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LastPass' changes make Bitwarden the best free password manager

LastPass kills cross-device access for free users, as Bitwarden looms as a ready-made replacement for security-savvy users on a budget.

Chris Button
Chris Button
2 min read
LastPass' changes make Bitwarden the best free password manager

It's the ones we love that hurt us the most — password managers included.

LastPass, an all-in-one password solution that's stopped me from using the same password everywhere, is changing its free plan to be not very useful unless you open your wallet.

One of the biggest revisions to LastPass' free plan is that from 16 March you will have to choose between using the handy tool on either desktop or mobile devices — not both.

It sucks, man.

Changes coming to the free LastPass plan are detailed in a company blog post, which also includes the fact that from 17 May, email support will be locked to paid subscribers.

Priority support is not uncommon for software subscribers, but locking free users out entirely doesn't look great.

To elaborate further on the cross-device functionality — or soon to be a lack thereof — free LastPass users will choose whether to access either "computers" or "mobile devices".

After 16 March, the first device you use to log into LastPass will determine what's known as your "active device type".

If you activate computers as your device type, you can access your LastPass vault across any desktop or laptop without hassle. This means you won't be able to access your vault on any phones, tablets and smart devices without subscribing to the premium tier, however.

The reverse is also applicable; if you nominate mobile devices, this locks you out of accessing your LastPass vault on any desktop or laptop devices.

Password updates will still sync across all your devices, but your ability to access them will be limited. Which is sort of the point of having a password manager in the first place.

Once the changes go live, you can swap between active device types up to three times to trial what suits you — if you don't abandon LastPass in the meantime, that is.

LastPass' premium tier costs $54 a year, which is the monthly equivalent of $4.50. Pre-existing users get a 25% discount, bringing the cost down to $40.50.

If you are looking to pay for password management software, Gizmodo's Tegan Jones recommends going with the likes of Dashlane or 1Pasword instead due to their competitive pricing and rich features.

For a free, more like-for-like LastPass replacement, Bitwarden is commonly cited as the best option. It's open-source and has cross-device functionality right out the gate.

As a free LastPass user of many years, I know I'll be giving Bitwarden a shot.

Also, to quote Byteside editor Seamus Byrne: "update your f'ing passwords".

SecurityBusinessTechnology

Chris Button

Chris is an award-nominated writer based in Adelaide who specialises in covering video games and technology. He loves Donkey Kong Country, sport, and cats. The Last Jedi is the best one, no questions


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