Move Your Passwords from Enpass to KeePass on Mac or iPhone

KeePass offers a number of advantages over Enpass. In this post, we’re going to explain why you might want to switch to KeePass and how to do it quickly and easily.

If you’re only interested in the how-to, you can skip straight to the step-by-step guide.

Why

Portability

KeePass is an open standard file format for storing password databases. Databases are stored as KDBX files. These files can be opened and edited by any KeePass compatible app or client.

This has various advantages. For one thing, you won’t have to go through a laborious import/export process the next time you want to use a different password management app! Once you have your KDBX database file, you can instantly and seamlessly open and edit it in various other apps. This allows you to experiment and find the best app for your needs.

You can use different password management apps on your phone and your computer with the same database file. You could do the same thing with different apps for Mac, Linux and Windows computers.

Transparency

Enpass is closed source. This means that the source code is not available for inspection on open source websites like Github. This does not in and of itself mean that Enpass is doing something suspicious. It’s just not confidence inspiring, and with a tool for managing your most important secrets, we think that’s just not good enough. We always recommend going with Open Source solutions like Strongbox.

How to Switch to KeePass

In order to follow the steps below, you’ll need to download the Strongbox app on your iPhone iPad or Mac.

Strongbox is a free and open source password manager that uses the KeePass file format. It’s available on iPhone, iPad and Mac.

There’s a Pro version of the app available but the free version has everything you need to import, view and edit your passwords. And if you later decide you don’t want to use Strongbox, it’s easy to use your new KeePass database with another compatible app; there’s no lock-in.

Step 1: Exporting from Enpass

  1. Open Enpass on your Mac and unlock your vault.
  2. Go to the menu bar at the top of your screen and click File > Export.
  3. You will be presented with a sidebar (see screenshot below)
  4. Ensure that the format is .json.
  5. Click on the small Folder icon under Choose Location and select a filename and location to export to.
  6. Click Export.
Enpass Export Side Bar

Step 2: Import Enpass JSON using Strongbox

Choose from the instructions below depending on whether you’re importing using your Mac or iPhone/iPad…

2a) On your Mac (macOS)
  1. Open Strongbox, and click File > Import > Enpass (JSON) menu item – see screenshot below.
  2. Locate and select the Enpass JSON file that you exported in Part 1 above. Strongbox will confirm the import was successful.
  3. You now need to set a master password for your new Strongbox database. This can be the same as your old 1Password master password if you like.
  4. Lastly, save your new Strongbox database either locally or on your favourite cloud drive.
  5. Check your entries in Strongbox to make sure all of your data has been imported successfully.
strongbox-mac-import-enpass
2b) On your iPhone or iPad (iOS)
  1. Move the Enpass JSON file that you exported in Part 1 above into a location that can be accessed by your iPhone/iPad.
  2. Open Strongbox and tap the plus symbol (+) in the top right of the screen.
  3. Tap More > Enpass (JSON)… and follow the on screen instructions
  4. Check your entries in Strongbox to make sure all of your data has been imported successfully.
import-enpass-ios

Step 3: Cleanup

  1. Delete the JSON file that you exported from Enpass.

Next Steps

If you want to get familiar with Strongbox, check out our Getting Started guide. We also have extensive help articles available.

And if you have any feedback or issues, don’t hesitate to contact our support team: support@strongboxsafe.com

Sync Passkeys With Strongbox & KeePass

Use Strongbox to save passkeys in your KeePass database and sync them across your devices.

Contents

What Are Passkeys?

Passkeys are a password replacement that allows you to log in to websites and apps by simply unlocking your device, typically with Face ID, Touch ID or a PIN code.

Passkeys don’t need to be remembered, you rely on Strongbox to remember and protect them on your behalf. They’re resistant to hacks and phishing. They are both highly convenient and highly secure.

It’s still early days for passkeys but they are becoming more widely used every day. Apple, Google, Microsoft, and others have already begun supporting passkeys.

Passkeys replace passwords with cryptographic key pairs. The public key is stored by the service that you’re requesting access to, and the private key is stored on your device (or in your Strongbox database). It’s not possible to reverse engineer the private key from the public key.

If you decided to log into your Google account using a passkey:

  1. Google would first request that you provide proof or a “signature” indicating that you know the private key that corresponds to the public key you used when you registered with Google.
  2. Strongbox checks to see if it possesses a matching private key for the requested public key.
  3. If a matching key is found, a mathematical proof or “signature” is sent to Google. This proof assures Google that you possess the matching private key and then access is granted.

This process is much more secure than simply providing a password, whilst at the same time being faster and easier to use.

Why Use Passkeys?

Passwords Can Be Weak

Weak passwords can be easily hacked or guessed. And if a password is reused across multiple services, one hacked account can lead all of the others to be compromised as well.

Strongbox (and password managers in general) already address these issues by encouraging the creation of strong and unique passwords. That said, many people continue to create weak passwords and reuse them across different websites and apps.

In contrast, passkeys are always strong, they’re never short or simple in the way that a password can be. They’re also unique to a single service. No two passkeys are the same.

Passwords Can Be Stolen

If the server for a website or app you use is hacked and your account password is stolen, attackers can have access to your account immediately.

If, on the other hand, attackers gain access to your passkey’s public key, they are not able to access your account without the corresponding private key which is only stored by Strongbox. The private key is never stored on the servers of the websites and apps you use and it cannot be guessed by obtaining the public key.

Passwords Require Extra Measures To Be Secure

Because of all of the aforementioned issues with passwords, an additional layer of security is often added in the form of multi-factor authentication. A second factor is required in addition to the password, either a time-based one time password (TOTP) code or an in-app approval. This way, even if your password is compromised, a hacker still needs this extra factor to gain access to your account.

This extra protection comes at the cost of convenience. Because of this it’s often not enabled by default and most users do not choose to enable it.

Unlike passwords, passkeys are multifactorial by design:

Passkeys are kept on a user’s devices (something the user “has”) and — if the Relying Party requests User Verification — can only be exercised by the user with a biometric or PIN (something the user “is” or ”knows”). Thus, authentication with passkeys embodies the core principle of multi-factor security.

FIDO Alliance

This means all passkeys automatically benefit from increased security without any extra set up or extra steps when signing in.

Passwords Can Be Phished

Phishing is typically achieved by an attacker creating a fake version of a website that looks very similar to the original. The target of the hack is convinced to enter their password into this fake version of the site, usually after being sent a convincing looking email with a link.

TOTP codes can also be phished in this way. The only difference is that the attacker has to log into the real site simultaneously as their target is being phished. When a TOTP code is requested by the real site, the attacker captures the TOTP code entered by the target on their fake site. This process can be automated and deployed at scale.

SIM swap attacks also allow attackers to obtain SMS codes with relative ease.

Using passkeys makes it much harder for an attacker to impersonate a website because the URL of the site you’re logging into is checked before the private key is used to authenticate. Even if the fake site is visually identically to the original, your browser and device will automatically determine that the URL doesn’t match.

Why Manage Your Passkeys With Strongbox

Data Ownership

Managing your passkeys in Strongbox gives you more control.

When you add a passkey to KeePass database in Strongbox, you can control where that passkey is stored and how it is synced between devices.

Strongbox databases can also be configured to sync using a cloud drive, WebDAV or SFTP, transferred over WiFi, USB, or AirDrop, or be local-only. When you manage your passwords and passkeys with Strongbox, you can decide how you store and back them up, and whether you copy them onto multiple devices and how that transfer is done.

Security

Protect your passkeys with state-of-the-art cryptography, brute force resistant KDFs, YubiKey support, and much more.

And everything can be configured to your exact requirements.

Portability

With Strongbox, you can be confident that you will be able to export your passkeys to a different app in the future if needed. There’s zero lock-in.

And because the default Strongbox databases format is based on the open source KeePass file format, you can access your passkeys in any KeePass compatible app on any platform, including Android, Windows and Linux.

Unfortunately we cannot offer support for passkeys on other database formats, e.g. Password Safe or older KeePass 1 (KDB) based databases, because they don’t offer the flexibility of storing new custom data items. It is relatively straightforward to convert older databases and Password Safe databases to the more flexible and modern KeePass 2 format. We have some guides on our support site for that.

Support for passkeys is coming soon to some major KeePass clients like KeePassXC, with whom we’ve worked to ensure compatibility. We’re hoping other KeePass clients can take advantage of our trail breaking here.

Step-by-Step Instructions

We’ve written a step-by-step guide on how to set up your iPhone, iPad and Mac to create and sign in with passkeys with Strongbox: Use Passkeys With Strongbox

Move Your Passwords from LastPass to KeePass on Mac

KeePass offers a number of advantages over LastPass. In this post, we’re going to explain why you might want to switch to KeePass and how to do it quickly and easily.

If you’re only interested in the how-to, you can skip straight to the step-by-step guide.

Why

Security

LastPass has a long history of security incidents and data breaches. Most famously, in August 2022, hackers gained access to LastPass user accounts and stole customer’s password vaults, names, IP addresses, phone numbers and billing addresses.

There have been several other attacks dating all the way back to 2011. For instance, in 2021, many LastPass users received emails informing them that their master passwords had been compromised. And in 2015, LastPass’ servers were compromised and attackers were able to access hashed master passwords, cryptographic salts and customer email addresses.

KeePass databases, by comparison, are not stored in a centralised location that’s vulnerable to attack. It gives you control of your data and you decide where it is stored. That could be in a cloud storage provider of your choice, on your own server, or local-only, for the ultimate security. You also have access to more advanced security settings, such as which encryption algorithm to use and whether to use a two-factor authentication method, like a YubiKey and/or a key file.

(The downside of all this control is that there’s no safety net. If you forget your master password, it cannot be recovered!)

Privacy

It was discovered in 2021 that the LastPass Android app includes several third-party trackers embedded in its code. Whilst this is not necessarily an issue, privacy conscious users have good reason to be concerned:

The amount of data does seem to be extensive, revealing information about the device in use, the cell phone carrier, the type of LastPass account, and the user’s Google Advertising ID (used to connect data about the user across apps). It’s enough data to build an extensive profile around the most private information you store.

Josh Hendrickson, Review Geek

Many KeePass apps are open source (such as Strongbox) and their code can be inspected to ensure there are no trackers present.

Portability

KeePass is an open standard file format for storing password databases. Databases are stored as KDBX files. These files can be opened and edited by any KeePass compatible app or client.

This has various advantages. For one thing, you won’t have to go through a laborious import/export process the next time you want to use a different password management app! Once you have your KDBX database file, you can instantly and seamlessly open and edit it in various other apps. This allows you to experiment and find the best app for your needs.

You could use different password management apps on your phone and your computer with the same database file. You could do the same thing with different apps for Mac and Windows computers. Cloud storage drives offer an easy way to sync the changes between different devices, but it’s also possible to use your own server, Wi-Fi transfer or a simple USB cable.

Cost

LastPass offers free and paid tiers. However, some of the more basic features are locked behind a paywall, including being able to sync your password database across multiple devices. There is also no “Lifetime” purchase option available, which means that you are stuck paying for a monthly or yearly subscription for as long as you use their service.

Because KeePass is compatible with many different apps, there are various different prices and payment options available.

There are many KeePass clients that offer basic functionality at no cost. The official KeePass app is one example. You can even extend its feature set via a library of free plug ins.

And, if you’re willing to pay, there are also great KeePass app options with better user interfaces and more advanced features. Features such as Face ID unlocking, browser AutoFill, YubiKey support, automatic backups, WebDAV and SFTP support, and much more.

Whilst LastPass (and other similar services) lock you into their payment model, once you’ve created your KeePass database, you can easily and instantly try different KeePass apps and find which one is right for you.

How to Switch to KeePass

In order to follow the steps below, you’ll need to download the Strongbox app.

Strongbox is a free and open source password manager that uses the KeePass file format. It’s available on iPhone, iPad and Mac.

There’s a Pro version of the app available but the free version has everything you need to import, view and edit your passwords. And if you later decide you don’t want to use Strongbox, it’s easy to use your new KeePass database with another compatible app; there’s no lock-in.

Pre-Switch Considerations

LastPass vaults can only be exported as CSV files. This means that usernames, emails and passwords are exported, but many other types of data are not.

For instance, it’s not possible to export file attachments from your LastPass vault. That means that you need to manually download these attachments from LastPass and then add them to your KeePass database.

Unfortunately, the same goes for notes, custom fields, addresses and TOTP codes in LastPass. After you’ve imported your LastPass logins to a new KeePass database, you’ll need to go through and manually add these back in.

Step 1 – Export a CSV from LastPass.com

  1. Go to lastpass.com
  2. Log into your account
  3. At the bottom of the left-hand column, click Advanced Options
  4. Under the Manage Your Vault heading, click Export
  5. Open the email from LastPass with the subject ‘LastPass Security Notification: Verify export’
  6. Click the Continue export link in the email to go to another webpage
  7. Go back to your vault on lastpass.com and, once again, click Advanced Options > Export
  8. Enter your LastPass master password
  9. Locate the CSV file that is downloaded to your device (called ‘download.csv)

For more detailed instructions see the guide on LastPass’ website.

Step 2a – Import Using Strongbox on Mac

  1. Open Strongbox on your Mac
  2. Click File (in the menu bar) > Import > LastPass (CSV)…
  3. Locate and select the CSV file that you exported in Part 1 above. Strongbox will confirm the import was successful
  4. You now need to set a master password for your Strongbox database. This can be the same as your old LastPass master password if you like.
  5. Lastly, save your new Strongbox database either locally or on your favourite cloud drive
  6. Check your entries in Strongbox to make sure all of your data has been imported successfully
  7. Delete the CSV file that you had exported from LastPass

Step 2b – Import Using Strongbox on iPhone/iPad

  1. Move your CSV file into a location that can be accessed by your iPhone/iPad
  2. Open Strongbox on your iPhone or iPad
  3. Tap the plus symbol (+) in the top right of the screen
  4. Tap More
  5. Tap LastPass (CSV)…
  6. Follow the instructions to create the new database
  7. Check your entries in Strongbox to make sure all of your data has been imported successfully
  8. Delete the CSV file that you had exported from LastPass

Step 3 – Add Missing Data

You should now have a KeePass database file that contains all of your logins from your old LastPass vault. The entries in your database will include usernames, emails and passwords, but not file attachments, notes, custom fields, addresses and TOTP codes. Unfortunately LastPass does not allow this extra data to be easily exported/imported.

You will need to go through your LastPass vault, manually download attachments and add them to entries in your KeePass database. And you can copy and paste any other information–such as notes and custom fields–that you would like to move across.

Next Steps

If you want to get familiar with Strongbox, check out our Getting Started guide. We also have extensive help articles available.

And if you have any feedback or issues, don’t hesitate to contact our support team: support@strongboxsafe.com

Store SSH Keys in Your KeePass Database

Strongbox can now act as an SSH Agent on macOS.

This means you can store your SSH Keys securely within Strongbox and have them available on all of your devices. There is no need to distribute these sensitive items across various machines in various locations. You can also generate new fresh SSH Keys from within Strongbox.

NB: SSH Agent is a Pro feature available for KeePass 2.x databases on macOS only.

What is an SSH Agent?

An SSH Agent is a process that holds and manages sensitive private keys and signs requests on behalf of other processes which need to connect to servers, for example, Github, an SFTP server or any other server you may need to use.

SSH Agent Operation

When an SSH client like git or ssh runs on your machine it needs to authenticate to the remote server. This is usually done via SSH public key authentication. The private key is stored securely inside an SSH agent and the SSH client process asks the SSH agent to sign an authentication request proving to the remote server that you have access to the private key without exposing the private key itself.

Note that the private key never leaves the SSH Agent and neither the remote server nor the requesting process (e.g. ssh or git) has access to the private key.

The Default SSH Agent

Most modern operating systems like Linux or macOS come with a default or built-in SSH Agent. This agent uses files stored on your device to get the private key. This means you copy the private keys around different devices which can become unwieldy and hard to manage.

Strongbox as a Replacement SSH Agent

Strongbox can replace this default SSH Agent implementation using keys stored inside your Strongbox database. It can sign authentication requests on behalf of SSH client processes like git or ssh.

Strongbox Is More Secure

The default macOS SSH Agent allows any process access to any key that has been added to the agent. Strongbox instead asks you to approve access upfront which puts you in the driver’s seat.

When you approve a request to use a key, Strongbox will sign an authorisation request using the correct key allowing the requesting SSH Client to connect to the remote server. The private key never leaves Strongbox.

Strongbox SSH Agent Advantages

  • Strongbox notifies you when a process is trying to use an SSH Key
  • You can see what process and key is being requested and approve or deny the request
  • There is no need to store SSH keys on the file system of any device
  • Your keys are available on any device with Strongbox installed
  • Your private key never leaves Strongbox
  • It’s easy to find and organise keys within the Sidebar (SSH Keys)
  • It’s easy to generate, view, export and add existing SSH Keys

How To Use Strongbox As Your SSH Agent

We have created a detailed guide on how to set up Strongbox as your SSH agent here.

AutoFill KeePass Passwords on Mac (Chrome, Firefox, Safari)

Introduction

AutoFill saves you time by automatically filling in username and password fields when you log into a website.

Logging into Strava website using autofill browser extension

Opting for the open source KeePass format, over proprietary solutions like 1Password and LastPass, can sometimes feel like a trade-off between data ownership and convenience. 1Password, LastPass, etc have easy-to-use browser extensions, whilst with KeePass there are various options available of differing quality.

Unfortunately, despite an increasing number of KeePass-compatible iOS apps, there aren’t many good KeePass apps on macOS. This means that autofilling your KeePass passwords can be cumbersome on the Mac.

How To Set Up AutoFill for KeePass on Mac

Most KeePass apps will have some kind of AutoFill solution and this is an important factor to consider when deciding which one to use.

Strongbox is a free and open source KeePass-compatible password manager that provides a great user experience across Mac, iPhone and iPad. We’re biased, but, we believe that Strongbox offers the simplest and most secure way to AutoFill your KeePass passwords on your Mac, whether you’re using Chrome, Firefox, Safari or another compatible browser.

For those who don’t want to use Strongbox we also recommend KeePassXC.

We’ve outlined everything below:

NB: AutoFill support for Strongbox on Mac is only available with Strongbox Pro. You can try out Strongbox Pro for free for 3 months with no obligation to buy. We hope you’ll love it.

Strongbox has official browser extensions for both Chrome and Firefox:

Many other Chromium and Firefox-based browsers also work with the above extensions, including Brave and Microsoft Edge.

For a general overview of how Strongbox works and how to get it set up, check out our Getting Started guide.

AutoFill is enabled on a per-database basis. So, before you can go ahead and make use of the browser extension, you’ll need to enable AutoFill in your database settings. To do this:

  1. Unlock your database
  2. Open the Database Settings (Database > Database Settings menu item)
  3. Navigate to the AutoFill tab
  4. Make sure the ‘Enable AutoFill for this Database’ box is checked

When you go to log into a website, you will then see a list of all entries in your database that match that URL.

There are also certain settings available within the AutoFill extension in the browser. You can automatically fill the fields as soon as the webpage loads, either with the closest match or only if there’s a single match for that domain, or you can turn this off and manually select an entry from the dropdown that appears when you click into a username or password field.

Strongbox AutoFill for Safari

Strongbox integrates with Apple’s native Password AutoFill on Mac (and iPhone and iPad). This is what enables Strongbox to AutoFill your credentials in Safari.

To enable AutoFill in Safari/macOS, go to System Preferences > Extensions > Password AutoFill and check the box for the Strongbox app.

Wormhole Fill Explained

In the AutoFill settings for your database, there’s an option to enable “Wormhole” fill:

If you enable it, the system level AutoFill can communicate directly with the Strongbox app. This way, AutoFill can determine if your database is already unlocked and save you from having to authenticate twice. If you disable this, you will have to authenticate each time you use AutoFill, even if your database is currently unlocked in the Strongbox app.

The “Wormhole” itself is a dedicated IPC channel that utilises the Secure Enclave on your Mac to keep your credentials secure.

A Quick Note on Security

As well as convenience, security is a concern whenever you decide to share sensitive data from your KeePass database with another app or service, such as your browser.

If you use a well-architected browser extension/AutoFill integration (such as with Strongbox) it is generally more secure to use AutoFill than it would be to copy and paste your passwords manually via your device’s clipboard. This is also true of Strongbox’s integration with the system-level AutoFill on macOS.

In creating the Strongbox browser extension, we have gone above and beyond to make it very difficult for an attacker to intercept your secrets. All traffic is encrypted end-to-end using asymmetric encryption, it uses local, on-device-only IPC (inter-process communication) with no open ports, and the code is open source so you can inspect it yourself on GitHub. You can read more about how the browser extension works here.

Whichever AutoFill solution you choose, make sure that you trust the developer and that your secrets are safe in transit.

What About TOTP codes?

Time-Based One-Time Passwords (TOTPs or OTPs) are codes that are constantly changing at regular time intervals. They usually take the form of a 6-digit number and are a very common method to enable 2FA.

If you have added a TOTP code to an entry in Strongbox, it’s super easy to then AutoFill that code in your browser. Once the username and password have been filled, Strongbox will automatically copy the TOTP to your device’s clipboard. So you can just paste and go.

The step-by-step instructions are:

  1. Navigate to the website’s login page in your browser
  2. Select the entry you want to use from the drop down menu
  3. Click to log in
  4. When the website prompts you for a TOTP code, simply press paste (CMD + V) and the TOTP code will be filled immediately

AutoFill with KeePassXC as an Alternative to Strongbox

KeePassXC is a free and open source app available on all major platforms, including macOS, Windows and Linux.

In order to use AutoFill with KeePassXC, you need to download their browser extension. At the time of writing, KeePassXC supports Firefox & Chromium based browsers.

Once the extension is installed, open KeePassXC and go to Tools > Settings > Browser Integration. Check the box to Enable Browser integration and then check the browsers that you want to use. After you’ve done this, you’ll need to restart your browser.

Unfortunately, Safari isn’t currently supported. To use KeePassXC with Safari, you’ll need to enable the global Auto-Type feature.

Auto-Type fills the username and password for you by simulating key presses. It’s less convenient than a browser based AutoFill because it requires you to search for the correct entry manually. The advantage however is that it can be used anywhere, including inside of other Mac apps.

To set up Auto-Type, check out this guide.

Conclusion

You don’t need to sacrifice the convenience of AutoFill when you use KeePass on your Mac. If you choose the right KeePass client, you’ll get the benefits of owning your own data and save time by taking advantage of AutoFill. That’s one more reason not to use proprietary password management apps like 1Password.

Strongbox offers a comprehensive AutoFill solution that works across all major browsers on Mac (as well as on iPhone and iPad). KeePassXC is a free option that works across all major browsers except for Safari, with Auto-Type making it possible to still AutoFill in Safari with a few extra steps.

For more information, check our comprehensive guides on AutoFill, as well as how to AutoFill on your iPhone and iPad.

How To Clean Up and Reduce the Size of Your KeePass Database

Introduction

The file size of a KeePass database is an often overlooked aspect impacting the way that you manage your passwords. A smaller database file translates to faster syncing and improved overall performance, saving you time and ensuring a seamless user experience. We’ve found that databases that are smaller than 4 MB perform the best.

Below are some tips for how to reduce the size of your KeePass database as much as possible, including:

Going From 20 MB to 68 KB

Recently I was experiencing some issues syncing my KeePass database between my Mac and iPhone. After saving a change on my Mac, sometimes that change would not be there when I unlocked the same database on my iPhone.

Data loss is extremely worrying, particularly when it concerns something as important as passwords and personal information.

Like many people, I was syncing my database between devices using a cloud storage provider. I noticed that the sync itself was taking a long time because my KeePass database file size had ballooned to over 20 MB. Every time I changed my database, the entire 20 MB file was uploaded to the cloud. This could sometimes take a minute or more when I was in an area with a poor internet connection.

So, in fact, no data was being lost (and I was confident that I could use Strongbox’s advanced Compare and Merge function to easily address any sync conflicts). But it was inconvenient.

This lead me to experiment with ways to reduce the size of my database. Now my database, containing over 600 entries, is only 68 KB. Syncing is lightning-fast and my experience of using KeePass is vastly improved.

You can do the same to your database by following the steps below.

Why Size Matters

If you’re interested in understanding why reducing the file size of your database can have such a big impact, read on. Or, you can skip straight to the step-by-step instructions below.

A KeePass database is a “flat” file. Every time that you make a change on one device, the entire database file needs to be transferred to your other devices. This is called a “cumulative update”.

Many other online services work differently, allowing individual changes to be pushed and pulled between different databases. So if you make a change on one device, only that specific change needs to be transferred to your other devices. This is known as a “delta update”.

Imagine a large document with many pages. Each page represents an entry in your database. When you change a page in the document, the whole document has to be recreated. If you want to share this updated version of the document with your friend, you have to give them a whole new copy of the document that contains all of the pages, both new and old. This is a cumulative update.

If you instead take a copy of the single page that you changed, give that to your friend and they replace only that one page in their copy of the document, this is the equivalent of a delta update.

Since KeePass is based on a cumulative update model, the overall size of the database file is relevant to its performance and portability.

Smaller Means Faster

Every time that you update your database, the entire file has to be uploaded to the cloud and then downloaded on your other devices. The smaller your database file, the faster this will happen.

And the faster this happens, the less likely you are to inadvertently make a change to an older version of the database on another device and thereby create a sync conflict.

In addition, every time you unlock your database, the entire volume must be decrypted. The smaller your database file, the faster this will also happen.

On many modern devices, the difference in unlock time is relatively marginal, but for older devices, a smaller database can result in meaningful speed improvements. This is particularly true when you consider that you might be unlocking your database multiple times a day over the course of years of usage. Those small time savings can add up.

More interestingly perhaps, reducing the file size could also create more headroom that you could take advantage of to increase the amount of encryption used to protect your database.

With a smaller file to decrypt, it will be possible to increase the number of iterations without creating an inconvenient time delay.

How To Reduce the Size of Your KeePass Database

PSA: Remember to always create a backup of your KeePass database before making any changes, and ensure you have a secure and reliable backup strategy in place!

Remove Attachments (20 MB down to 7.5 MB)

The first step is somewhat obvious but still worth mentioning. File attachments, even small ones, are many times larger than any text-only entry you have in your database.

Some of these you can probably delete. (Remember that any attachments that you delete will go to the Recycle Bin and that, until you empty the Recycle Bin, the size of your database file won’t actually decrease.)

Some of these you could archive in another storage location, such as a separate KeePass database or an encrypted disk image (using a tool such as VeraCrypt).

Strongbox has a dedicated Attachments view which you can select from the left-hand sidebar.

For instance, I was storing some ID documents in Strongbox, like a JPG of my driver’s license, that I didn’t need to have there. What I did instead was to use an app called TextSniper to copy and paste the important data from the JPG into custom fields within a Strongbox entry. I then exported the file to an iCloud Drive folder and deleted it from Strongbox.

In my case, I was able to remove around 14 MB of attachments. Most of these were PDFs and JPGs that didn’t need to be encrypted in my KeePass database. I moved them into folders in iCloud Drive and deleted them from Strongbox.

Remove Custom Icons and Favicons (6 MB down to 1.5 MB)

All of the icons and favicons that you’re using are stored within your database file itself. This means they are encrypted and decrypted regularly and they have to be synced every time you make a change to your database.

I had over 600 entries in my database and most of which had favicons attached, which I had downloaded using Strongbox’s Favicon Downloader.

Personally, I decided that the advantages of a smaller database outweighed the advantages of having attractive, easy-to-recognise icons. By setting all entries to use a single icon, I was able to reduce my database size by a further 4.5 MB.

Setting all entries to use the same icon is less colourful, but more efficient.

To strip out all of the icons from your database, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Strongbox app preferences
  2. Go to the Advanced tab
  3. Make sure that ‘Strip Unused Icons on Save is enabled
  4. Unlock your database
  5. Select All Entries in the left sidebar
  6. Select all the entries in the list (CMD + A)
  7. Right-click them and choose Set Icon
  8. Choose one of the icons from the options provided
  9. Save your database (CMD + S)

Of course, you don’t have to strip the icons from every entry. You could instead choose to only do this for a selection of the entries in your database.

(N.B. you may find that your database doesn’t actually reduce in size until you do the step below. This is because the old icons could still be stored as part of your password history.)

And if you later decide to add favicons back, you can select the entries, right click and choose Find Favicon(s).

If you decide to start using favicons again, it’s easy to add them back using Strongbox’s Favicon Downloader.

Remove Password History and Unnecessary Metadata (1.5 MB down to 68 KB)

Strongbox (and other KeePass apps) will store password history and other metadata in your database file. You can remove all of this by creating a new database file and then copying all of your entries across. This is a “fresh start” for your database.

(This metadata is used to do things like manage sync conflicts and database merges, but it’s not necessary to keep it forever.)

To do this we recommend using Strongbox on your Mac. The steps are:

  1. Create a new database
  2. Unlock your current database in another window or tab
  3. Copy and paste or drag and drop all of your entries from the current database to the new database
  4. Use the new database as your current database, and delete (or backup) the old one

It’s also possible to do this on iOS. The steps are:

  1. Create a new database
  2. Go back to the list of databases and unlock your current database
  3. Select the entries to move (tap the three-dot menu in the top right of the screen and then tap Select)
  4. Select the entries to move (note that it’s easier to move large numbers of entries if they’re inside a group)
  5. Tap Export Item(s)
  6. Choose your new database
  7. Unlock the new database and confirm

This should reduce the size of your database significantly. In my case, I was able to clear out a further 1.5 MB.

Taking It Further

At this point, we’re at the point of diminishing returns. The steps below are mostly focused on removing unnecessary entries from your database, but the entries themselves are tiny in comparison to the attachments and icons that are mentioned above. That said, here are some extra steps that you can take to optimise your database to be as small as possible.

Empty the Recycle Bin

Attachments and entries that you delete go to the Recycle Bin. Until you empty the Recycle Bin, they won’t actually contribute to reducing the size of your database.

You can empty it by right clicking it on Mac or long pressing it on iOS and selecting Empty Recycle Bin.

Delete Duplicate Entries

You can view all duplicated entries in Strongbox on Mac by selecting Duplicated under the Audit Issues heading in the left sidebar. On iOS, tap the search bar and then Audit Issues.

As well as saving a bit of space, deleting duplicates is going to make AutoFill suggestions easier for you to parse.

Spread Entries Across Different Database Files

If you’re currently storing all of your entries in a single database, you might want to consider splitting them across multiple databases instead.

For instance, if you have a group of entries that you rarely use, you could “archive” these by moving them to a different database. This means that your primary database is going to unlock and sync faster because it’s not weighed down by entries that are rarely needed.

This would be particularly effective if you have a lot of attachments. In this case, you could even create a separate database just to store your attachments.

This is less convenient of course, potentially requiring multiple database unlocks to access data when before only one would have been necessary. It can also make configuring AutoFill more complicated.

Make Sure That Compression Is Enabled

Strongbox uses gzip compression by default. It’s worth checking that this is enabled in the Encryption Settings for your database, particularly if you have a lot of attachments.

Gzip is enabled by default when you create a new database in Strongbox, but it might be turned off if you’ve imported your database from another KeePass app.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you can apply some or all of the steps above to reduce the size of your database, making your experience of using Strongbox even faster.

If you have any other tips or tricks to reduce database size, let us know in our subreddit or on Twitter.

The Most Secure Password Manager, Now Available on macOS (Strongbox Zero)

Strongbox Zero, the local-only version of Strongbox previously only available on iOS, is now available on macOS as well!

Strongbox Zero is a completely separate version of Strongbox that provides the absolute maximum level of privacy and security. All the networking code and as many third party libraries as possible have been stripped out of Zero. It is designed for the most extreme privacy and security conscious users and we don’t recommend it for most people!

With the release of the macOS version of Strongbox Zero, it’s now possible to use the app on Macs, iPhones and iPads for a single price. And all future updates will be included at no extra cost. The license even works with Apple’s Family Sharing.

And if you previously purchased Zero on iOS, you can download the new Mac app for free.

You can download Strongbox Zero here.

And for more details about Strongbox Zero, check out our help articles:

Move From 1Password to KeePass: Import File Attachments, Custom Fields and More

Strongbox is now more reliable than ever when importing 1Password databases, with improved handling of file attachments, custom fields, tags, and folder structures.

Introduction

When you migrate from 1Password to another password manager, like Strongbox, you want to be confident that all of your data has come across without anything being lost.

Most password managers will only import your usernames and passwords from 1Password, ignoring or mishandling file attachments, custom fields, tags and folder structures. This means that you will need to check what data is missing and move it across manually. This is time consuming and error prone. With Strongbox you can import your entire 1Password vault in one go.

And we’ve recently improved Strongbox’s import functionality for 1Password, LastPass and Apple/iCloud Keychain. Read on to find out how we’ve made our 1Password import more reliable.

1PUX Support

With the update to 1Password 8, it’s now possible to export your 1Password data to a new file format called 1Password Unencrypted Export (1PUX). 1PUX includes a new data structure. It’s more logically structured than the previous 1PIF format and preserves far, far more data than CSV.

In order to parse 1PUX files, we built a dedicated new importer which preserves as much metadata as possible, copying attachments across and trying to maintain field ordering and Archived items.

1PIF Improvements

We’ve also revamped the way that we import 1PIF files. 1PIF was the file format previously used when exporting databases in older versions of 1Password.

These improvements mean that the entries in the Archive and Trash folders in your 1PIF file will now be imported into Strongbox. We’ve also improved the general reliability of 1PIF imports.

Custom Sections in 1Password

In 1Password, custom fields can be grouped into sections and those custom sections can be named.

This is one aspect of your 1Password database that Strongbox is not able to interpret and import. All custom fields will be imported but they will not be grouped into sections (as they appear when viewed in the 1Password app).

If you have entries that contain a lot of different sections and custom fields, we recommend checking that the custom fields within an entry don’t have duplicate names. And, if that is the case, consider prefixing the custom field name with its section name in the 1Password app before you export your database to a 1PUX file. If you don’t, the custom fields could be difficult to identify once they’ve been imported into Strongbox.

Conclusion

For step by step instructions on how to move your data from 1Password to Strongbox, check out our guide here.

If you have any feedback or issues, don’t hesitate to contact our support team: support@strongboxsafe.com

CVE-2023-24055 Vulnerability Update

Security researchers have recently discovered a vulnerability in the Windows KeePass app that could allow attackers to obtain stored passwords in cleartext. The bug has been dubbed CVE-2023-24055.

The Strongbox app is not affected by this vulnerability. Which means that if you use Strongbox to work with your KeePass databases you’re protected.

The exploit is based on an attacker being able to edit a configuration file and set up a trigger that silently exports entries from the KeePass database. Strongbox is architected so that configuration files can not be edited by an attacker in this manner.

The Strongbox team is monitoring the situation and will respond if there are any further developments.

How To Use KeePass on Your iPhone, iPad & Mac

What is KeePass?

KeePass is a password manager that can securely store passwords, login credentials and other personal information that you need to remember. It’s also an open source file format that many other password manager apps support.

Why Use KeePass?

Unlike with many other password managers, storing your information in a KeePass database means that you have full control of your data and you’re not locked in to one specific app or company. 

In today’s world, it’s not uncommon for apps and services to go out of business, increase their prices, change their privacy policies, or stop developing new features. Using a KeePass database means that you have a high degree of freedom to choose where your data is stored and which apps you use to access it.

This means that you can:

  • Switch to a different password manager at any time, without having to go through a complicated export/import process
  • Store your database anywhere you like, either in the cloud or locally on your device
  • Easily backup your database

And, because there are a variety of different KeePass compatible password manager apps out there, you’re not locked into paying an annual or monthly subscription fee if you don’t want to. If you’re unhappy with the app you’re currently using, it’s easy to try out a different password manager app. It’s even possible to simultaneously use different apps to access the same database on different devices.

How To Setup KeePass on Your iPhone, iPad & Mac

Step 1: Choose an App

The first step is to choose which KeePass compatible app you’re going to use on your Apple device. There are various options available with different benefits and drawbacks.

We’re biassed and think that Strongbox is the best KeePass app out there 😉 And you can get started for free.

If you want to consider all of the available options, there are some key factors that you might want to look out for:

Easy To Use, Modern Design

You don’t have to sacrifice good design and convenience for security and functionality. Choose an app that looks like it was designed in 2023 and not 2003.

Well designed KeePass apps will be intuitive to use and will save you time and hassle by offering convenience features like Face ID unlock and password AutoFill when you’re browsing the web.

Cloud Sync Support

If you want to use your password database across multiple devices, e.g. on your iPhone and your Mac, then you might want to sync it with a cloud storage provider. If so, you’ll want to choose an app that is compatible with the cloud storage service or services that use.

Open Source Codebase From a Trusted Developer

It’s crucial that you trust the app that you’re using to manage your passwords and other personal information. 

The KeePass format itself is open source, which means that it is open to being inspected for vulnerabilities by anyone and everyone.

You should expect the same from your password manager. Check to see if the source code is open source and available to review online–like Strongbox’s.

Helpful and Responsive Customer Support

KeePass allows for a lot more customisation compared to mainstream password managers. More power can mean more to learn and master. Consequently it can be helpful to use an app that offers great customer support, so you can easily contact the developer if you have any questions or issues. 

Step 2: Create Your KeePass Database

Now you’ve chosen the app you’re going to use, it’s time to create your password database.

If you’re starting from scratch then you can simply create a new database and start adding entries.

It’s likely however that you have login credentials already stored somewhere else, like in your browser or another password manager. If that’s the case then you can import them into your new KeePass database.

Export Your Passwords From Your Existing Password Manager App

Begin by exporting your existing passwords from your current password manager. Here are some guides for commonly used password managers:

Most password managers will allow data to be exported in CSV format. Be careful where you store this file as it is unencrypted, which means there is no protection should someone else get access to it.

Import Your Passwords to Your New Database

The import process will differ based on the app you’re using. For instance, here’s our guide for importing a CSV file into Strongbox. If you’re using a different KeePass app, check their support articles for guidance.

Once you’ve imported your data, it’s worth doing a manual check to make sure that everything has been transferred across successfully. And, once you’re satisfied, delete the file that you imported.

Sync Your Database Across Your Devices

If you’re using multiple devices, such as your iPhone and your Mac, you’re probably going to want to keep your passwords and other personal information up to date across them all.

Mainstream password managers, like 1Password or LastPass, sync your databases on their own servers. The advantage of this is that there’s no set up required. The disadvantage however is that you do not have control of your data and it’s vulnerable to attack if the password manager in question suffers a data breach.

KeePass databases are single encrypted files that you can store wherever you like. Most KeePass users choose to move their database file to a cloud storage service such as OneDrive or Dropbox. This allows them to easily sync their passwords between devices.

If you move your database to a cloud storage service, you’ll need to give your password manager app access to this service so it can read your database and make changes.

Next Steps

Remember: now that your information is stored in an open source file format, you can try different KeePass compatible apps without having to constantly export and import your data. Try a few out and see which one is best for your needs.

You can also find out more about KeePass through the KeePass subreddit.

About Strongbox

Strongbox is a premium KeePass based password manager for iPhone, iPad and Mac. It’s easy to use and includes powerful features like Face & Touch ID unlock, browser AutoFill, automatic auditing, and much more.

You can use Strongbox for free. And we have a handy Getting Started guide. Check us out on the App Store!

🇬🇷 Καλώς ήρθες Ελλάδα!

You can now use Strongbox in Greek. Update your app to version 1.58.3 to take advantage.

A big thank you to John Spiropoulos for providing the Greek localisation.

Let us know which language you would like to see Strongbox support next.