Google Chrome, Edge, and all the other major browsers have password manager features, but should you use them? Discover 6 reasons why you shouldn’t use your web browser’s password manager
Password managers have become so essential that web browsers offer integrated solutions. While browser-based password managers are free, standalone third-party solutions are also available.
But it would help if you didn’t use the password manager built into your browser. And here are 6 reasons why you shouldn’t use your web browser’s password manager
Conventional browsers offer password management functions. There are no surprises here as it is just one way to make sure you are hooked on the ecosystem.
The list of conventional browsers with built-in password managers includes Google Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Brave. These password managers work to some extent in the same way as the standalone alternatives. One thing that makes browser-based password managers so appealing is convenience.
They are very convenient without the need for additional downloads and your passwords are automatically synced with your data. Log into your account and you are ready to go. Also, browser-based password managers are free to use, with no limitations, at least as far as the available features are concerned.
In Chrome, for example, passwords are saved to your Google account and you can access them by going to passwords.google.com. But if you are not signed in, Chrome will save the passwords locally.
And when you enter a password on a site for the first time, your browser will ask you to save it. Chrome will then provide the login credentials the next time you want to log in to that specific site whose logins are kept in your vault.
While this ability is good, you should not use browser-based password managers. These are just some of the reasons.
The first advantage of using dedicated third-party password managers is cross-platform support. You can use separate password managers on virtually any platform and in all browsers. The same cannot be said for browser password managers.
Let’s say you have your passwords stored in Opera; you cannot access them in Google Chrome.
The only browser that offers some autonomy is Firefox, which renamed its password manager role to Lockwise and released a separate app on Android and iOS.
2 . They do not include easy and secure sharing options
Standalone password managers provide a convenient and secure way to share credentials. On the other hand, browser password managers don’t. It can be a problem for some, especially if you share some accounts online with family or friends, be it music and video streaming services like Spotify and Disney+.
Third-party password managers include family packages, which offer shared folders that all members can access. Shared folders are a typical password manager feature that allows you to share specific credentials conveniently and securely.
If you update a password, it will be updated for everyone, without ever needing to share the password again.
Password managers also offer two sharing options: one-to-one and one-to-many. That is as convenient as possible.
3. Can’t store more than passwords
Modern password managers allow you to save more than just passwords. You can store your photos, videos, and documents. And they offer you a few gigabytes of secure cloud storage for this purpose. You can also store notes, addresses, payment cards, and even a driver’s license.
On the other hand, browser-based password managers don’t offer any of that. You cannot save your documents, notes, or media files. They only support password storage.
Most of them, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and Opera, allow you to store payment cards. But that’s it. So if you want to store more than passwords and payment cards, you’d better switch to third-party password managers.
4. Not as powerful as standalone password managers
Simply put, the browser’s password managers are not as powerful as their third-party alternatives. As an example, let’s look at the password generator feature in Chrome. It automatically generates unique and strong passwords, but that’s on their terms.
You cannot customize the generated password to suit your needs. There is no option to adjust the password length and there is no way to tell Google whether to include symbols or digits, both or neither. This lack of customization is standard for browser-based password managers.
Unfortunately, this is an essential password generator feature offered by even internet-based password generator websites, which are only a search away. With the browser’s password managers, you also can’t add notes to each saved entry or even toggle top-level URLs with similar credentials.
While some browser password managers like Firefox’s Lockwise now have a separate app, other browsers like Safari don’t. That means you can’t use auto-fill passwords outside of the browser. If you want to log into your Twitter account through the app, you need to copy your password and username and paste them.
This is not as convenient as what you get with standalone password managers; Not to mention the security implications, as some apps can access your clipboard content.
Of course, if you use Chrome, you can skip all the complexities and sign up or log in to apps through your Google account. In iOS, it is convenient to save the passwords of the application directly or have them in Safari. But in addition to these two, the browser’s remaining password managers are inconvenient to fill in passwords for applications.
6. Safety concerns
While browser-based password managers have generally improved on the security front, unlike the days before, some cybersecurity experts still feel they are not secure enough. This is especially true when comparing browser password managers to their standalone alternatives.
And for those concerned about privacy, the lack of a self-hosting option could be a problem.
That is not to say that browser password managers are not safe to use. In terms of security, they are fine.
On the other hand, standalone password managers are created with security in mind. They include 256-bit bank-grade Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption and a zero-knowledge architecture. They also have advanced multi-factor authentication that uses hardware keys in conjunction with other security features.
Switch to standalone password managers
Browser-based password managers offer only a small number of the necessary basic functions. However, you will lose the autonomy to switch browsers as you wish, fill in passwords in apps, store more than just passwords, and share credentials securely.
You’ll also miss out on other extras that password managers offer, such as emergency access and advanced security features.
If you agree with the basic functionality, browser-based password managers are sufficient, although we do not recommend them. Make your switch to standalone password managers today.