Time to Bail on LastPass? Free Version of Password Manager Gets a Serious Restriction-news

with CLIPREVIEWED learn the articleTime to Bail on LastPass? Free Version of Password Manager Gets a Serious Restriction

(Credit: LastPass)

LastPass is adding a big limitation to the free version of its password manager. Starting March 16, free users will only be able to access the service on PCs or mobile phones, not both. 

Once the change happens, the next time free users log into LastPass, the company will check whether you’re accessing your account via a “Computer” or “Mobile Device.” If it’s a PC, then going forward, your account access can only occur via browsers running on a desktop or laptop. If it’s a smartphone, then the access will be limited to iOS or Android devices, including tablets and smartwatches. (Windows tablets have been classified as a computer.)

LastPass free users will have up to three times to change their device type preference before they’re locked in.

The looming change is prompting people to search out alternatives to LastPass, which has over 25 million users. The tool has been a handy way to safely store passwords across all platforms, including websites and mobile apps. Unfortunately, the changes to LastPass’s free version risks undermining the product’s ease of use.

Credit: LastPass

But LastPass parent company LogMeIn says it isn’t locking users out of their accounts. Free users will still have unlimited access to the password manager—as long as it occurs on certain device types. For example, if you access LastPass via multiple PCs, then the change won’t affect you at all. But if you ever try to view your account via an iPhone, the service will block your access, and kindly tell you to log in via a PC.

“Please note that all of your devices sync automatically, so you’ll never lose access to anything stored in your Vault or be locked out of your account due to these changes, regardless of whether you use computers or mobile devices to access LastPass,” the company added in a FAQ about the upcoming restriction. 

Still, the change is all about trying to nudge free users into LastPass Premium, which costs $36 a year and eliminates the device type restriction.  

“This change is part of our increased focus on delivering future Premium product improvements as the security landscape continues to evolve in this new era of remote work,” LogMeIn told us in a statement. “Over the coming months and years, users will continue to see additional value and new features added to LastPass Premium.

“This update also brings our Free solution in line with other leading password managers who have more limitations on their free offerings,” the company added.  

In our LastPass review, we rated it as one of the best password managers on the market. However, LogMeIn was acquired last year by private equity firms that specialize in trying to maximize the value of an asset for later sale. So the focus on premium users is hardly a surprise. The company’s blog post on the change also implies LastPass’s growing free user base has become costly to maintain. If you’re looking for a free password manager, you can check out our recommendations.

In the same announcement, LastPass also said it’s preparing to remove email customer support for free users on March 16. To troubleshoot their problems, non-paying users will instead have to find the answers via the official LastPass forums or through the help center library.

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