LastPass Mac app puts a password manager on your desktop


LastPass is a great password manager and the usual way to access it is by using a web browser extension. However, there is also a desktop app that you can run on your Apple Mac. What’s that for?

The number of passwords that we are required to remember surpassed the ability of our brains to store them a long time ago. Unless you are a lazy person that uses the same password for everything, you need a password manager. It stores website log in details and encrypts them for security.

LastPass is one of the cheapest password managers. In fact, you can use it for free. Even if you upgrade to a Premium account it costs only $1 a month. That is a ridiculously cheap $12 a year. It makes other password managers look expensive.

The password manager is a browser extension and it works in Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Opera. It remembers the websites you log in to and stores user names and passwords. It can also generate passwords that are very complex, impossible to guess, and impossible to remember. Fortunately, you don’t need to remember them because LastPass does it for you.

On the download page at the website is LastPass App for Mac OS, an application that runs on the desktop. It sounded intriguing, so I downloaded it and ran it.

There is an option to create a free LastPass account if you don’t already have one, and an option to log in if you do. The main window then appears.

LastPass for OS X

The app is nicely designed and it is a bit easier to use than logging in at the website using a browser. There are three panels and on the left is a menu, in the middle is a list of websites that have been stored, and the panel on the right is used to display the details of whatever site you select.

Mouse over a website that has been stored and buttons appear that enable the site to be launched in Safari or the password copied. You can copy the password to the clipboard, launch the site, then enter your user name and paste the password in.

There is a button to copy your username, but because the clipboard can only remember one item at a time, it is more useful to put the password on it.

LastPass for OS X

Sites can be added in the app, viewed, and deleted. There isn’t an obvious delete function, but right clicking a site displays a menu and it is on there.

Text notes can be stored too, which enables you to securely save other information, such as credit card PIN numbers, bank details and anything else you want to remember and keep secret.

The app works well and looks good, but the obvious question is, what is the point? If you have the web browser extension you can do everything in the app and more. The extension auto-fills user names and passwords, and forms too. A couple of mouse clicks and you can access your account in the browser to view sites, create and view notes and so on.

LastPass for OS X

At first site it does seem pointless and one way in which it could be made very useful indeed is if it had a local load and save options. Your account is stored online, so being able to save an encrypted copy to the Mac’s disk drive would be a great idea. It would act as a backup in case you lost access to the online version or if you didn’t have an internet connection.

Alas there is no export or import. That is a shame. It would be so easy to add this function and it would make the app so much more useful.

One use for it did spring to mind. The LastPass extension is often just one of many extensions in a browser. Is it possible for extensions to spy on each other or to access the contents of the page in the browser? Running LastPass as an app instead of in a browser might possibly be more secure.

Title: LastPass App for Mac OS 
Price: Free
Developer: LastPass
OS X: 10.8 or later, 64-bit CPU
Size: 6.1 MB
Verdict: A nice app that works well, but it could be more useful.



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