Ultimately, Google and other big technology companies want renounce passwords fully, but until that day comes, a Google Password Manager feature called on-device encryption might be your best bet to protect your precious codes. Although it came out quietly before this springas you can now easily access Google Password Manager on your android home screennow is a good time to check it out† Available for Android, iOS, and Chrome, the feature is designed to help users protect their information from prying eyes, even Google’s.
What is on-device encryption?
In short, on-device encryption adds an extra layer of protection and privacy to Google Password Manager by providing you with sole possession of the encryption key that encrypts and decrypts the text for your PWs.
When it comes to encryption, “keys” are the tool used to lock and unlock information. Encryption hides data by encrypting plain text or “plain text” into what “ciphertext”, which presents itself as illegible, illegible gibberish. However, that gibberish can be turned back into readable plain text using a “key,” a randomly generated string of information used to unlock encryption.
Google Password Manager traditionally holds a user’s key, stores it in the user’s Google account, and uses it to protect their passwords. However, with on-device encryption, the user’s key is stored on the actual device rather than in Google’s digital systems. This feature allows users to unlock their passwords with their Google password or by using an appropriate screen lock feature of their choice (PIN or a fingerprint or other biometric identifier). If Google said it, which means that “no one but you can access your passwords.” That includes Google!
Why You Should Set Up Account Recovery
You can definitely see why this new feature has somethingthe privacy benefitsbut there are also some potential drawbacks† For example, if you lose or forget your Google password or any other security mechanism associated with the feature, a world of pain awaits. Why? Because then you will not have access to your other passwords.
Ever since there is a risk of this happening, Google strongly recommends that you set up some account recovery methods before enabling encryption on the device. You can learn more about this by reading Google’s support page about the issue here† Also important to note: once encryption has been added to the device, it apparently cannot be removed, so make sure to enable it before enabling it.
How to set encryption on Google Password Manager device
So how do you get all this set up? The process should be quite simple. For Android, you just need to do the following:
- Open password manager†
- Click Settings
- Tap Set encryption on the device†
That should be it. For the Chrome browser, the process is equally simple:
- In the top right corner, go to More.
- Select Settings†
- Touch passwords.
- Select Set encryption on the device†
For iOS, follow a similar procedure, but starting from the Google Passwords webpage† From there, click on settings and then “set up”. To learn more about this new feature, check out Google’s full article here†
Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to trust Google at all! For the truly paranoid, this may not be a bad thing to consider. You can always subscribe to another password manager like Keeper or Bitwarden and if that doesn’t suit your needs you can always just write your passwords down on a piece of paper. It would be quite difficult to hack your notebook anyway.