Getting Started With Strongbox

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

An iPhone and a MacBook Pro next to one another, both displaying the Strongbox app.

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. 

An iPhone showing an entry for the NASA website being edited in the Strongbox app

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 store their databases in their cloud storage provider of choice, such as iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. Others 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

An iPhone showing the Strongbox app. A database is being created.

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

  1. Tap the + button in the top right of the screen and select New Database.
  2. Enter a name for your database, such as ‘Kelley’s Database’ or ‘Personal’. Then tap Next.
  3. Create a strong and memorable master password (see below) and tap Create
  1. In the menu bar at the very top of your screen, click File
  2. Click New
  3. Choose Next on the Select Database Format screen (the default is ideal for most people)
  4. Create a strong and memorable master password (see below) and click OK

🔑 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. 

An iPad showing a dialog to create a master password.

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!

🧳 Moving To Strongbox From Another App

It’s easy to import your passwords to Strongbox from another password manager, such as KeePass or 1Password.

1Password

It’s super easy to migrate your data over from 1Password to Strongbox. 

Exporting your 1Password Database

  1. Open 1Password on your computer
  2. Unlock your vault
  3. Click File > Export > All Items.
  4. Save the ‘.1pif’ file somewhere on your computer

Importing your 1Password Database on Mac

  1. Open Strongbox on your Mac
  2. Click on File > Import > Import 1Password (1Pif)
  3. Locate and select the 1Pif file that you exported in Step 1 above

See our full guide for more detailed instructions: Import your data from 1Password (macOS).

Importing Your 1Password Database On iPhone And iPad

  1. Save the 1Pif file to the Files app on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Open Strongbox and tap the plus icon (+) in the top right of the screen
  3. Tap More
  4. Tap Import 1Password
  5. Navigate to and tap on your 1Pif file

Other Password Managers And Browsers

If you’re coming from another password manager, such as LastPass or Dashlane, you will need to export your existing database to a CSV file. The same goes if you’re using your internet browser to store your passwords. 

The process for exporting your passwords is slightly different for each password manager and browser. The process to then import the CSV file into Strongbox is the same in all cases. 

Exporting To CSV

See the individual guides below:

Once you have the CSV file saved on your device, follow the steps below to import that file into Strongbox.

Importing Your Database On Mac

  1. Export your LastPass database as a CSV file
  2. Open Strongbox
  3. In the menu bar at the very top of your screen, click File
  4. Select Import
  5. Click Import CSV…
  6. Navigate to and select your CSV file
  7. Click Open

Importing Your Database On iPhone

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

⚠️ 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

An iPhone showing a list of different database storage locations, including Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.

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 a 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. 

Apple iCloud is the default option when you create your first database. If you’re happy to store your data in iCloud, there’s nothing more that you need to do. 

If you don’t want to use iCloud, you can also select Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive when you create a new database.

✍️ 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.

  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
  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 Commit & Close

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

🪄 AutoFill Passwords In Safari

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 with Safari. 

A Safari window shows the login screen for Strava. There's a dropdown allowing the user to click and AutoFill their login and password credentials.

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 AutoFill Passwords
  4. Make sure AutoFill passwords is turned on
  5. 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

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.