Dashlane Password Manager
Dashlane offers a rich feature set for users of their password management system. The web-first set up takes a little getting used to, but the apps have very clean interfaces that are intuitive. It would be great to see the added feature of adding custom vaults in the future. Dashlane’s robust system is worth the $60/year pricing, but because it’s more than 2X most of its competitors, I think the pricing should be evaluated so it is more competitive.
EASE OF USE
Dashlane provides a first-class user experience with their web-first system.
One of the most essential tools that a person should utilize these days is a password manager. Because passwords are the gateway to our digital lives and need to be vigorously protected, a password manager can not only help keep data secure, but the utility can also organize a user’s information as well.
A password manager can keep track of all your passwords as well as help you create strong, unique passwords for each individual account you have. In addition to that, password managers also provide autofill login features so that the user doesn’t have to remember anything — except for the master password that unlocks the password manager itself.
Password managers are life savers when you manage multiple accounts for different aspects of your life. Take me for example. I have three main segments to my life — personal, work, and Mac Sources. Each area has its own set of accounts that must be managed and it can be very tricky to keep it all organized.
My personal and professional life has evolved alongside the Internet and I remember a time when my mom would literally have a piece of paper with her accounts and passwords written on them. There were only a dozen or so accounts on it and as you might guess, the main password was repeated several times. Today, that type of password organization is not only cumbersome, but it’s also incredibly unsafe.
Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to determine what password manager is the best option for me and my lifestyle. There are quite a few options out there including 1Password, EnPass, and, what has become one of my favorites, Dashlane.
Dashlane was founded in 2009 by Bernard Liautaud and co-founders Alexis Fogel, Guillaume Maron, and Jean Guillou and was originally based in France. Today, the company operates offices in Paris, New York, and Lisbon and offers remote work options to its employees (approximately 500).
More than 17 million users and 20,000 businesses in 180 countries use Dashlane across web and mobile applications. Dashlane is the only password manager with advanced reporting that tracks password improvement over time.
Both Team and Business admins have access to the reporting dashboard via their Admin Console. There, admins can receive actionable insights on their employees’ Password Health Scores and help at-risk employees update their weak, reused, or compromised passwords. With this historical reporting, admins can easily see the real impact of their security measures.
- Store an unlimited number of passwords and access them on any device
- Sync your Dashlane data to every device automatically, even if your phone and computer run on different systems
- Create secure passwords with Password Generator
- Change passwords in one click with Password Changer
- Share passwords safely and conveniently
- Autofill the right username and password on every app and website, every time
- Log in with a look or tap using Face ID or Touch ID
- Securely store personal info you need to keep safe and accessible, like addresses, credit card numbers, and IDs
- Fill addresses and other forms with one click
- Get alerted about breaches and hacks that affect your data—and learn how to take action
- Learn if your data is on the dark web with Dark Web Monitoring
- Browse safely and anonymously with our VPN (Hotspot Shield)
- Enjoy peace of mind with patented, best-in-class encryption methods
Pricing & Availability
Dashlane offers a free account with limitations on the number of passwords that can be included. There is a premium option ($6.49/month) as well as a family plan ($8.99/month). Both of the upper tier plans have discounts applied when users pay a year at a time. In addition to the individual and family plans, Dashlane also offers business plans starting at $5/month per user (billed annually) depending on your needs. Each of the business options also has a free trial offer available with them.
One of the most important things to note about the availability of Dashlane is that it has a ‘web-first’ structure. Because of that, there is no native desktop app available for Mac or Windows operating systems. Three weeks ago, Derek Snyder, Chief Product Officer at Dashlane, completed an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit and actually provided some answers about why Dashlane opted to move toward the web-first system.
Why did you discontinue the desktop client? That was one of the main points for buying into your product.
1.) Over 80% of our active users were only using Dashlane in the browser. Turns out they would go to the desktop app mostly when something went wrong (e.g. our autofill wasn’t good enough which is our problem, not theirs)
2.) It was slowing us down from developing new features in a timely manner. We are releasing much faster now that we have a single code base for all our desktop users.
3.) In the last few years, we have really grown our B2B business, and it is much easier for IT admins to preinstall a browser extension than a desktop app (along with all the end user training, etc.).
On macOS, Dashlane developers used Catalyst technology to create a new app solution that leverages a common codebase that runs across all Apple operating systems. Catalyst essentially allows developers to create a universal app that works across iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
This app offers a native experience with improved integration between the app and the extension and a brand new web analysis engine powered by Machine Learning for improved autofill capabilities. Dashlane was actually the first password manager to build and release an app using Catalyst.
Dashlane is supported on the main desktop and mobile platforms:
- Windows 10
- macOS (using Catalyst)
And all major browsers:
Overall my experience with Dashlane has been very positive. I absolutely love the user interface because it’s clean and intuitive. I have to admit that I ran into a bit of confusion at first because I was told there was no desktop app, but I found it in the Mac App Store. It was then explained to me that it is sort of an add-on to the Safari extension and designed to work with it. In fact, I have found that when I start up Safari, Dashlane asks for you to log in and when you click it the app opens and then you get returned to Safari.
With that in mind, I would love to see an option for the Dashlane Mac App to be a menu bar utility. I would just rather see it run in the menu bar rather than be an open app in the dock.
The setup process for Dashlane is very easy to walk through. You start by creating an account and selecting a Master Password. Be sure to record your Master Password somewhere secure because there is no account recovery. If you lose your Master Password, you’ll have to start over from scratch. You might be able to salvage your account if you had biometrics — fingerprint or Face ID — set up on your mobile device.
I actually ran into an issue while I was working on this review where I forgot my Master Password. I had created a backup of my passwords with a CSV file so I wasn’t concerned about resetting the account. But, when I attempted to reset it, I was asked for my previous Master Password.
Dashlane Team or Business plan users have an additional feature for recovery that involves the account admin’s involvement. Dashlane does provide a good how-to page for forgotten master passwords. In my case, I was able to backtrack a little bit and I remembered what password I used for my Master Password.
After you’ve finished your account setup, you can start entering information into your vault. You have the option of entering data manually or importing it. I chose the import feature. For a long time now, I’ve been keeping passwords in my Apple Keychain. So, I exported those logins and then imported them into Dashlane.
The only hitch in this process is that it has to be completed via the web app or the Android app. There isn’t a CSV import option for iOS, the Mac App, or the browser extensions. You can import a DASH file, which is generated from a Dashlane account, through the web app, Android, or iOS. As long as you have your CSV formatted properly, the import process goes very smoothly.
Dashlane gives you several different vaults to use including Logins, Secure Notes, Payments, Personal Info, IDs, and Sharing. These different vaults are great for organization and something I was missing with just keeping my passwords in keychain.
The three places I use Dashlane are on my MacBook Air (Safari extension, web app, and Mac App), my iPhone (iOS app), and my iPad Pro (iOS app). One of the things I really like about how Dashlane has designed their app structure is that you get a full experience no matter what device you are using.
There are some apps that don’t provide a great user experience across all platforms — Dashlane does. A great example of a poor user experience is Instagram. It’s primarily meant for people to use on their mobile phones. And the developers of that social media outlet definitely make you feel that is the case.
You can use Instagram on your iPad or through your web browser, but it looks like the mobile app was just resized to fit different screens instead of each device getting their own experience. This is a pet peeve of mine because I think apps should be much more universal in this day and age. Dashlane really took this to heart when they created their newest user experience. I really feel like the apps work together.
I have Dashlane set to autofill passwords in Safari. I do recommend this for any password manager that offers it because it really is one of the major benefits of using a password manager. That said, one of the features I like about Dashlane’s autofill option is that you can select what you want to autofill. You can select to autofill information into an entire website, a specific page on a website, only usernames, and passwords, or everything (i.e. name, email, etc.). I love that this exists because when you frequently visit certain websites it can get annoying with auto-fills popping up all the time when you don’t need them.
One of the only downsides that I have with Dashlane is that in order to set up 2FA, you have to do so through the mobile app. On the iPhone, you go to the login that you want to add it to, tap on Edit and there will be an option to set up authentication directly under the password field. Once the setup is completed, you can generate the 2FA pin from any of the Dashlane app sources you use. Dashlane also has a standalone Authenticator app and once you enable 2FA for a site, that information will be stored in that app as well as the Dashlane main app.
This 2FA feature is kind of hidden. You don’t know it’s there unless you are looking for it. For example, since I imported all my logins and I haven’t had to edit any of them, I was unaware of the placement of the 2FA option in the app. This feature is actually what Snyder called out as the “Most Underrated Feature” during his Ask Me Anything chat.
Most people don’t know that you can use Dashlane to supply your 2FA codes, without actually having to use a second device. So when I log in to Reddit, for instance, Dashlane will autofill the password but also the 2FA code. And what’s really cool, is that both the password and 2FA code can be shared with other people (which is really handy for co-workers wanting to share a social media account, for instance).
One of the reasons there is a separate Authenticator app is so you can use it to put 2FA on your Dashlane account as well as your vault items. Here is how it is explained in Dashlane’s knowledge base.
Note that you can’t use Dashlane Password Manager as the authenticator app to log in to your Dashlane account. This is similar to locking the keys to your car inside the car.
However, the new Dashlane Authenticator app allows you to manage 2FA for your vault items but also for your Dashlane account, combining security and convenience.
Dashlane is a robust password manager that is easy to use and has a really clean user interface. There are a lot of users who were unhappy with the shift to a web-first system, but after experiencing the Catalyst-based Mac App and the rest of the Apple device apps, I’m pretty sold on it. The few issues I had ended up being user errors and not the fault of the Dashlane system at all. There are two features that I hope Dashlane works to improve in the future.
The first is adding an option for custom vaults. Some password managers have a vault set aside specifically for software licenses and others provide the option for users to customize their vaults and create their own entry types. I would love to see this with Dashlane. The entry options they provide cover the main bases, but having a customization option would be great.
The second area for improvement is the pricing. I don’t think it’s unfair per se, but it is quite a bit higher than other premium password manager options. The prices below show what each of these systems currently charges monthly for their premium individual account. Dashlane is greater than 2X higher than all of them.
- Dashlane $6.49
- 1Password $2.99
- LastPass $3.00
- Keeper $2.92
As I said, I don’t think that $60/year (Dashlane provides a discount for paying yearly) is a bad price for a well-designed password management system, but in order to make Dashlane more competitive with its colleagues, the pricing should probably be evaluated.
Dashlane does get my seal of approval. It’s a great system and I really like the company that created it. If you are considering using it, I would suggest the free option until you know for sure that it will work for you.
For more information, visit dashlane.com, Facebook, and Twitter.