default Google account password. However, if that password is somehow sniffed then nothing will stop wrongdoers from accessing any other credentials saved to Google’s servers.
This is why using the appropriate protection on Android devices is essential. We have already explained how password managers and all of their features – particularly the built-in safe browsers – can effectively protect you, but for the ultimate defense against hackers it’s highly recommended to use a VPN that makes your online activities completely invisible, and therefore allowing you to surf the web without fear of data theft.