The Death of Dashlane for ios

Dashlane is Getting Worse Despite All Obvious Evidence to the Contrary

Since Dashlane 5 was released I’ve read several professional reviewers glowing accounts of how great Dashlane is…but is it really? Seasoned users like myself will tell you a completely different story.

Dashlane’s Video Introducing Dashlane 5

A month or two ago Dashlane sent me an email that had a very excited tone to it. They’d just released a big new update…Dashlane 5. It was supposed to be amazing! I was super busy at the time and didn’t have time to really check it out…but something occurred the other day to make me think I needed to.

This is my impression of the video and what I found at both Dashlane’s website as well as while using it as I was checking things out.

It seems to me that Dashlane focuses way to much on appearances and making things look good than they do on matters of security, making things work correctly and addressing their longtime customer concerns. I appreciate visually pleasing resources perhaps more than most do…but my quick impression is that Dashlane looks more polished and professional than ever…but that their continually pleasing exterior is hiding some very ugly truths.

Why I Think Dashlane’s Service Has Degraded Overtime

I guess I’m somewhat spoiled because I’ve used Dashlane for a very long time. At least 4 years. In the beginning Dashlane was so amazing that the pared down services of today pale greatly in comparison. But I don’t think I’m unique in expecting that things like apps will improve with time…not get worse.

As the company continues to take away features from ios users they tell us that we’ve been heard. They tell us that all the things they’ve taken away won’t matter anymore once we’ve seen the new and exciting things that are coming. But frankly…I’ve been waiting for 2 years now.

Not only do I not see any new things coming but I just see my overall security getting worse and worse the longer I continue to use Dashlane.

Dashlane’s Service Was Better 2 Years Ago

Why do I say that? Because I felt more secure 2 years ago. That’s why I was such a vocal and enthusiastic supporter of their service! Ask anyone who knows me. 2 years ago I was Dashlane’s biggest cheerleader. I bugged anyone and everyone to join. I couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t…it’s free after all. For all the amazing benefits Dashlane offered it was a no brainer. But that was 2 years ago.

It really makes me sad to realize that I haven’t suggested anyone begin using Dashlane in a very long time. It makes me sad because I think I finally have come to the realization that it’s not going to change…ever.

My earlier post about Dashlane this year

I think the reason that you see all the glowing reviews is because they’re from brand new users who have nothing to compare it to. If you’ve never used a password manager before then Dashlane might seem great. But anyone familiar with Password Managers would probably come to the same conclusion I have upon closer examination and determine that Dashlane has spread themselves too thin. They aren’t dedicating the proper resources to the proper places. I thankfully haven’t had to utilize Customer Service in quite some time. I say thankfully because this is one area sorely in need of attention. But based upon current user reviews, customer service hasn’t improved. Frankly I’ve seen no improvements of any kind in several years…just degradation of services. Those I’ve received explanations for…but they haven’t really been all that illuminating, especially in terms of the bigger, or long-term picture.

You can read several other of their ‘ios app user reviews’ in the screenshot below…most of which I can concur with. You can also read Dashlane Support’s reply to another blog post I wrote a little less than a year ago expressing some similar but less alarming concerns. The post was called ‘Dashlane for ios Has Serious Problems Revealed by the Cloudbleed Incident.’ In it I was frustrated because I found it nearly impossible to use Dashlane to change passwords following Cloudbleed. The situation has not changed. The promises made by a support person in her reply, which you’ll find by scrolling down to the end of the post, never came to fruition. It’s still equally difficult changing a password in Dashlane for ios today.

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A Few More Examples of Things That Have Gotten Worse

2 years ago on the heels of Heartbleed Dashlane released their amazing new Password Changer. Password Changer was ground breaking! It was uber exciting to anyone interested in data security! It was the flashiest kind of announcement that could have been made right after Heartbleed. There was only one problem…it didn’t work. In retrospect this was another instance of perception over function.

Dashlane said it would take time to program in all the requirements for each individual website. I got that. I’m sure I couldn’t appreciate how incredibly complex that task must be…but come on guys…it’s been 2 years now and it still doesn’t work!

Password Changer is the single most defining aspect of who Dashlane is as a company. Appearances are so much more important than truths and functionality!

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Password Changer’s Lack of Functionality and Unfulfilled Promises Should Have Been a Red Flag for Me

But frankly…I didn’t want to see it…I wanted Dashlane to succeed. I wanted to be excited about all that they were capable of.

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More Ways Dashlane Was Better 2 Years Ago

I used to always receive security alerts from my ios Dashlane app…I no longer do! I can’t even think of the last time I received an alert from Dashlane warning me about anything becuase it was so long ago. The realization that I no longer receive those is alarming because I felt they served to keep me up to date and knowledgeable about current threats and news. It was an aspect of Dashlane I always pointed out to others when trying to convince them of Dashlane’s merits and one that helped justify Dashlane’s much higher annual subscription fee.

Something occurred recently which made me acutely aware of this. Most of my readers know that I use iPads exclusively. It takes quite a few iPads to make that work…because no matter what anyone tells you iPads cannot replace computers…but that’s another story. It so happened that I had the opportunity to see my Dashlane account on a Mac computer. The Mac’s screen happened to be on Dashlane’s Security Checkup screen.

I was shocked at what I saw!

I learned that I had at least 54 accounts that were compromised out of 431. Compromised means that the website was breached and my password is more than likely in the hands of hackers. I also learned that Imgur, where I have an account, was recently breached too. We’d just arrived home from traveling so I assumed I’d missed some things while on vacation. Later that day I made a concentrated effort to go scope things out using the Dashlane apps on my iPads. But I was surprised to see that there was nothing to scope! No notifications. No compromised passwords…no alert about Imgur…nothing! As far as my ios app is concerned, my Dashlane data is as secure as ever.

The ios app has no method of accomplishing a security check…this is a serious failing. The only way to discover if a password isn’t secure is by viewing the individual password or by viewing Password Changer. Password Changer displays only 30 passwords of my 431. Of those displayed none are highlighted as compromised. Instead 7 of them are flagged as unsafe. That’s a huge difference…54 compromised versus 7 unsafe! 

On the Mac computer unsafe was also shown as a category so I’m left to assume that the ios app will never ever show me when a password has been compromised. I assume this because currently none of my 431 passwords are designated as compromised. Nor do I ever recall having seen one designated that way in my 4 years of use.

Warning to ios Users:

Don’t rely upon Dashlane’s ios app information regarding the integrity of your passwords. Get to a computer to find out accurate (I hope!) information regarding your account. If you don’t have one…borrow one…you’re missing out on at least 50% of the picture if you don’t!

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It’s quite possible that all mobile users aren’t provided with full information about the present state of their passwords safety too. This means Android users too!

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This is not acceptable!

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Most of my Readers know that I religiously try to stay on top of security matters and I write about them often. How did so many of my passwords become so compromised without my knowledge? Apparently Dashlane took that feature away from ios users too. Either that or it was never present. Neither answer is acceptable. Knowing how safe your passwords are isn’t a superfluous luxury for mobile users. This shouldn’t be a privilege that’s only granted to people using computers! Can you tell that I’m growing angrier as I write this?

Even More Problems for ios Users

I also used to be able to find out what a password that Dashlane automatically assigned to something was even if I forgot to have Dashlane save it…or more likely…even if Dashlane forgot to save it. I’ve experienced frequent instances of using Dashlane to save a password…but then going to check it afterwards only to discover that Dashlane didn’t actually save it…the password field is blank! Sadly, this feature is no longer available for ios users. Using Dashlane’s current ios app this scenario occurs more often than I’d like. Oftentimes it’s because Dashlane never seems to ask me at the right time to save a password…the apps timing is off. The end result is that I have to contact the company in question and go through their lost password procedure to reset it…it’s a wholly manuel process. One that should never arise when I’m creating a new account because I pay a higher than average fee for a password manager to accomplish that task for me.

The Irony of the Poor Functionality of Dashlane’s ios App

Dashlane simply doesn’t work very well for Apple mobile users anymore. This is especially sad because originally ios users were the ones who Dashlane’s service was designed for. Does it work well for desktop and laptop users? Maybe…I don’t know because I don’t use them. Does it work well for Android and other mobile users? Once again I don’t have the answer to that question. From what I can tell in reading Android support material, the Android app appears to suffer from the same problems that the ios app does.

3 years ago Dashlane was seen as the Cadillac of Password Managers. This is how they were able to justify their very inflated annual charge. Today I suspect I could find as much utility as Dashlane provides me for free from many other sources. Apple’s key chain is just one among many.

Assessing Dashlane’s Utility Today for Mobile ios Users (and possibly Android Users too)

In conclusion I’d like to tally up all of the things that iPad and iPhone users have lost over time due to their keeping Dashlane as their password manager provider:

• Dashlane took away features that generated and stored payment receipts.

• Dashlane took away all functionality from their in-app web browser.

• Dashlane took away password history and along with it users’ ability to find a password when Dashlane or users goof up saving new passwords.

• Dashlane quit warning me when accounts I use are breached!

• Dashlane quit telling me when my passwords were compromised.

• Dashlane took away the ability to easily change a password.

One Last ios Problem

One additional problem that the ios app has suffered from since day one which has never been addressed or fixed is this. The ios app has an annoying propensity to always revert to creating really obscure passwords which include primarily symbols. Passwords which are comprised primarily of symbols usually aren’t permitted by most websites. But oftentimes there’s no way to tweak Dashlane settings for this so I’m forced to manually makeup my own passwords. This kind of defeats the purpose of using a password manager!

Conclusion:  Dashlane isn’t a Standout Amongst Password Managers for Mobile Users…it May or May Not Be for Computer Users

My overall take regarding Dashlane in 2017 is that unless you primarily use a computer to manage your Dashlane account and data, its just not a very useful tool anymore. And it may not even be a great tool for computer users…I really don’t know for sure. Does it function well to store passwords and sync them across devices? Yes…but that’s about all that it does now. You can gain the same utility using Apple’s Keychain, or the Firefox or the Chrome browsers’ free tools. Several years ago I’d stated in a post that storing passwords in Chrome wasn’t secure, but that’s no longer the case.

Some of the reviews I read while writing this would seem to indicate that computer users might be the best candidates to reap any greater benefits from using Dashlane.

Dashlane’s ios Users May Acutally Be Harmed by Continuing to Rely Upon Their Service

The argument could be made that continuing to use Dashlane is actually harming me more than it’s helping. This may be true for several reasons. First, it’s quite possible that if I switched to LastPass, 1Password, or another password manager service I might be made me aware of breaches and data security events that Dashlane no longer alerts me of. Second, I might benefit from the added security of auto-generated random passwords. 3rd their lower cost would  advantageous. And last, I wouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security in believing my passwords were safe when they aren’t really safe.

Everyone Should Us a Password Manager of Some Kind

My early use of Dashlane…Dashlane in its heyday…has convinced me that everyone can and should benefit from the added security Password Managers bring to the table.

The world desperately needs the type of password manager that Dashlane originally set out to create. I don’t know if that will ever happen…or if maybe it already has and I’m just unaware? The thought crossed my mind that it’s very likely there are disgruntled Dashlane employees who are also unhappy with the different direction their company has taken. Maybe that would explain why support personnel are so unenthusiastic in their roles? How cool would it be if one, or several of them broke away from Dashlane and built what was once begun with such promise?

Dashlane’s Future Success and Viability is Uncertain

Only time will tell what the future holds for Dashlane. Imho the company will only be successful long term if they either address the current severe imbalance between computer users and mobile ones or if they publicly state that their focus has shifted to serve computer users instead of mobile. As more and more people become knowledge about all the great benefits Password Managers can provide, if Dashlane fails to choose either course it can only lead to the company’s demise.

In the meantime I have some serious research ahead of me as my initial quick search revealed that none of the present password manager alternatives seem to offer stellar solutions. Truthfully, each one sounds worse than the next. Since my annual subscription with Dashlane doesn’t end until September 2018 I have some time to figure things out. Also I  now know that I have quite a large mess of  compromised passwords that I need to deal with. Best case scenario there is that Password Changer may be able to change a few of those. The rest will need to be done manually given Dashlane’s current limitations.

This leads me to really appreciate the words of one LastPass reviewer in his review of their ios app (Steve the unhappy Gmail user.) He said he was going to stick with LastPass because…‘the devil you know is better than the one you don’t!’ A very insightful comment given the situation :-)

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Comments

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About vsajewel

Hi...I'm the author of 2 main blogs on WordPress...vsatips...where I write tech tips for mobile devices...primarily ios...2nd is vsatrends...where I write less about tech things and more about everything else. I also host a YouThe channel. I use it to better illustrate some of the posts from vsatips and for other random 'How To' topics. I'm a huge fan of YouTube because I think you can learn pretty much anything in the world there. Sometimes I search for something I can't do and don't find anything. A lot of my videos come from that influence...if I do eventually figure out how to do something :-)
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