Avoid Password Insanity with LastPass

If you’re anything like me, you’ve had lots of different email addresses over the years – and lots of different websites you log into. The Mac’s password manager does a good job if you have a single Mac, but things gets messy when you use multiple Macs (or multiple versions of OS X on the same Mac, or different user accounts) and change your password(s).

There are apps for that!

I’m a cheapskate and a low-end Mac user (my newest Mac is from 2008), and after researching the various no-cost options, I decided to give LastPass a try. LastPass is a set of plugins for all the major Mac browsers (some going back to OS X 10.4 Tiger!) and Windows browsers and even Linux browsers. There are also iOS, Android, and BlackBerry versions that require a $12/year fee – and if you get others to sign up with LastPass using your special link, you get one free month of premium service.

As long as you have Internet access, LastPass can update any of your Macs and/or PCs when you change a password. That’s made life a lot easier for me. You can also group sets of passwords by tasks (home, work, personal, etc.) and create sets for different users.

If there’s any drawback to LastPass, it’s that it only works with browsers. If you change your Gmail password, it will update your browsers but not the Mail app. Not too big a deal, but it can be kind of frustrating when you sometimes access an online email account using a browser and other times using Mail.

LastPass lets you save multiple logins for the same domain, so you can log into more than one Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, etc. account by selecting the appropriate login credentials.

I haven’t been able to get LastPass to work with Safari 4.1.3 in OS X 10.4 Tiger, but it works just fine with TenFourFox, a version of Firefox optimized for PowerPC G3, G4, and G5 processors.

I hadn’t done much with OS X 10.5 Leopard in recent months, as I replaced a dual 1 GHz MDD Power Mac G4 that died with a 500 MHz AGP Power Mac G4. While a 500 MHz G4 can run Leopard, there’s nothing speedy about it. (I have since picked up a 1.8 GHz PCI-X Power Mac G5. This machine is a revelation!) LastPass works with Safari, TenFourFox, and Aurorafox (a port of TenFourFox, itself a port of Firefox, only for OS X 10.5) on Leopard.

As for OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, the newest version I have to date, it works with Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Opera, covering all the bases. I’ve successfully used it with all of these browsers on  both of my Intel-based Macs.

I haven’t yet tried the iOS version, because I haven’t yet had a reason to. I don’t usually use multiple logins on my iPhone, but if I had an iPad, I’m sure that would be different.

I can’t compare LastPass to any competing programs, as it’s the only password manager I’ve tried, but I can report that it does what it’s supposed to do, does it very well, and tops things off by even working with old PowerPC Macs running OS X 10.4 Tiger and 10.5 Leopard.

Keywords: #lastpass #passwordmanager

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