Remembering passwords is hard. Back in the day you only had a few different logins, but now it seems like you need an online account for everything! You have passwords for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your email account(s), Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Slack, Trello, online banking, Amazon, and LinkedIn, to name a few. According to one study, the average person has over 90 online accounts! That’s madness. People have resorted to writing down their passwords (bad idea) or using the same password for everything (worse idea). Or just clicking “Forgot Password” and resetting their password every time they need to login – who has time for that?
Of course, there are fancy (and pricey) password managers like LastPass and 1Password. These are especially great for account security (they require a secure master password to access your ‘vault’ of passwords, and can generate super secure passwords for your online accounts). Here at Meta, we actually use 1Password to keep all of our company passwords secure. But if you’re on a budget and can come up with a secure password on your own, you need look no further than your favorite browser!
When you enter login credentials for a site in Chrome, you’ll be asked if you want Chrome to save & autofill those credentials for you in the future (you can enable or disable this feature by heading to Chrome > Settings > Show advanced settings, and then checking “offer to save your web passwords” in the Passwords and forms section).
If you select “Save Password,” the next time you go to log into that site, Chrome should automatically fill your credentials for you!
You can view your saved passwords at any time by going to Chrome > Settings > Show advanced settings, and then clicking “Manage Passwords” under Passwords and forms. You’ll be prompted to enter your computer password before Chrome reveals any saved passwords.
What I love most about Safari’s password manager is that not only does it automatically save your passwords, but it can also generate secure passwords for you. No more using your pet’s name with a couple numbers at the end!
The only problem with using Safari-generated passwords is that since they’re strings of random numbers and letters, they’re difficult to remember. You shouldn’t need to remember it as long as you’re using Safari on your computer (since Safari will automatically fill your password for you), but you might run into trouble if you need to type your password in a different browser or in a mobile app, for example. Luckily, you can view your saved passwords in Safari at any time by heading to Safari > Preferences > Passwords. As with Chrome, you’ll be prompted to enter your computer password before Safari reveals your saved passwords.
You can manage your Safari autofill settings by going to Safari > Preferences > AutoFill.
Similar to Chrome and Safari, in Firefox any time you enter credentials you’ll be asked if you want Firefox to save the password for you. You can see your saved passwords at any time by going to Firefox > Preferences > Security and clicking “Saved Logins.” Unlike Safari and Chrome, however, Firefox does not ask you to type your computer password before it reveals saved passwords. You do have the option, however, to set a “master password” in Firefox that you’ll need to enter to reveal your saved passwords in the future. You can enable this feature by going to Firefox > Preferences > Security and checking “Use a master password.”
Pros of saving passwords in the browser:
- You don’t have to type your passwords every time you visit a site
- You don’t have to remember your passwords (which means you can use super long & secure passwords!)
- You can view your saved passwords at any time if you need to
- You’re out of luck if you stray from your usual browser (or computer)
- You shouldn’t save passwords on a shared computer
- Don’t use the same password for all of your accounts
- Don’t save your passwords in a text file
- Don’t save your passwords on a shared computer
- Don’t use passwords that are easy to guess (“password”, your pet’s name, etc.) If you’re stumped, this Lifehacker article has some great tips on generating secure passwords.
The main problem I run into is needing to log into an app on my phone. Luckily, you can view saved passwords on your mobile device! It can be a little tedious, but here’s how to access your saved passwords on a mobile device:
Head to the Chrome app and tap the menu button (3 dots at the top right of the window). Select “Settings” from the dropdown, then “Save Passwords”. At the top of the screen you’ll see the option to “View and manage saved passwords at passwords.google.com”. Once you select that, you’ll need to type your Gmail password (which sucks if you can’t remember it!), and then your saved passwords will be revealed.
Note: you can also just head to passwords.google.com and skip the first few steps.
Head to Settings > Safari > Passwords. You’ll be prompted to enter your phone’s passcode (if you have one) to reveal your passwords. Then simply copy and paste the password into the desired app / website / etc.
Head to the Firefox app, select the icon with the number (number of windows you have open!) in it at the top right of the window, then select the settings gear icon at the top left of the window. Under “Privacy” select “Logins”. Select the desired saved login, then press and hold the password to reveal it.
In the Chrome app, tap the menu button (3 dots at the top right of the screen), then select “Settings”. You’ll see the option to “View and manage saved passwords at passwords.google.com”. Once you select that, you’ll need to type your Gmail password, and then your saved passwords will be revealed.
(Again, you can head straight to passwords.google.com to skip the first few steps.)
In the Firefox app, select the menu button (either in the top right corner or at the bottom of the window). Select Settings > Privacy > Manage logins. When you select a login, you’ll have the option to show the password, copy it, etc.
So what are you waiting for? Start making your browser work for you! You (and your wallet) will thank me.