We all know that passwords are an absolute must to keeping your data and devices safe, and most of us just write them down on a piece of paper and leave it near our computers. Let’s face it, we just aren’t good at remembering countless passwords or storing passwords safely.
I’ve seen my clients add them into their contacts or write them down on a notepad just so they don’t forget them. But the worst thing you can do is put it on a post-it and stick it to your computer. Full disclosure, I have one stuck to my screen right now!
So how do we manage hundreds of passwords for every service, website or device?
Well… one way is to enable your browsers to store them for you. I’m sure you’ve seen a pop-up appear when you land on a website that you’ve got an account for, asking if you want your password stored. You can do that, but be sure to set up a master password for your computer or mobile device, otherwise, anyone who gets a hold of your device or computer will have access to all the sites you’ve enabled auto-login for.
There are better ways and I’m going to outline a few easy and safer ways to store them below, so keep reading. Some are free hacks and one is a paid app known as a password manager.
Let’s first talk about the 2 easy (and free) ways you can manage your passwords.
I forget my passwords all the time and I bet you do too. These 2 hacks are a lifesaver. The best part is that you will have access to them wherever you go.
Use a Locked iCloud Note
Apple did a complete overhaul of the Notes app and it works seamlessly now across all your devices – Mac, iPhone and iPad.
Any iCloud note can be password protected… what what!!
I wrote a detailed blog post about iCloud notes HERE… it has pictures you can follow along with.
Ok, back to creating a locked note.
Tap the new note icon to create a note and type out all your current usernames and passwords for each website, service, and device you use.
It may take some time to gather up all those post-its you have scattered around your office or those sitting in a bowl near your computer, but this will be well worth the time spent doing it.
To Lock your note we need to set up a password first that you will use to lock and unlock them.
Go to Settings > Notes > Password
Here you can type in the password you would like, and you can even tap the button to Use Touch ID to lock your notes. This password will be used for all your locked notes, including those that sync to your other devices or to your Mac.
When you’ve finished, navigate back to the Notes app, and to the note you just created with all your passwords listed, and tap the Share icon.
Tap Lock Note.
Enter your Password.
Enter your password again to verify and add a hint if you’d like.
Now instead of remembering a gazillion passwords, you only have to remember just this one.
And if you ever forget your password you can reset it using your iCloud Apple ID password. Go to Settings > Notes > Password and reset it there.
Your note is now a “locked” note but you will still see it until you hide it from view. To do that you just tap the lock icon in the toolbar at the top. To view your note again, tap either View Note on the screen or Tap the lock icon in the toolbar.
If you want to take the lock off of your note, just tap the share icon and tap remove lock.
When you view your list of notes, you will see a lock icon next to any notes that are locked.
This by far is my favorite new feature and now I can keep all my data secure and with me wherever I go.
Use a Locked Evernote Note
Evernote is one of the best apps for capturing and storing your digital life all in one place.
If you have mixed devices and operating systems Evernote might be the best solution for you. You can install the app on your computer, phone or tablet which gives you access to your password protected note on any device at any time.
There is a minor downside to using Evernote to store your passwords. You cannot encrypt notes from your mobile devices, you must create your note on a desktop computer and encrypt it there. You can then unlock and view the note on any of your devices that have the app installed.
If you will be using Evernote on mobile devices only, you can password protect the whole Evernote app too, so that when you launch it on your any of your mobile devices, it will prompt you for the passcode to unlock the entire app. That means double protection!
Go to iTunes or Goggle Play Store and download the Evernote app and install it.
Launch Evernote and create a new note. Include all your current usernames and passwords for each website, service, and device you use.
Select all the text you just added that you want to encrypt and keep private.
Right click and choose Encrypt Selected Text.
Add a passphrase that you will remember in order to unlock the note. But don’t forget it because there’s no way to retrieve it. I would suggest adding a hint.
When you want to access your passwords, launch the app, tap on the note and tap the locked area (it’s a series of bullets highlighted with a lock icon). Enter your passphrase.
The encrypted text will appear.
When you close out of Evernote, it will encrypt the text again so you never have to worry about prying eyes seeing your sensitive data.
For Mobile Only:
Download the Evernote app and install it.
To set up the Passcode Lock for the entire app, tap Account at the bottom of the screen and tap Settings.
Tap Passcode Lock and Turn Passcode On. Enter a 4-digit passcode and confirm it by entering it again.
Set the timeframe to require the passcode when the app is open and running in the background.
Evernote will now be protected by the app-wide passcode.
To view your locked note that you set up on your desktop beforehand, tap on the note and you will see the series of highlighted bullets with a lock icon next to them. Tap the bullets and you will be prompted to type in your passcode in order to view the locked content.
Remember, you have to encrypt your note from your desktop first. Additionally, you have to close out of the app completely after viewing your locked note from your mobile device. If you don’t, the app is still running in the background and your note’s content is still viewable.
Use a Password Manager:
I recommend 1Password.
1Password creates strong and unique passwords for every password protected website or service you use. This is a paid app and is available for iOS, Mac, PC or Android devices, in iTunes or Goggle Play Store. You can get a 30-day free trial when you install it on all your devices.
After downloading and installing the app on all your devices and computers, you can set it up to use a single master password that will secure all of the websites, services, credit card details, Wi-Fi logins and much more that you already have.
Just add your existing usernames and password info into the app and 1Password will generate stronger unique passwords for all your accounts.
You can sign into any website or app using 1Password as the authenticator with just a few taps.
There’s even an alert sent when a site has been compromised and you need to change the password.
This app is pretty powerful and you can go crazy in organizing your secure data into folders, in case you want to share your passwords with family or teams of co-workers.
Well, that’s it! Everyone I share these hacks with, L.O.V.E. them, and I hope they make your life a lot easier too… I know it’ll be a lot safer!