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Feb

Best password managers [2016]


facebook password manager

Passwords are extremely important in a world where we have more accounts than we know what to do with. Many of us likely have multiple email accounts, social media accounts, an Amazon and Netflix account, and tons and tons of other things. That also means that we either have more passwords than we’re physically able to keep up with, or we use the same two or three passwords for everything on the internet, neither of which is a good idea.

That’s where password managers come in. Instead of having to remember every single password for every single account you own, you’ll only have to remember one password for your password manager, and it stores your passwords for everything else. Using a password manager is great for your account security, and it’s incredibly convenient for anyone with tons and tons of accounts.

Like anything else, though, there are plenty of password managers to choose from on Android. In this guide, we’ll go over the best of what’s available to get you started.

LastPass


lastpass

LastPass is an extremely popular choice that’s been around for a while. It covers all the bases of what most people look for in a password manager, and it does it without being too flashy or without too many excessive features.

You set up LastPass with a single master password, then begin storing your passwords in its database. For the security-minded, LastPass uses 256-bit AES encryption and handles all of the encrypting and decrypting locally, not in the cloud. That’s a fairly secure way of doing things, and since LastPass did unfortunately deal with a small hack in the middle of 2015, they’ve since ramped up measures to keep everything safe and secure. When storing passwords, LastPass also offers a very powerful and flexible password generator so you aren’t using simple phrases that would be easy to guess for anyone trying to break into your accounts.

Besides technical security, LastPass offers some cool features that you’ll actually notice while using it. The interface is quick and easy to navigate, borrowing heavily from Google’s famous Material Design language, and everything can be categorized and sorted by custom labels and folders, making it extremely easy to find a particular password. You can also secure the app with a fingerprint for an additional layer of security, so you won’t actually need to punch in your password every time you want to access your password bank.

Passwords aren’t the only thing that LastPass is good for, though, since the app has added the ability to store a few other things in its database. You can create secure notes and form fills, which include things like addresses and credit card numbers. Most browsers support this to an extent, but none are blocked behind heavy security and encryption like LastPass. You can also share certain folders and passwords with other users (say you have a shared Netflix account for everyone in your family) and there’s an option to set up an emergency contact in case someone else needed to get ahold of your passwords for any reason. If you’re extremely privacy-conscious, there’s also a LastPass browser and keyboard that are extremely barebones but don’t track or store any info from you.

The free version of LastPass works on a single device, like your Android phone or tablet, or your desktop computer, but for $12 per year you can sync to as many devices as you’d like. Premium also includes sharing passwords and opens up two-factor authentication, which is probably one of the most secure ways to protect your info. You have to pay for the full year in advance, but at $1 per month, it’s pretty affordable for the convenience and security.

Key items:

  • $12 per year
  • All platform support
  • Fingerprint scanner support
  • Free features
  • Passwords store in cloud
  • Recent hack

Play Store Download Link

Dashlane

Dashlane-Logo

Dashlane is the most similar and most competitive service to LastPass, offering a slightly more polished experience with a few extra features for more money. The concept is still the same; create a master password for your account, then begin storing your passwords, notes, and payment methods. The service secures everything with 256-bit AES encryption and takes security very seriously.

One area where Dashlane has a leg up is in its interface, however. I’m as big of a fan of Material Design as anyone, but Dashlane sticks to its own rules and made an extremely polished UI that’s simple to navigate around. The pop-ups for entering information are less intrusive than what you see with other password managers, but still somehow manage to work better. Android also sports a floating bubble on screen to help you quickly punch in info, too. You’ll still get the fingerprint authentication that’s offered in other apps, plus password generators, note storage, and all the other standard features.

Where Dashlane really shines is with its extra, automated features. The digital wallet offered is one of the most unique things on our list, which gives you a way to quickly store your payment information to input on shopping sites. However, the digital wallet also takes a screenshot of receipts and itemizes what you’ve been buying, which helps you keep track of what you’ve purchased and where your money is going. Most of us probably just trash those receipt emails in our inbox, but Dashlane autonomously takes care of that for you.

The app also audits your security for you, tracking any site that you have stored on your account. It gives out a security score that lets you know how well you’re doing with your passwords, and if you’ve got some weak passwords, gives you a quick way to change them to something more secure. Dashlane offers bulk, automated password changing on supported websites, so it can even update your passwords without you having to do anything. If an account that you use is breached, it will also proactively alert you to the breach to get your password changed ASAP.

Here’s the kicker for Dashlane: it’s $39.99 per year. There aren’t any options for monthly subs, and compared to something like LastPass, it’s nearly four times as expensive. You can use the free version if you don’t want device syncing, so if you’re only looking for password management on a single device, it’s fine, but I feel like most of us at least have another laptop or tablet around that could benefit from syncing. That’s not to say that it isn’t worth it at $40 for 12 months, because the app does offer some extremely useful features that you can’t get anywhere else, but the price tag clearly won’t be for everyone.

Key items:

  • $39 per year
  • Better interface, more features
  • Fingerprint scanner support
  • Integrated browser; floating app on Android
  • Automatic password change in bulk

Play Store Download Link

1Password

1password

1Password is a slightly more simplified way to keep your passwords in sync, and for those of you that hate recurring costs, it’s one of the few apps that you can pay for once and be done with. It’s a pretty basic app otherwise, with fingerprint authentication, a built-in browser and keyboard for quickly accessing your stored passwords, and a strong password generator.

The app stores passwords, payment methods, and other info, and actually offers a pretty great interface that’s better than some of the other less expensive options. It does take a different approach to syncing your information that doesn’t involve storing anything about you, so if you’re looking for a nearly-completely offline approach to storing your passwords, this is it.

Instead of your passwords being backed up to a server from 1Password, you can either sync things through one of two cloud services, or over WiFi. Syncing things over WiFi relies on your desktop being on the same WiFi network as your mobile device, then keeping things in step that way. While it’s a manual process and a little more inconvenient, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t the most secure way of doing things.

If the WiFi network sync is too much of a hassle, 1Password can back your passwords up to Dropbox or iCloud. I can’t imagine too many of our readers are relying very heavily on iCloud, so Dropbox would be the only option for an Android user. (iCloud sync wouldn’t help your Android device, even if you had some Apple products, anyway)

This essentially replaced a company’s servers with Dropbox, and stores an encrypted database on your Dropbox account, so you’d definitely want a secure password and two-factor authentication set up there. But as long as you maintain your Dropbox security, you won’t have to worry about 1Password ever being hacked and losing any of your info.

1Password’s biggest drawback is its confusing pricing scheme. It’s $49 per desktop OS (Windows and OS X) and $10 per mobile OS (Android and iOS) that are one-off payments, nothing yearly or monthly. Premium allows you to store an unlimited number of items in your database, and includes some extra organization tools. Up front, that’s a little pricey but over several years it’s a significantly cheaper option. That one-time payment is likely because 1Password doesn’t do any storing on their end, expecting everything to be kept by the user for security.

So, if you have a Windows computer, an iPad, and an Android device, you’d be out $70 for a $49 Windows license and two $9.99 mobile licenses. Granted, you can probably mix and match depending on which features you want on which platform, but it can be a little daunting to figure out at first. Still, this decentralized approach keeps everything in your own hands, which arguably makes 1Password one of the most secure solutions on this list.

Key items:

  • $49 one-time on desktop, $10 mobile
  • Secure browser
  • Excellent interface
  • No monthly/yearly charges
  • Confusing pricing

Play Store Download Link

Password Safe

PasswordSafe

Password Safe is an Android-only, totally offline solution for storing your passwords. It’s a heavily Material Design-inspired app with just a few extra features, so if you need something simple and lightweight, this is it.

The app secures everything behind your master password using 128-bit encryption, or 256-bit encryption for Pro users. It offers a password generator that you can even use from a widget on your home screen, and it organizes and stores everything for you locally with no internet access or unnecessary Android permissions. For someone that relies heavily on their Android phone without needing a tablet or a computer, this is the way to go.

The Pro version offers some useful extra features, like fingerprint authentication, attaching pictures to entries, custom entry fields, automatic logout, and a unique self-destruct feature for a very powerful layer of security. The app does also support exporting its database, which you can then upload to Dropbox/Drive/etc. which allows for manually backing up and restoring your info, but since it doesn’t have internet permissions in Android, that’s the extent of its syncing and backup functionality.

Password Safe only costs $3.49 for the Pro features, which is by far the cheapest solution on this list. It’s customizable, it’s secure, and it takes Material Design to heart, so there’s a lot to like even if it’s short on the feature list.

Key items:

  • One-time payment
  • Offline storage, no risk of being hacked
  • Material design
  • Widget support
  • Fingerprint support
  • Self-destruct feature

Play Store Download Link

Enpass

enpass

Enpass is one of the most cross-platform solutions available that also tries to avoid collecting any data about you, for security purposes. It doesn’t require any kind of account through Enpass and syncs using popular cloud storage, and it offers affordable extensions and apps for almost every platform you might have.

When you start up Enpass, you’ll be required to set a master password, and that’s it. No other passwords, no email addresses, just the password. From here you can set up fingerprint authentication, auto-lock settings, and start storing passwords. Enpass offers 256-bit encryption and a strong password generator, which you should probably expect as a standard for any password managers at this point.

You can import other password databases into Enpass if you’re migrating over, but the app also supports backing things up to OneDrive, Drive, Dropbox, Box, and a few other cloud services. That covers just about all platforms for syncing, including some more obscure systems like BlackBerry OS and Linux distributions. In fact, Enpass also offers apps for those platforms on its website, with links to Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Linux downloads. Plus, it supports all of the major platforms, too, so anyone using Windows, OS X, iOS, or Android will be covered. A dedicated Chrome OS download is the only thing missing, but considering there’s a Chrome extension, you’re still covered.

Otherwise, Enpass supports storing a ton of information and offers some in-depth customization to get things working exactly how you like them. On Android, the app offers a pretty slick interface that’s pleasant to navigate. It’s not the best on this list, but it’s close. It also has templates for things like licenses and travel info, plus several others, which is something that’s fairly unique to Enpass.

Enpass is completely free on the desktop, while mobile apps cost $10 to store more than 20 items. It could get a little pricey if you’re using iOS and Android, but even then $20 for two lifetime licenses shouldn’t break the bank.

It’s tough to recommend Enpass over some of the other services, but if you need support for some more obscure platforms and are looking to save a few bucks in exchange for losing a few features, it’s probably the best budget-friendly password manager you can find.

Key items:

  • Free desktop app, only pay for mobile
  • Fingerprint support
  • Extensions and autofill for mobile apps
  • Extensions on major browsers
  • Syncs through personal cloud storage (Dropbox, Box, etc)
  • Material design, lightweight

Play Store Download Link

Closing

This list covers most of the popular and secure password managers available in Google’s Play Store, including some of the better free, paid, and subscription models.

Did we miss any of your favorites? Drop a comment and let us know.

Come comment on this article: Best password managers [2016]

2
Feb

NVIDIA pulls Marshmallow update for the SHIELD Tablet due to Wi-Fi issues


 

nvidia_shield_tablet_landscape

Yesterday, we reported that NVIDIA had just started rolling out the long-awaited Marshmallow update to its SHIELD Tablets located in Europe and North America. However, the manufacturer has now pulled the upgrade owing to the presence of a major bug which renders the device somewhat useless by severing all ties to the Internet when using a Wi-Fi connection.

Please be aware that this error is only present on the original SHIELD Tablet that launched back in July 2014 and not the SHIELD Tablet K1 — so if you’re lucky enough to own the latter, you can navigate into Settings, followed by About Devices and Check for Updates to manually pull the OTA from NVIDIA’s servers if you haven’t been prompted to do so already.

Unfortunately, the American consumer technology giant failed to provide any details with regards to when it will reinitiate the update for the original SHIELD, but I can only hope that it’s soon as I personally cannot wait to take advantage of the new Adoptable Storage feature.

Source: NVIDIA

Come comment on this article: NVIDIA pulls Marshmallow update for the SHIELD Tablet due to Wi-Fi issues

2
Feb

SoundCloud gets new stations feature for finding new music


soundcloud_app_icon

SoundCloud has big plans in store for 2016. The company is reportedly interested in creating an audio-streaming service. With SoundCloud’s latest update, it appears that the they’re already getting users ready.

SoundCloud’s new stations feature along with its newly added continuous play tool let users listen to new songs in a mix. SoundCloud will learn from the music you listen to and put together a suggested station. Users can enter this mode by clicking on the menu icon in the top right corner of the app and selecting the ‘start track station’ option. Just like any other song, you’ll be able to see the name of the song being played, the artist, as well as some other information about the track. You can also view your history by visiting your profile. We have seen other companies take similar approaches with their own streaming services.

SoundCloud is hoping that this new feature lets users discover new music that they’ve never heard before. This may be SoundCloud prepping for an audio-streaming service, which is expected to come out in 2016. The update containing this new feature is available today in both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. What do you think of this new feature? Is it a hint of what’s to come? Let us know in the comments.

Play Store Download Link

Come comment on this article: SoundCloud gets new stations feature for finding new music

2
Feb

February security patches make way to the BlackBerry Priv


BlackBerry_Priv_Angle

Last month we were shocked at how fast the BlackBerry Priv got its security patch update. This month, the update began hitting units in half the time.

So far, BlackBerry has been really on top of things when it comes to updates. Just yesterday, Google published the factory images for February’s monthly security patch updates. Only hours later, BlackBerry rolled out theirs. Security is one of BlackBerry’s highlighting focuses with its transition to Android, and it doesn’t want to depress users about delayed updates either.

The update includes this month’s security patches, which will hopefully keep Priv units out of harm’s way until March. All unlocked Priv units should receive the update within the next few days. Carrier variants are expected to get it sometime next week. If you don’t get the notification right away, be patient. You can try going into settings under ‘About Phone’ and then ‘check for new software updates.’ Let’s hope BlackBerry continues pushing timely updates in the future.

Source: BlackBerry

Come comment on this article: February security patches make way to the BlackBerry Priv

2
Feb

Video Review: The Nodus Shell for iPhone 6s Features a Magnetic Mounting System


The Nodus Shell case for the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus comes from UK company Nodus and is featured in our latest video review. Made from Italian leather and available in black, brown, or yellow, the Nodus Shell has a design that’s similar to Apple’s own leather iPhone cases with cutouts for the volume and power buttons and openings at the top and bottom to leave ports and speakers available.

What’s unique about the Nodus Shell is the magnetic plate that’s built into the interior, allowing it to be mounted anywhere using small but powerful magnets called Micro Docks. Using adhesive, a Micro Dock can be positioned on a wall, in a car, or at the edge of a desk, allowing an iPhone to be docked in multiple places.

We found the magnets to be strong enough to hold the iPhone in place and one of our favorite aspects was the Nodus Shell’s ability to also work with other magnet-based systems. According to Nodus, there’s also magnetic shielding included in the case to protect the iPhone from magnetic damage.

The Nodus Shell can be purchased from the Nodus website for GBP49.99 or $72.11, with free shipping to the United States available.

Note: Nodus provided a Nodus Shell to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received.

Discuss this article in our forums

2
Feb

First Details on iPhone 7 Design: Flush Rear Camera, No Antenna Bands Across the Back


Apple’s iPhone 7 isn’t expected to launch until the usual September timeframe, but we’re starting to get our first hints of what we might be able to expect for the new device. According to a source who has provided reliable information in the past, the iPhone 7 body will appear very similar to the design used for the iPhone 6 and 6s, with two significant exceptions.

The first involves the rear camera, which protrudes slightly on the iPhone 6 and 6s. On the iPhone 7, the camera is said to sit flush with the rear casing, enabled by a thinner camera module. Recent rumors have indicated Apple is considering equipping the iPhone 7 Plus with a dual-lens rear camera, but the smaller iPhone 7 is expected to include a more traditional camera.

iphone_7_render_mrMockup of iPhone 7 case showing flush rear camera and no antenna bands across rear

The other significant change with the body of the iPhone 7 is the removal of antenna bands across the rear, allowing for a cleaner all-metal look on the back. Antenna bands at the sides and around the top and bottom edges are said to remain, however.

Our source has been unable to confirm whether the device as a whole will be thinner than the iPhone 6 and 6s, although any thickness reductions would be expected to be slight, and many users (particularly those who use their devices without cases) will likely find the flush rear camera to be a significant improvement even if other dimensions remain the same.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7

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2
Feb

Apple’s smaller iPhone and new iPad tipped for March 15th event


The iPhone 5se and iPad Air 3 rumors are piling up, and it looks like we won’t have to wait long to get the official details. Both BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski and 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, both of whom have solid track records when it comes to rumors, report that Apple’s next event will take place on March 15th. The agenda for the soiree is said to include that long-rumored 4-inch iPhone and the new iPad Air that we got a look at yesterday. What’s more, an Apple Watch software update should be discussed at the event alongside a collection of new bands. We’ll know soon if the date is solid, as the official invites should be out sometime this month.

Source: BuzzFeed News, 9to5Mac

2
Feb

NASA’s first SLS launch will send cubesats into deep space


NASA announced on Tuesday that the first mission for its new Space Launch System in 2018, dubbed Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), will send more than a dozen mini-satellites as well as an unmanned Orion spacecraft into deep space.

The cubesats will test a number of design and technology ideas that will help researchers better understand the rigors of deep space travel ahead of NASA’s planned missions to Mars. The satellites will perform a variety of tasks. The Skyfire cubesat from Lockheed Martin, for example, will gather vital data about the makeup of the lunar surface while the BioSentinel cubesat will use yeast monitor the long-term effects of deep space radiation on organisms and the CuSP “space weather station” will measure particles and magnetic fields in space to see if a network of such stations is practical. The unmanned Orion spacecraft will be sent into a stable orbit around the moon to show that it can be safely operated in tandem with the SLS. If the launch is successful, NASA can move on to crewed flights.

Source: NASA

2
Feb

Microsoft formally recalls Surface Pro power cords


Microsoft said it would recall Surface Pro power cords to head off potential fire risks, and it’s following through on that promise. The Redmond crew has officially recalled about 2.25 million AC power cables for Surface Pro tablets sold before March 15th, 2015. If you own a Surface Pro 3 or earlier, you’re likely due for a free replacement. There haven’t been many reports of these cables catching fire (56, to be exact), but it’s safe to say that you don’t want to take a chance if you can avoid it.

Via: Reuters

Source: Microsoft, CPSC

2
Feb

Are you on the fastest LTE network in the U.S.?


LG Optimus G Pro aa 5 4g lte 1600

If data is king, data speeds are the Galactic Emperor. Following the analogy, weak or patchy network connections are the thermal exhaust port through which an upstart young Rebel pilot could successfully fire two proton torpedoes, leading to a chain reaction that could blow up the entire U.S….carrier…system. OK, I may have gotten a little carried away there, but suffice to say LTE speeds are critical. A new report has revealed the fastest LTE network in the U.S.: are you on it?

OpenSignal has posted its most recent State of Mobile Networks: USA report, covering Q4, 2015, and the results are a little mixed. On the positive side, U.S. LTE networks get an A grade for coverage, ranking among the most extensive in the world. But when the report turns to the speed of those networks, things take a turn for the worse, with OpenSignal claiming the “U.S. finds itself falling short”.


LG Optimus G Pro aa 5 4g lte 1600See also: What is LTE? Everything you need to know27

The fastest LTE network in the U.S. is…

So which carrier has the fastest LTE network? T-Mobile, by a hair’s breadth, defeating Verizon at 4G download speeds by less than a third of a MB/sec. T-Mobile scored download speeds of 12.26 MB/sec compared to Verizon’s 11.98 MB/sec. When we switch to 3G download speeds, T-Mobile is way ahead, with 3.48 MB/sec compared to Verizon’s paltry 0.66 MB/sec (AT&T took second spot with 2.22 MB/sec).

US_LTE_network_speeds OpenSignal

But Verizon still comes out on top in terms of coverage. Verizon has the best LTE coverage in the U.S., with Big Red customers assured of a 4G connection 86.73% of the time. In second place (but trending downwards from previous months) AT&T customers were guaranteed a solid connection 82.63% of the time, while T-Mobile was right behind at 81.23%.

Even the fastest 4G network speed in the U.S. – T-Mobile’s 12.26 MB/sec – is below the global average.

While these figures may sound pretty good to you, the coverage percentage is the only number that’s worth getting excited about. The problem with U.S. carrier data speeds is that they average out at just 9.9 MB/sec, well and truly below the international average of 13.5 MB/sec. Even the fastest 4G network speed in the U.S. – T-Mobile’s 12.26 MB/sec – is below the global average.

OpenSignal_4g_speeds_regional_results Open Signal

OpenSignal takes this as an opportunity to call out American carriers, claiming the U.S. is “no longer pushing mobile technology boundaries like it used to”, putting the industry in the same league as Argentina, a country that only rolled out its first LTE network a year ago.

Are you happy with your LTE data speeds? Would you have picked T-Mobile as the fastest?

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