Password Safe Review 2024: Is This Vintage-Looking Software Too Old To Use?

Password Safe is an open-source software that hasn’t updated its user interface or its features — should you use it?
3.5
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Password Safe's website

Password Safe
  • Free on Windows and Android
  • Open-source software
  • Difficult to use
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Password Safe is open-source and secure, but it’s almost too outdated to use. A good password manager will store your login information, but it will also autofill your information, let you share credentials, and provide you with resources in case your family needs to access your account.

But Password Safe doesn’t offer any of these features. While the Windows and Android versions are free, you have to pay for the Apple versions of cloned software of the same name. If this sounds a little strange, or you’re curious about what Password Safe has to offer, we’ve broken it all down below.

3.5
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Password Safe's website
Password Safe
  • Free on Windows and Android
  • Open-source software
  • Difficult to use

In this article
Password Safe review at a glance
How much does Password Safe cost?
Password Safe alternatives
Password Safe features
Our Password Safe experience
Password Safe privacy policy
Is Password Safe safe to use?
Password Safe customer service
Password Safe compatibility
Password Safe FAQs
Bottom line: Is Password Safe good?

Password Safe review at a glance

Price $2.99-$14.99 (for paid versions)
Free version Yes
Browser extensions Safari (other browsers unclear)
Password sharing No
Encryption Twofish with a 256-bit key
Two-factor authentication Yes
Password generator No
Form filler Yes — Safari only
Digital legacy No
Learn more Get Password Safe

Password Safe pros and cons

Pros
  • Free on Windows and Android
  • Open-source
  • Cloned apps can be used on mobile devices
Cons
  • Difficult to use
  • No useful features
  • May be blocked by antivirus

How much does Password Safe cost?

Password Safe is an open-source, free password manager unless you also want to use it on Apple devices. That’s because the product isn’t actually available on Apple devices, but it does offer cloned versions that cost a one-time price of $2.99 for the iOS version and $14.99 for the macOS version.

There’s also a cloned version for Android devices that’s a free download. As far as we can tell, you’ll have to purchase the macOS and the iOS versions separately to be able to use them across all your Apple devices.

Password Safe features at a glance

Plan Password Safe
Number of users 1
Encryption Twofish with a 256-bit key
Password vault
Autofill Yes — Safari only
Password generator
Two-factor authentication
Data breach alerts
Digital legacy
Details View Plan

Password Safe is free for Windows and Android users, but if you, like many people, use a combination of different operating systems, you’ll have to pay for the iOS and macOS versions individually. Most other password managers, even the paired-down free ones, offer versions across a variety of devices and operating systems. This may be because the Android, Mac, and iOS versions of Password Safe are considered clones, which you don’t often see in modern software.

On that note, Password Safe looks like it’s operating on a 20-year-old system. The user interface is extremely dated and requires you to create folders and subfolders where you copy and paste passwords into your browser from said folders.

If you aren’t tech savvy or familiar with older interfaces, this may be extremely difficult to use. Password managers work by encrypting your data, which this does, but they also offer ease of use and convenience, and we didn’t find that with Password Safe.

Password Safe alternatives

One of the best ways to increase your online security is to use robust, secure passwords that are different for every account. With the best password managers, this is an easy task that can keep you from becoming a victim of a hack. For anyone wanting security, convenience, and advanced features, these products can help you upgrade your security settings.

  • NordPass: NordPass is part of the Nord family, along with NordVPN and NordLocker. You can bundle this feature-rich password manager with Nord’s other offerings for a full security suite.

    Get NordPass | Read NordPass Review
  • Roboform: Whether you need a free password manager for yourself or want to pay a small monthly fee for an individual or family plan, Roboform has a lot of useful features that help you remember your credentials. You won’t need to worry about forgetting a password ever again.

    Get Roboform | Read Roboform Review
  • Keeper: This affordable password manager option offers a lot of security features as well as alerts and the ability to add multiple users. There’s also a free option, which means you can have all of the benefits of password management without an additional monthly subscription.

    Get Keeper | Read Keeper Review

Password Safe features

Password Safe offers almost none of the features that modern password managers offer: The ability to share passwords, use two-factor authentication, and even fill in credentials within your browser are all features that make a password manager convenient and worthwhile, and Password Safe doesn’t offer them.

Password Safe provides a link to a guide on how it works on its site, but other password managers are intuitive and don’t require reading a manual before being able to start.

Password sharing

There’s no easy way to share passwords with this manager. Other products have an intuitive design that allows you to sync with contacts and securely share encrypted credentials, but with Password Safe, that technology doesn’t exist.

Based on our testing, you would need to copy the credentials from the folder or subfolder where they’re stored, then send them unencrypted through whatever channel you choose. You may as well not even use a password manager in this case. We would strongly recommend not sharing any usernames or passwords this way, as there’s too high a chance of the information becoming involved in a leak.

Two-factor authentication

Password Safe offers the ability to use Yubikey or OnlyKey as secondary forms of authentication. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a secondary form of authentication that can keep your account secure. If you’ve ever had an app or service text you a code, then ask that you fill in that code from the text, you’ve used 2FA.

We prefer biometric authentication, a form of passwordless authentication that uses FaceID or a fingerprint scanner to verify your identity, but 2FA is a fantastic way to secure your information.

Password Safe’s Yubikey setup can be confusing and requires you to purchase the authenticator from Yubico or an authorized reseller. Most password managers don’t require you to purchase a separate authenticator and will usually use your phone number to verify your account. The Yubikey method is more involved, pricier, and seems to be more of a pain than it’s worth.

Password generator

The video linked on the site has the word “generator” that flashes briefly across the screen while a call-to-battle song plays behind it. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find a password generator, so we don’t believe that’s what the word was referring to in the video.

A password generator is a useful tool that helps you create secure passwords by stringing together a random combination of letters, numbers, and even symbols that make it virtually impossible to guess your password.

Autofill

There aren’t any autofill features available unless you’ve installed the macOS or iOS version. If you’re using this product on Windows, you can copy and paste the passwords from your vault into the credentials fields on your browser. This is the only way to use your saved usernames and passwords outside of Safari.

Webpage from the Password Safe site explantion how the Safari extension can be used for autofill.

Autofill is one of the features that make password managers so convenient. The ability to move quickly through logins and populate your passwords on a variety of devices is one of the key draws of using this type of service.

Password strength report

There are no password strength reports available. This is an extremely light product that includes almost no additional features.

Password strength reports give you insight into how likely you are to be a victim of a hack. The simpler your passwords, the easier they’ll be to hack. Complex, robust passwords are more secure and a great line of defense against hackers and cybercriminals. With password strength reports, you can assess your risk and increase your security.

Digital legacy

This is another feature that Password Safe doesn’t provide. The digital legacy feature allows you to designate a digital heir who will inherit your passwords after you pass on.

Different services handle this in different ways. Some services allow you to create a PDF version of your master password and other emergency information, while others allow you to designate an heir to receive the information digitally.

Whatever the method used, this feature ensures that important information like bank account credentials or life insurance policies won’t be hindered in the event of your sudden passing. Unfortunately, Password Safe doesn’t offer this feature.

Bonus features

There is a disk-on-key feature that allows you to download PasswordSafe2Go onto a device that you plug into your laptop. This is outdated technology and cumbersome. Also, if you lose your USB, then, theoretically, whoever finds it has access to all your passwords. We would recommend against using this feature.

Our Password Safe experience

Using Password Safe was interesting. We used our old PC laptop running Windows 10 and accessed the site with a Chrome browser. The download experience was easy enough, but when the sign-in screen popped up, it took us a second to figure out what we were supposed to do. We tried to create a new file, but Windows Security blocked Password Safe. After going into our Security settings and whitelisting the program, we were able to access it.

Windows Security pop-up with recommendations to block Password Safe download.

We couldn’t figure out on our own how to add passwords, so we referred back to the lengthy guide linked on the site. After reading the linked guide, we tried to log back into our Password Safe file located on our hard drive, but it kept giving us errors. We tried restarting the process by deleting the file and creating a new database, but that didn’t work either. After several attempts, we gave up.

We went back to the guide, which noted that you would have to manually enter each individual website and then the username and password. You can import passwords, but since we were unable to create a master file, we were unable to import saved passwords.

In the end, we decided to uninstall the program, but even that proved difficult. The uninstaller thought we were using a running version of the program and would continually cancel the uninstall and tell us to close all running versions. We had to go into the settings folder, then apps, and stop it from running on startup, restart our computer, then uninstall the program. This was way too much hassle for a product that didn’t add value to our day.

Password Safe webpage with an uninstaller pop-up prompting the user to cloe all running versions.

A Password Safe pop-up window as the password manager is in the process of being uninstall.

Password Safe privacy policy

There’s no actual privacy policy on the site that we could find, but the iOS and macOS versions had a privacy policy listed. It’s pretty basic, collects very little data, and notes that it doesn’t share anything with third parties. We weren’t able to find any instance where the privacy policy received an independent audit, so its validity can’t be verified.

When you’re handing over a lot of data to a service like a password manager, you want to make sure it isn’t sharing personally identifiable information (PII) with third parties. Independent audits are a way to make sure that a company is adhering to its privacy policy.

Is Password Safe safe to use?

As far as saving your passwords with encryption, yes, Password Safe is a safe and encrypted service. Unfortunately, due to a lack of features, like password sharing and digital legacy, it isn’t really safe to use when it comes to needing to share information.

Also, the PasswordSafe2Go feature, where the manager can be downloaded onto a device like a flash drive, makes your data extremely vulnerable if that device is ever lost. The 2FA feature requires you to purchase a separate authenticator or not use 2FA at all, which means you’ll likely not use it. Overall, the safety issues outweigh the benefits of a free password manager.

Password Safe customer service

There’s a single page with links to web support forums for Password Safe. Each version — the original and the Android and Apple clones — has its own kind of support.

We find this to be cumbersome because you’ll need to access different support forums depending on how many places you’re using Password Safe. Other than that, there’s no other place to reach out for assistance. Because this is such a sparse product, we didn’t expect customer service to be robust or offer a lot of options.

The Password Safe support page with options to contact support.

Password Safe compatibility

The original version of the software is available only on Windows, but there are cloned versions of the software available for Android and Apple products. The iOS version costs $2.99, and the macOS version costs $14.99. If you want both, you’ll have to pay for each one, as there’s no universal compatibility across Password Safe’s products.

The Android version is a free download, and so is the Windows version, which is the original code written by the developer. If you’re someone who uses a variety of devices, this isn’t really an economical or practical option as far as a password manager is concerned.

Password Safe FAQs


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How does Password Safe work?

Password Safe is a free downloadable application that encrypts the passwords you store in its database. It isn’t very intuitive and doesn’t offer browser extensions sans the Safari extension on the cloned version for Apple products.

Users manually input login credentials into the Password Safe folders located on the users’ devices and can then copy and paste those credentials back into websites. Autofill is only available on the Safari browser extension, so anyone else will have to manually transfer passwords over each time they want to use one.


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Is Password Safe reliable?

In our testing, we found that Password Safe wasn’t intuitive, user friendly, or reliable. Even after reading all of the startup guides and user tips, we couldn’t actually get the product to work.

Furthermore, because Password Safe launches upon startup, we had to go into our settings to disable it before it allowed us to uninstall the application from our PC. Because of the issues we had with setup and use, we couldn’t effectively test Password Safe’s functionality or reliability. We would advise you to save yourself the headache and use a more modern and intuitive product.


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Who owns Password Safe?

Password Safe was originally released as open-source in 2002 and was created by Bruce Schneier. The site is currently maintained by Karel Van der Gucht.


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What encryption does Password Safe use?

Password Safe uses Twofish encryption with a 256-bit key. Twofish was in the running to be used in AES encryption but ultimately wasn’t the one chosen. The encryption is still strong but relatively unheard of outside of tech circles.

Bottom line: Is Password Safe good?

Password Safe safely encrypts your data and keeps it hidden. However, there are so many drawbacks to using this outdated technology that it probably isn’t a good choice. While Android and Windows users can get it for free, Apple users will have to pay twice to install it on Macs and mobile devices like iPhones and iPads.

Instead, we think you’ll have a lot of success with our alternative suggestions. They’re some of the best password managers available, with lots of features and proven security. The best part is you can sync them between all your devices, so you have access to your passwords no matter where you go.

3.5
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Password Safe's website
Password Safe
  • Free on Windows and Android
  • Open-source software
  • Difficult to use
Author Details
Mary lives in Los Angeles and has been a cybersecurity writer for over five years. With a B.S. in Liberal Arts from Clarion University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, her career in online security began in sales and content creation for a private cybersecurity firm.