Getting Started with Strongbox

Learn how to set up Strongbox to start storing your passwords, credit cards and other secrets.

Contents

🔐 What Is Strongbox?

Strongbox is a password manager that is beautifully designed and extremely secure.

Use Strongbox to securely store all of your passwords and other secrets––credit cards, identification documents, notes, and more–so that you never forget them. 

Strongbox makes it easy to use unique and complex passwords that are difficult for hackers to crack.

Why You Should Use A Password Manager

The most secure passwords are unique, complex and long. Unfortunately this also makes them very difficult to remember. 

This leads many people to use a small collection of simple and short passwords that they share across multiple apps and websites. This makes them an easy target for cybercriminals. 

Simple and short passwords are easy for hackers to crack in seconds or minutes using automated tools. Complex and long passwords would take multiple years to crack using those same tools, making the risk no longer worth the reward. 

Furthermore, if you’re using the same password across multiple sites, then all of those sites could be vulnerable if a single one of them is compromised. Meaning if a hacker obtained your credentials for one site, for example Netflix, they would try those same credentials on other sites, such as Google or Facebook.

What Makes Strongbox Different From Other Password Managers?

Strongbox gives you more control over how your passwords and other secrets are stored, secured and opened. 

Storage

Unlike most other password managers, with Strongbox you can choose to store your password database file anywhere. 

Most Strongbox users choose to use the built-in Strongbox Sync storage to store their databases. This is the easiest way and the recommended choice for most people getting started. Others choose to use their cloud storage provider of choice, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, iCloud, etc. Some more technical users set up their own server or even keep their database local-only. It’s up to you! 

Security

Strongbox supports a wide range of state-of-the-art cryptographic technologies with which to secure your data from hackers. 

By default Strongbox uses various symmetric ciphers like the DOD standard AES256 algorithm, but you can also choose the Bruce Schneier designed TwoFish or a modern stream cipher like ChaCha20. Strongbox supports a host of new technologies and options, such as the award winning GPU-resistant Argon2 KDF, as well as hardware keys such as YubiKey, and more. 

Portability

Strongbox is built on industry leading and open source standards. This means you can open your password database with a wide variety of different password managers that are based on these same standards, on every imaginable platform. And if you decide to leave Strongbox you can do so easily and immediately. There’s zero lock-in.

🗂 Creating A New Database

The first thing to do is create a new database to store your entries in. Entries are passwords, credit cards, identification documents, or anything else that you want to keep secret and secure.

You can keep all of your entries in a single database, or create several databases for different projects or areas of your life, e.g. Work or Personal, or perhaps a shared Family database.

To Create A New Database

On iPhone & iPad

  1. Launch Strongbox and tap the blue Get Started button in the middle of your screen, or if you don’t see that, tap the + button in the top right of the screen and select Get Started Wizard.
  2. Tap the blue Create New Database when asked.
  3. Enter a name for your database, such as ‘Kelley’s Database’ or ‘Personal’. Then tap Next.
  4. Create a strong and memorable master password (see below) and tap Create
  5. We recommend you print out a hard copy of the master password. We call this an ‘Emergency Sheet’ that you should store safely at home or at the office, in case you ever forget your master password.


On Mac

  1. In the menu bar at the very top of your screen, click FileNew
  2. On the New Database screen you can leave the default “Strongbox Sync” selected and click the blue Select ‘Strongbox Sync’ button at the bottom
  3. Enter a name for your database, such as ‘Kelley’s Database’ or ‘Personal’.
  4. Create a strong and memorable master password (see below) and click OK.
  5. You have now created a new database, and you will be prompted for your master password to Unlock it. Go ahead and do so.

🗝 Choosing A Master Password

All of your passwords and other entries will be stored behind your master password. It needs to be something that you will remember but also something that’s very secure, so that it cannot be guessed by another person. 

Your master password will be the only password that you ever need to remember once you start using Strongbox.

There are many ways to create a master password that is both memorable and secure. Generally speaking, the total length of the password is more important than the variety of characters that are used. Therefore, a password made up of several recognisable words can be stronger than a shorter password that includes numbers and symbols. For more information, check out the following article from The Intercept: Passphrases That You Can Memorize — But That Even The NSA Can’t Guess

⚠️ Remember, if you forget your master password you will not be able to unlock your database and we will not be able to reset it for you either. This is part of our zero knowledge security architecture.

🚚 Moving To Strongbox From Another App

It’s easy to import your passwords to Strongbox from another password manager. We have individual guides for some of the most popular:

Other Password Managers And Browsers – CSV

The process for exporting your passwords is slightly different for each password manager and browser. As long as you can export to the CSV file format, then the process to then import the CSV file into Strongbox is the same in all cases. Note that the CSV file may need to be edited so that it has the correct formatting and columns. See our guide on this here.

Importing CSV to Your Database On iPhone

  1. Open Strongbox
  2. Tap the plus icon (+) in the top right of the screen
  3. Tap More
  4. Tap Generic CSV under Import
  5. Navigate to and tap on your CSV file and follow on screen instructions

Importing CSV to Your Database On Mac

  1. Open Strongbox
  2. In the menu bar at the very top of your screen, click File
  3. Select Import
  4. Click Generic CSV…
  5. Navigate to and select your CSV file
  6. Click Open and follow on screen instructions.

⚠️ Make sure to delete the exported CSV file when you’re finished. This file is unencrypted, meaning if someone else was to get access to it there would be nothing stopping them stealing all of your data!

KeePass

KeePass is natively supported by Strongbox. This means that you can use your existing KeePass databases, and Strongbox will read and edit them for you, no need to change formats.

On Mac

  1. Open the Strongbox app
  2. In the menu bar at the very top of your screen, click File
  3. Click Open…
  4. Navigate to and select your KeePass database file
  5. Click Open

On iPhone And iPad

  1. Add your KeePass database to your iPhone or iPad – either locally in the Files app or in a cloud storage provider of your choice
  2. Open the Strongbox app
  3. Tap the plus icon (+) in the top right of the screen
  4. Tap Add Existing
  5. Select the storage location where your database is located (e.g. Dropbox)
  6. Navigate to and tap on your database file
  7. Tap Add

☁️ Syncing Your Database Between Your Devices

Syncing means keeping your passwords and other entries up to date across your devices, such as your iPhone, iPad and Mac. Strongbox is different to most other password managers in that it allows you to control where you store your data.

For most people, we recommend you use Strongbox Sync, the default. This makes your databases available across all your devices automatically and if you’ve followed our steps above your database will already be on Strongbox Sync, and you don’t need to do anything. Easy!

Alternatively you can use your own cloud provider to store and sync your data, as this means that you won’t lose your passwords and other entries if your device is lost or damaged. 

You can select from Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive which have native integration with Strongbox. Tap + > Create New Database to see your storage options.

✍️ Creating Your First Entry

Entries can consist of any information that you want to keep secret and secure. That could be a password, credit card or even a document or image, such as a scan of your passport.

To Create A New Entry

Let’s assume you want to store the login information for a website.

On iPhone & iPad

  1. Tap More (…) in the top right of the screen
  2. Tap New Entry
  3. Enter a title for your entry, for example ‘Strava
  4. Enter the username you use for that website (this is often your email address)
  5. Enter your password for that website
  6. Enter the URL for that website
  7. Tap Done

On Mac

  1. Click the plus icon (+) in the top right of the screen, next to the search bar
  2. Enter a title for your entry, for example ‘Strava’
  3. Enter the username you use for that website (this is often your email address)
  4. Enter your password for that website
  5. Enter the URL for that website
  6. Click Save & Close

Now you’ve saved the password, you’re ready to log into that website using AutoFill for Safari.

🗃 Organise Your Entries With Tags, Groups and Favourites

Once you have multiple entries in your database, you will probably want to organise them to make them easier to work with. Strongbox offers various ways to do this.

Groups

Groups function like folders. An entry can only be in one group at a time.

One advantage of groups is that it’s possible to exclude specific groups from appearing in search results.

To Create a New Group

On iPhone/iPad
  1. Tap the More menu button (the three dots in the top right of the screen)
  2. Tap New Group
  3. Type the name of your new group
  4. Tap OK
On Mac
  1. Click the icon with the folder and + symbol in the top toolbar (alternatively, click Database in the menu bar > Create Group)
  2. Type the name of your new group
  3. Click OK

To Add an Entry to a Group

On iPhone/iPad
  1. Long-press on an entry
  2. Tap Move
  3. Select the destination group
  4. Tap Move Here (at the bottom of the screen)
On Mac
  1. Find the entry you want to move
  2. Drag and drop the entry from the list of entries to the group in the lefthand sidebar

Tags

You can add as many tags as you like to an entry. For instance, you could add both “work” and “messaging” tags to a single entry for Slack.

To Add a Tag to an Entry

On iPhone/iPad
  1. Open the entry
  2. Tap Edit
  3. Scroll down to the Tags section
  4. Type the tag name
  5. Tap Return on the onscreen keyboard
  6. Tap Done (in the top right corner of the screen)
On Mac
  1. Open the entry
  2. Click Edit (the pencil icon above the entry name in the righthand column)
  3. Select the text field in the Tags section
  4. Type the tag name
  5. Hit return on your keyboard
  6. Click Save & Close

N.B. On Mac you can also, like with groups, drag and drop entries across to a tag in the lefthand sidebar to add them to that tag.

To Create a New Tag

The process is very similar when creating a new tag. Simply follow the steps above except, instead of typing the name of an existing tag, type a new tag name and hit return. This will create a new tag in your database that you can then add to other entries.

Favourites

For the entries that you refer to most, add them to your favourites to make them easily accessible. On iPhone and iPad, favourites have a dedicated list that can be accessed by tapping the star icon in the bottom menubar. On Mac, they have their own section in the lefthand sidebar.

Favourited entries also appear at the top of the results when you’re autofilling passwords in your browser.

Mark an Entry as a Favourite on iPhone/iPad

  1. Long-press the entry from within the list of entries
  2. Tap Favourite

Mark an Entry as a Favourite on Mac

  1. Right-click the entry from within the list of entries
  2. Click Favourite

🪄 AutoFill Passwords

Once you’ve saved your login information as an entry in the Strongbox app, you can automatically log into that website when browsing the web.

Safari

On iPhone And iPad

Step 1: Setup AutoFill
  1. Open the Settings app on your iOS device, scroll down and tap Passwords
  2. Use Touch ID, Face ID or your passcode to authenticate
  3. Tap Passwords Options
  4. Tap AutoFill Passwords
  5. Make sure AutoFill Passwords is turned on
  6. Make sure that under the Allow Filling From section, Strongbox is ticked
Step 2: Automatically Login To A Website In Safari
  1. Open the Safari app
  2. Navigate to a website for which you’ve stored a password in Strongbox
  3. Go to login to that site
  4. Tap on the username or password field on the website
  5. Select the username you want to use from your device’s keyboard
  6. Use Touch ID, Face ID or your phone’s passcode to authenticate
  7. Login!

On Mac

Step 1: Setup AutoFill
  1. Open the System Preferences app on your Mac
  2. Click on Extensions
  3. Click on Password AutoFill
  4. Tick the checkbox next to the Strongbox app
Step 2: Automatically Login To A Website In Safari
  1. Open the Safari app
  2. Navigate to a website which you have a saved password in Strongbox for
  3. Go to login to that site
  4. In the username or password field on the website, click the small key icon
  5. Select Strongbox…
  6. Enter your master password and click Unlock
  7. From the list of entries in your database, select the website you’re logging into
  8. Login!

Chrome & Firefox

To autofill your browser when using Chrome or Firefox (as well as Chromium based browsers), simply download our official browser extension and unlock your database:

Learn More

🏔 Next Steps

If you would like to learn more about Strongbox and how you can make the most of its powerful features, check out these resources:

We hope you enjoy using Strongbox! If you do, please consider leaving us a review. It helps us out immensely.