Lately, Mozilla has been focusing its efforts on the privacy and security-related aspects in regards to sensitive data. And its latest offering is Firefox Lockbox, a dedicated app for iPhone and iPad that provides a convenient means to deal with your Firefox passwords.
However, calling Firefox Lockbox a 'password manager' can be a bit of a stretch, since it lacks many of the features present in services such as LastPass. Rather, it's a complementary utility that you need to use alongside Firefox.
If you are struggling to get to grips as to what exactly Firefox Lockbox is or how to use it effectively, then don't worry. Below, you are going to find all that you need to know for making the Lockbox shine on your iOS device.
Note: Firefox Lockbox is also available on Android. While the tips below are geared toward iOS, certain pointers may apply to the Android version as well.
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Before getting to grips with Firefox Lockbox, it's best to have a general idea as to what the app can and cannot do. To be clear, it isn’t your typical password manager. Rather, it's a somewhat basic utility that syncs and displays passwords from the actual Firefox browser itself.
Further, you also can’t save any login information directly into Firefox Lockbox. Instead, you need to rely on Firefox itself for password management, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be via Firefox for iOS — it can be from any other supported platform (Windows, macOS, Android, etc.).
Further, you also can’t save any login information directly into Firefox Lockbox.
What Firefox Lockbox can do is seamlessly auto-fill usernames and passwords, be it to an online login portal that you come across in a browser such as Safari and Chrome, or when signing into an app. In other words, it works just like iCloud Keychain.
In case you use Firefox as the primary browser on your iPhone or iPad, you don't need Firefox Lockbox to auto-fill your passwords since the built-in password manager is more than adept at doing that. However, having Firefox Lockbox around is still beneficial since it allows for a variety of other uses (which you'll learn about soon).
To set up Firefox Lockbox, you need to have a Firefox Account, and you also need to have saved login information synced to it before you can do anything with the app. If you already use Firefox on a supported platform, then you can start using Firefox Lockbox.
Note: Once again, you do not need to have Firefox installed on your iPhone or iPad for Firefox Lockbox to work. Syncing passwords to your Firefox Account via any other platform will do.
After installing Firefox Lockbox via the App Store, simply sign in with a Firefox Account. And provided that you’ve saved passwords using Firefox from any device previously, they will show up right within Firefox Lockbox.
As mentioned earlier, Firefox Lockbox does not feature the ability to save passwords when signing into login portals. But it does feature the ability to auto-fill any passwords that were saved using Firefox. To make that work, you need to provide Firefox Lockbox the required permissions first.
On the Settings app of your iPhone or iPad, tap Passwords & Accounts, and then tap Autofill Passwords. Next, simply enable Lockbox, and you are good to go.
You can keep iCloud Keychain enabled if you want to use it alongside Lockbox. Which is a good idea since that way, you will still have the option to save fresh login information at least to Keychain.
Lockbox in Action
When it comes to auto-filling passwords into the login forms of browsers and apps, simply tap the automatic Firefox Lockbox suggestion at the top of the onscreen keyboard, and you should be good to go.
If you want to auto-fill from an entry other than the one suggested, simply tap Passwords or the key-shaped icon instead, and then tap Lockbox to the select the exact login information that you want to fill in.
Firefox Lockbox will make use of your default biometric security configuration on your iPhone or iPad (Face ID or Touch ID) to authenticate your auto-fill requests. You don't have to set that up separately.
Firefox Lockbox's inability to save new entries is a major downside. If there's a certain login entry that you want it to suggest to you in the future, you need to sign into the portal first using Firefox and then save the username and password when prompted.
On Firefox for iOS, for example, tap Save Login after signing into a portal. To get the entry to show up immediately within Firefox Lockbox, sync to your Firefox Account manually — you can do that via the Firefox menu.
Another limitation in Firefox Lockbox is its lack of a built-in option to remove login entries. And once again, you need to rely on Firefox to do that.
Taking the iOS version of Firefox as an example once again, open the browser menu, and then tap Logins & Passwords. On the subsequent screen, select the login entry that you want to remove, and then tap Delete.
Repeat the procedure for any other entries that you want to remove. Manually sync your changes afterward.
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Other Tips & Tricks
Firefox Lockbox, despite its limitations, has several tricks up its sleeve that can prove to be quite useful. Sounds interesting? Let's check them out.
Jump to Site
Rather than taking the trouble to open a site in a browser, you can simply do that directly using Firefox Lockbox itself. Tap on your login entry, and then tap the tiny icon next to Web Address. And voila! The site related to the login entry should open immediately within Safari.
It's then just a matter of auto-filling your information and signing into the site.
Visit the Settings screen (tap cog-shaped icon) of the app, tap Open Websites In, and then select your favorite browser.
You can skip auto-filling if you want to and copy your logins manually instead. And Firefox Lockbox still makes it super-easy to do so.
Tap on a login entry, and then tap the Copy icon next to the username or password. That should copy the item over to the clipboard automatically.
You can also choose to unhide a password temporarily by tapping the eye-shaped icon next to it.
Getting tired of wading through tons of entries? Just use the search bar to filter them out. Firefox Lockbox will load the entries that match what you are typing automatically.
Firefox Lockbox features a preset Auto Lock time duration. Once it elapses, you need to re-authenticate the app using Face ID or Touch ID. And the lower it is, the better things are in terms of security.
To modify this setting (set to 5 minutes by default), tap the Auto Lock option within the Settings screen, and then select a Time duration.
Firefox Lockbox syncs with your Firefox Account and updates any changes made to your login information via Firefox automatically. But sometimes, it tends to get stuck.
In that case, simply swipe down on the Firefox Lockbox main screen to forcefully sync it with the Firefox servers.
Drag and Drop Passwords
If you use Firefox Lockbox an iPad, you can easily drag and drop passwords into login portals while in split-view. You can do this for usernames as well.
Pretty cool, right? And very handy if you've got auto-fill disabled for Lockbox and only intends to use it in rare instances.
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Needs More Improvement
Firefox Lockbox is very limited as a standalone app. The fact that you need to rely on Firefox to perform something as trivial as modifying your login entries is quite annoying.
But it’s free, and Mozilla's track record is more than decent when it comes to privacy. And over time, Firefox Lockbox can only get better with the addition of new features.
So, how do you plan to use Firefox Lockbox? Do let us know in comments.
Next up: Thinking about switching from Safari to Firefox on your iPhone or iPad? Find out how both browsers stack against each other before making your decision.
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