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!

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