App review: Use Keepass2Android as your password manager on Android phones and tablets. It securely stores your login details.

There are many password managers, but Keepass has been around longer than most and existed even before Android was invented. It puts the control of your passwords and security in your own hands.

Keepass is different to many password managers and basically it is a general tool to create and access encrypted databases, with a bias towards storing passwords. It can store more than just passwords and URLs, notes, addresses, names and almost any textual information can be stored in it.

The software is available on Android, iOS, Windows PC, Apple Mac and Linux, so it works almost everywhere. At one time it was a bit of a pain to work with across multiple devices because it was hard to keep the databases in sync, but online storage like Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox and others has simplified this. You just store your password database on one of these services. It is encrypted, so there are no security problems.

Why use Keepass2Android?

One reason for using the app is to take control of your passwords. You don’t trust some company online to look after them, you work with your own encrypted database that is saved to your own online storage. No-one else has access but you.

KeePass2Android, and Keepass on PC and Mac, can be used as a backup for your current password manager. If you have your passwords managed by a third party service and you lose access to your account for some reason, you could access your backup passwords in Keepass. Remember that when files are stored only in one place, they are at risk.

Related: 2 VPN services to secure your phone connection

Open the database

When Keepass2Android starts up, it asks you to open a file or create a new one. It then presents you with a wide range of options such as Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, HTTP WebDav, FTP and more. Online storage is how Keepass2Android manages to keep in sync across devices and computers.

A Keepass database created using the Windows version of Keepass loaded from Google Drive without any problems. Just enter the database password and you can access all your passwords and other private information.

 Keepass2Android opening screen Load a password database into Keepass2Android

I created a new password entry on my Android phone and opened Keepass in Windows on my PC a minute later and the entry was there. Any time you make a change or add a new password, it saves the database so it is instantly available elsewhere.

Store a password

The home screen shows the password entries that have been created and there is a large plus button to add new ones.

The app offers to add a selection of templates when it is first used and these are useful for credit cards, email, ID cards, membership, secure notes and wireless LAN. They provide custom fields, so if you choose the email template, there are fields to enter the URL and email address.

Alternatively, you can select the default new entry form, which has general fields. These include a name, username, password, URL, and notes. There is an option to add extra fields and you can enter a name and the content. It is fairly flexible, so you can store any text information. You can even attach files too.

 Keepass2Android home screen Keepass2Android templates for storing passwords
Screenshots are disabled, so these are photos of the screen

Passwords should be long and complicated, which makes opening Keepass databases tedious and prone to typing slips, at least on a phone keyboard. There is a solution and a quick unlock feature can be enabled and this requires just the last three characters of the password. It is not quite as secure, but your phone will also be locked by a PIN, password or fingerprint anyway.

Use your passwords

Passwords are required when using certain apps and websites, but password managers on Android in general are quite poor at working with them. On a PC or Mac when you visit a website, the password manager can automatically fill in the username and password box. This usually does not work on mobile. Keepass is no exception.

To use Keepass2Android to log in to a website for example, you must switch to the app, find the site and tap a menu to copy the username or password. You can then switch back to the browser or app and long press to paste it in. It is a slight irritation, but other password managers I have tried are the same.

App: Keepass2Android (Google Play Store)
Price: Free
By: Philipp Crocoll
Size: 42MB installed
Android: 4.0 and up
Verdict: A good free app for storing passwords and other private information