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

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