Curated for the Inquisitive Mind


Why Dashlane Is Ditching the Master Password, and How to Sign Up Without One

Key Takeaways

  • Dashlane now allows users to create an account without a master password, using biometrics for more convenience and security.
  • This move addresses the risks of losing a master password and the potential for hackers to gain access to it.
  • Existing Dashlane users can’t convert their account to a passwordless one yet, but new users can set up a passwordless account through the mobile app.

If you use a password manager, you’ll know how important the master password is; lose it, and you risk losing access to your account. However, Dashlane now lets you create an account without a master password. Here’s why, and how to set up a passwordless account.

What Is a Master Password?

Master passwords are the key to your password manager account. When you sign up for a password manager, you set a master password for your account.

It’s called a “master password” because you enter it to “unlock” all of your other account passwords. Once you’ve migrated all of your login details into the password manager, your master password is the only one you need to remember. Just enter it into your password manager and you “unlock” all of your other login details.

While this is convenient for you, it does mean that anyone who learns your login details can access all of your online account credentials. That’s why some password manager companies never store your master password on their servers.

Unfortunately, if you forget your master password, there is no way to get the company to send you a new one or reset it. Password companies give you a recovery key during the sign-up process in case you lose your master password, but if you lose that too, you can no longer log in.

As such, master passwords are a double-edged sword. On the plus side, you only need to remember your master password to gain access to your online accounts. You can use tools to create complicated passwords because you won’t be the one remembering them; the password manager is.

On the flip side, losing your master password could lock you out of your account forever. And if anyone finds out what your master password is, they can gain access to all of your other online accounts.

Why Is Dashlane Ditching the Master Password?

dashlane logo in front of payment card and padlock
Logo Credit: Dashlane SAS/Wikimedia Commons

Master passwords are a staple with password managers; if you make an account, you set up a master password. That’s why Dashlane caused waves when it announced on the Dashlane Blog that it would allow people to sign up without one.

Instead of using a password, you can use your fingerprint or Apple FaceID instead. And while other password managers do allow you to log in with biometrics, they don’t have the option to scrap the master password login method.

Dashlane made this move to tackle the two downsides to master passwords that we mentioned earlier. First, fingerprints and face scans are a lot harder to lose than a password. If you lose the device that contains your biometric data, Dashlane states that you can sign back in using a new device.

Second, it’s a lot harder for hackers to gain access to your fingerprint or facial data than a password. Plus, scammers can’t use phishing to steal your biometric data from you, unlike a password.

It’s worth noting that you can still sign up to Dashlane with a master password if you like. This method is just a way for people who don’t like the idea of a master password to create an account without one.

How to Set Up a Dashlane Account Without a Master Password

At the time of writing, you can’t change an existing Dashlane account to a master passwordless one. You need to make a new account through the Android or iOS app. However, Dashlane does intend to allow existing accounts to drop the master password in the future.

To get started, download Dashlane on Android or iOS. Open the app, then enter the email you want to sign up with.

The next screen will ask you to set up a master password. Don’t do this; instead, look at the bottom of the screen for the Create Passwordless Account button and tap it.

Dashlane will then walk you through the process of making a passwordless account. This includes setting up a PIN and then registering Dashlane with your phone’s biometrics. Once done, you will be the proud owner of a passwordless Dashlane account.

If you want to use your account on a device that doesn’t support biometrics, you can use your phone to verify the login attempt. For example, if you want to install and use Dashlane on Windows, you can log in using your username. Dashlane will then ask you to verify the login through your phone.

Simply go to your phone, press the three bars icon at the top left tap on Settings, then Add New Device. You’ll see the login attempt here; allow it to use Dashlane on your other device. It will remember you for 14 days before you need to repeat the process.


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