No, LastPass Isn’t Holding Your Passwords Hostage – Review Geek

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A photo of LastPass running on a smartphone.
Maor_Winetrob/Shutterstock

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen a lot of “news” articles and Reddit posts claiming that LastPass intentionally prevents free users from exporting their password vault. And although the LastPass export process is a bit confusing, these claims are completely false. LastPass isn’t holding your data hostage.

All LastPass Users Can Export Their Password Vault

LastPass on a smartphone.
Lastpass

For those who don’t know, LastPass made significant changes to its free password manager service on March 16th of 2021. In past years, free users could enjoy LastPass on all of their devices. But free users now must choose whether they want to use LastPass on the desktop or on their mobile device.


LastPass mobile users can redeem a free “switch” if they want to use LastPass on desktop, and vice versa. But LastPass only gives you three switches. Once you’re out of switches, you can’t jump between LastPass mobile and desktop without subscribing to a Premium membership tier—and this seems to be the source of customer confusion.

See, the LastPass mobile app doesn’t let you export passwords for another service. And if you’re a mobile user without any remaining switches, then you can’t access the LastPass browser extension to export your passwords.

But all LastPass users can export passwords from the LastPass website. This functionality was introduced on April 8th of 2021, just a few weeks after LastPass changed how its free membership tier works. (And yes, I’ve tested to confirm that this works. There’s a full guide at the bottom of this article!)


So, Why Are LastPass Customers Confused?

LastPass on a smartphone
Maor_Winetrob/Shutterstock.com

The free version of LastPass is very confusing, and the company’s recent push for Premium memberships created a lot of distrust within its user base. In other words, we shouldn’t be surprised that some people are wrongly accusing LastPass of holding their data hostage.

But why is this narrative bubbling up today, nearly a full year after LastPass changed how its free tier works?

Here’s the trend I noticed—journalists and Redditors keep pointing to a LastPass support thread full of mobile users that can’t export their information. Until January 11th, moderators on this support thread simply applied extra switches to users’ accounts instead of explaining that all LastPass users can export their passwords from the LastPass website. (Obviously, this is an example of poor communication from LastPass.)

I also saw a lot of people complaining about a bug that prevents exports from the LastPass browser extension. Personally, I couldn’t find a way to trigger this bug, but LastPass confirmed that it’s investigating the problem and preparing a fix.

Yes, we became aware of this more recent bug and the team began looking into it. We are in the process of releasing a fix to all browser extension stores … as of 4/8/21, free users should be able to export their data by logging in to lastpass.com and utilizing the export feature from there.

LastPass desktop users experiencing any problems with the browser extension can simply export their data from the LastPass website. That said, their confusion and frustration is understandable, given all the misguided stories about LastPass locking down user data.

How to Export LastPass Passwords with a Free Account

Andrew Heinzman

You don’t need a Premium LastPass account to export your vault to another service. All LastPass users can export their data from the LastPass website, even if they’re free mobile users.

Here’s how to export your data from the LastPass website:

  1. Visit the LastPass website and sign in to your account.
  2. Click the “Advanced Options” button on the bottom left side of your screen.
  3. Select the “Export” option under the “Manage Your Vault” header.
  4. Click on Export.
    • Free Desktop Users: If you’re logged into the LastPass browser extension, you will automatically download a CSV file containing your vault data.
    • Free Mobile Users: If you’re a mobile user, LastPass will send you an email to confirm the export. Take care of that email and go through the export process again. A new tab will open with your vault data, which you can copy and paste into another password manager.

That’s all there is to it. If you end up with a CSV file, I strongly suggest discarding it after you import your information into 1PassWord, BitWarden, or another password manager. And if LastPass just gives you a bunch of raw text instead of a proper CSV file, don’t worry; you can copy-paste it into another password manager after following its import process.


Are you still having trouble exporting your LastPass vault? Contact LastPass support for help or try repeating the export process in a different browser. You should also try turning off any ad-blockers or other extensions that might affect the LastPass website’s export function.



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