Password managers like Dashlane are becoming a new and necessary reality in our online world. At a time when it’s increasingly important to create and store hundreds of secure passwords, these password managers keep us from going crazy. In this Dashlane review, I’ll show you how I use the software and why I eventually chose this service over other competitors.
|Review||Dashlane Password Manager App|
|Summary||Dashlane has become one of the most popular password manager apps because it’s easy to use and offers excellent features such as emergency lockout protection, password sharing, dark web monitoring and more. My only complaint is they don’t offer family plans and the free version is unreasonably limited.|
|Rating||4.6 (out of 5) stars|
Ten years ago I would have called you crazy if you told me I was going to need to remember passwords to over 250+ online passwords in order to log into my bank, social media, email and more.
And yet this is true for many people today, including you. We’re expected to not only create super-secure passwords, but find a way to remember and recall them as well. This leaves you with just a few options:
- Use the same password for all your logins: This is one of bad online habits you need to break. All it takes is one data breach or one hack where this single password is compromised, and your entire online identity is in danger;
- Write your passwords down: I still have many friends who keep a sheet of paper with all their passwords written down, but it’s useful only if they’re sitting at their desk. Not only that, but the list can become crazy to keep once you hit more than 50 logins to keep track of.
- Use a password manager app: This is the easiest and, believe it or not, most secure way to manage all your online passwords and logins. This is part of what I will explain in this review of Dashlane.
Obviously, Dashlane is part of this final solution and is one that I’ve been using for the past 6 months on my computer and phone.
Whether you’ve used other password managers in the past or this is your first time wading into this new world of security apps, this Dashlane review will show you how they work and what makes this particular service unique.
Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may be compensated if you choose to use the services listed. I only recommend what I have personally used, and I appreciate your support that allows me to provide this free content!
How Dashlane Password Manager Works
As with all good password manager apps, Dashlane works by helping users create passwords, store them securely in a vault and then easily search and retreive them.
Password managers use a Master Password to unlock all other stored passwords.
These password managers encrypt this vault with a single master password that you set. Using this one password unlocks your access to the database of usernames and passwords you’ve created. Because so much is riding on this master password, it’s critical that you create a super-secure password here!
While it’s possible to browse and edit the password manager database within the app itself, more often than not, the software works in the background while you’re browsing the internet on your computer, tablet or phone.
For example, if you’re going to log in to Facebook, instead of typing in your email and trying to remember your password, the Dashlane app pops up and shows any logins in the database that are available to use.
In the above example, if I click on the Facebook login credentials, my email and password are automatically filled in. Depending on my preferences, I can even have Dashlane automatically log me in to known websites.
Of course, the security of your logins is still only as good as the individual passwords you use. If you’re still one of those people who uses “password” or “123456” as your password…then it is absolutely critical that you start using a password manager app like Dashlane.
When you create a new login online, Dashlane will offer a random, secure password to use. You can set the length of the generated password as well as the type of characters (digits, letters, symbols, etc.). Dashlane will immediately store the new password in the vault so you don’t have to remember it.
And that’s pretty much it. A password manager app isn’t crazy complicated, which is great because that makes it accessible to the average internet user to use.
Now that we have an understand of the basics of a password manager app, let’s dive deeper in this Dashlane review to share my experience with this service and how it rates against other similar apps.
Dashlane Review 2019 | My Thoughts
Let me begin this review of Dashlane by sharing what I think is important to note for ever security-type software: using Dashlane is not a foolproof, silver bullet for security.
Online security is a mentality, not a piece of software that you can download.
Dashlane is not a silver bullet that will solve all your online security problems. As you’ll see in this review of Dashlane, however, it can reduce the chances of you or your family getting hacked significantly.
Pros and Cons | Dashlane Review
Dashlane is an application first developed in 2012 and has grown to include office in New York, Paris and Lisbon.
They claim that over 11 million people use the software, which includes both individuals and businesses. For the sake of this Dashlane review, I’m going to focus primarily on the individual usage of the password manager app.
To begin, let’s break down the initial pros and cons of the Dashlane software, followed by a more thorough explanation of each.
- Easy-to-use software for desktop, phones & tablets;
- Emergency lockout protection;
- Auto-sign in feature;
- Easy password sharing (without actually revealing the password!);
- Virtual Private Network (VPN) included;
- Dark web monitoring service;
- Free service available (try before you buy)
- Free version limited to 50 logins;
- No family subscription option;
- No live chat support option (only a forum, email and Twitter options).
To be clear, Dashlane’s “Free” option is really a “Freemium” option. Without syncing between devices and a limit of 50 passwords, you’ll find that it won’t be useful for long without upgrading. It’s good marketing: it’s technically free, sure, but it’s really just a “try before you buy”.
There are a number of unique features Dashlane offers that I haven’t found used by many of their competitors. Let’s go into a bit more detail about these features:
- Easy to Use Software: Dashlane boasts Editor’s Choice awards for their apps on both the Apple App store and the Google Play Store. There’s a reason for this – they are really easy to use.
- Emergency Lockout Protection: This is a big deal and I’m surprised more password manager apps haven’t addressed this issue. What happens if you die or lose your master password? Dashlane allows you to set up “Emergency Contacts” that can get access to the account.
- Auto Sign-in Feature: While they don’t highlight this feature much, I have enjoyed how the software will not only auto-fill your passwords, but also auto-sign in. I know it seems lazy to say “gee, I don’t even want to click the sign in button”, but it saves at least an extra 5-10 seconds per sign in.
- Easy Password Sharing: Have you ever had times where you need to share a password with somebody but you don’t want to give them your password? Dashlane lets you do this! You can give permissions and easily revoke the permissions when needed. Very handy indeed!
- Virtual Private Network Included: A Virtual Private Network (or VPN for short) is extra security for those times when you connect to a public network. You can learn more about what a VPN is here. While I personally prefer to use a standalone VPN, it’s a bonus for Dashlane users to have access to one without paying for a separate subscription.
- Dark Web Monitoring: The “dark web” are those places on the internet that most of us don’t want to even know exist. It’s the places where stolen information gets bought and sold. Dashlane scans these dark corners of the internet to see if your information is on the market to be purchased – and then tells you what to do if they find it.
Are you convinced that Dashlane is worth at least a free try? Signing up and downloading the software takes less than 10 minutes.
Speaking of software, let’s take a few minutes in this 1Password review to show the app working on both my desktop and mobile device.
Dashlane Desktop App & Browser Extension
If you’re this far in the review of Dashlane, you’ve probably already seen a number of screenshots of the Dashlane software above. Instead of reviewing the entire app, I want to point your attention to the sidebar to explain to primary security feature of the desktop version of Dashlane: the Identity Dashboard.
In the above screenshot, you’ll see that Dashlane is a vault that stores more than just passwords. In the vault, you can keep:
- Secure Notes: This can be anything you want it to be;
- Personal Info: Your name, birthday, etc. for filling out online forms;
- Payments: Used to fill out credit card info for purchases;
- IDs: This can include your driver’s license, passport, etc.;
- Receipts: You can keep secure copies of receipts if you’d like.
The Identity Dashboard is a feature not unlike Watchtower with the 1Password manager app. It’s a place where you’ll find the Dark Web monitoring in addition to a score for my password health.
As you can see in the screenshot above, Dashlane has given me a low password score because I have quite a few reused passwords, a number of weak passwords and even 87 compromised passwords.
Seeing this, it’s easy to understand where I need to work to create a more secure password profile.
Dashlane offers 2-factor authentication (2FA) as an added security feature but unfortunately, in the identity dashboard, it doesn’t do a good job of showing me where I can start using 2FA in the various logins I have stored in the vault.
In addition to the desktop app, you’ll also want to install a browser extension for your preferred internet browser (I recommend Firefox for those who want to stay secure). Working together, Dashlane is a powerful desktop tool.
Dashlane Mobile Apps for Phones & Tablets
If you’re like most people, you’ll probably end up using the mobile version of Dashlane about as often as you do the desktop software and browser extension.
After you’ve installed the Dashlane app from either the App Store or Google Play Store, you’ll need to set up the app as your default password manager. Once this is done, whenever you reach a login screen anywhere on the phone, you can click the “Passwords” option.
With an iPhone and many Android phones, you can take advantage of finger print or facial scanning to authenticate your identity (as opposed to just the master password).
At this point, just choose the appropriate login and your username and password will automatically be entered for you.
I have access to all data stored in the Dashlane vault from within the mobile app, and it comes with the password generator, the native VPN, password sharing/emergency contact features, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dashlane
Although I’ve done my best in this Dashlane review to cover the most important topics, there are still a number of questions people ask that didn’t really fit in any of the sections above. And I’ve already written up a comparison of Dashlane vs 1Password that might be helpful.
Here are the most frequently asked questions I hear about the Dashlane password manager app.
Dashlane keeps an encrypted version of your vault in the cloud that can be synced between all your devices. This vault is inaccessible without the master password that the user sets.
Any piece of software can be hacked, period. If you’re relying on a single service or tool like Dashlane to ensure 100% of your online security, you’re doing something wrong. Thankfully, even if Dashlane were to be hacked (which they discuss in this blog post), the stolen vaults would be worthless without your master password. This is one reason why it’s so important to create a very secure master password.
While the free version of Dashlane limits you to a single device and only 50 stored passwords, upgrading to premium unlocks the ability to store unlimited passwords on all your personal devices. While it’s technically possible to use a password manager app on unlimited devices, for the sake of security you’ll only want to sync between your own personal devices.
Unless you have reason to believe that your master password has been compromised in addition to your device being stolen, your encrypted Dashlane vault should still be safe. You probably need to be more worried about all the other apps to which the device thief has access.
Since your Dashlane vault is encrypted with a master password, Dashlane as a company would not be able to grant anybody access to your passwords in the case you die. This is why it’s so important to take advantage of the Emergency Contacts feature in Dashlane. By setting up an emergency contact, they will have access to your passwords in the unfortunate event that you pass away or can no longer access your vault.
If there’s a question you don’t see listed above, leave a comment on this page and I’ll do my best to answer.
Final Thoughts | Dashlane Review and Recommendations
While password manager apps like Dashlane can’t guarantee complete online security, they are an important key to making it all possible. Awesome passwords are a foundation to great protection of your online identity.
Dashlane will help you create good passwords, store them securely and then access them easily on your desktop and mobile devices.
Best of all, even if you’re not sure that it’s right for you, you can still try Dashlane for free with your first 50 logins. See if you like it before you purchase the annual subscription.