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LastPass isn’t holding your passwords hostage

News @andrew_andrew__ Jan 14, 2022, 4:24 pm EST | 3 min read Maor_Winetrob/ShutterstockOver 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…

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@andrew_andrew__



3 min read

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. These claims, while a little confusing, are totally 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. LastPass was free for all users in the past. LastPass is now available for free on the desktop and on mobile devices.

LastPass mobile customers can redeem a “switch” for free if they wish to use LastPass desktop. LastPass offers only 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.

The LastPass mobile app does not allow you to export passwords for other services. If you don’t have any switches left, you won’t be able to access the LastPass browser extension and 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. This functionality works as I have tested it. 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. We shouldn’t be surprised that LastPass is being falsely accused of taking their data hostage.

But, why is this story bubbling up now, almost a year after LastPass changed the way 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. This is a poor example of LastPass communication. )

I also saw many people complaining about a bug in LastPass that prevented exports from being made using the browser extension. Although I could not find a way to trigger the bug myself, LastPass confirmed that they are investigating the issue and have a solution in place.

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. Despite this, it is understandable that they are frustrated and confused by the false stories LastPass has told about 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. LastPass users can export all their data to the LastPass website.

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. You can then go back through the export process. You will see a new tab with your vault data. This can be copied and pasted 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. If LastPass gives you raw text, you can simply copy it into another password manager.


Are you still having trouble exporting your LastPass vault? Contact LastPass support for help or try repeating the export process in a different browser. Also, you should disable any extensions or ad-blockers that could affect LastPass’s export function.

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