LastPass's free password manager is about to become a lot less useful

The LastPass password manager's free tier will limit you to one type of device starting March 16.

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Everyone should use a password manager, and LastPass is the best password manager around. One of its most appealing features is going away though. Currently, even free users can use the service on all their devices, but starting March 16, you’ll be able to use it only on a single class of device (computer or mobile) at no cost. If you want to use Lastpass’s saved passwords on your laptop and your phone, you’ll need to pay up for a premium account.

It’s a bummer to be sure, but not a shock. What’s really surprising is that LastPass let free users log in on any device for as long as it has, given that being able to sync your login information across devices is the core feature of a password manager. Rival Dashlane limits free users to a single device, by comparison, and LastPass itself used to restrict free users to either computers or mobile devices—not both—before opening the flood gates to all in 2016. Now the company is returning to that model.

 “As a Free user, your first login on or after March 16th will set your active device type,” the company’s announcement explains. “You’ll have three opportunities to switch your active device type to explore what’s right for you.”

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You'll need a LastPass Premium or Family account to do this after March 16.

LastPass’s new restrictions are actually looser than Dashlane’s free tier, as you’ll be able to use the service on as many computers or mobile devices as you want—you just can’t use it on computers and mobile devices without paying up.

Most people in this multi-screen world will probably end up subscribing to LastPass Premium. Fortunately, LastPass is one of the pieces of software worth paying for, especially considering its paltry $3 per month subscription cost. You won’t regret buying it. And to soften the blow of this new, LastPass is letting existing users upgrade from the free tier to the premium tier for $2.25 per month for “a limited time.”

LastPass remains our hearty recommendation as the password manager to beat, but Dashlane isn’t far behind. If this shift in freebie philosophy makes you want to explore your various options now that you have to pay up, check out our roundup of the best password managers. We’ve got general advice on what to look for and full reviews of several options.  

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