Coming up with unique passwords that you can remember is a pretty difficult task in itself. Then comes the problem of keeping the passwords somewhere safe for when you can’t remember them. With the amount of apps and services we use, it’s not unusual to have more than 100 different passwords.
You can create a pattern containing a base prefix in the first half of the password and something related to the app or service in the second half. But someday you might even forget that. And with news of NSA tracking, SSL bug, Heartbleed bug and all, it feels like I end up changing passwords every month or so.
How to manage this? And more importantly, sync this between your PC and your connected mobile devices safely and without much friction.
A simple answer does exist. It is called LastPass, and it is something I’ve personally used for past couple of years. But syncing LastPass with mobile devices requires a premium subscription. Also, LastPass stores your passwords in its own cloud. Far out of your protective reach.
An alternative is KeePass. A free open source platform that is amazingly secure and has a lot of plugins and apps for every platform imaginable.
Let me tell you how you can manage your passwords on your PC with the KeePass 2.0 app and sync it with Android.
What This Guide Is About
KeePass is a great free and open source utility. There are a lot of things it does well and a lot of things it doesn’t. This guide will focus on what it does better than LastPass for free. Which is syncing passwords from PC to Android and even letting you autofill them in any modern Android browser. To do so with LastPass, you’d need a premium account.
If you are using LastPass, it is pretty easy to import your LastPass passwords into KeePass. Just create a new database, assign a strong master key that you will never forget and follow the guide linked above.
Side note: Make sure you are using KeePass 2.x app which has the extension .kbdx for database files as it works for all the platforms including Android and iOS. KeePass 1.0 only supports Windows natively.
Store Database File In Dropbox
The most important part is ensuring all your latest passwords are available on all your devices. Yes, by using Dropbox you are saving the file in “the Cloud” but if it is protected with a unique and strong key, you are no better off or worse than having it stored locally.
App For Android
On Android, there are a couple of apps that support KeePass 2.0 database files. The most popular being KeePassDroid. But we’ll use Keepass2Android because it allows you to directly import a database file from Dropbox and is generally easy to use.
Launch the app and tap the Open File button. There are a lot of options here. You can import a database file you copied to local storage or import from cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive.
Once you locate your database file, open it up and input your master key. Now, all the passwords saved in that database file are available to use on your Android phone. You can copy any password to your clipboard easily.
Autofill Passwords In Android Browser
Keepass2Android app allows you to look up any password and copy it to your clipboard but if you want the same autofill feature from desktop browsers, you need to do a bit of work. But it is possible.
Make sure you are logged in to the KeePass database and the username and password for the website you are on is saved in the database. And from the Language and Keyboard section in Settings, make sure Keepass2Android is enabled.
Step 1: On the login page, from the menu in Chrome or any other browser, select Share and choose Keepass2Android.
Step 2: You’ll be asked to choose a keyboard – select Keepass2Android here. If prompted, enter your database password or just the last three letters for a quick unlock.
Step 3: Now, the app will recognize which page you are on and will bring up a special keyboard. Tap the username field and then tap the User button on the keyboard to insert the username and Pass button to insert the password.
The implementation is a bit shabby but hey, it works!
Do You Use KeePass?
What do you think of KeePass? Have you ever used it? Would you consider it now that you know it can sync your passwords with Android devices? Let us know in the comments below.