by Anthony 

November 10, 2021

Bitwarden is an open-source password manager app that can generate, store and retrieve all your passwords from any device. It comes with a free forever plan that includes all the core features of the product. Here’s how to start using it.

To setup Bitwarden, first go to the website and create an account. Next, you will see your password vault where you can import existing passwords, if any. You also need to verify your email address. Then, you can install the browser extension, desktop app, or mobile app for easy access to Bitwarden.

In my last video, I explained why I was making the switch from Lastpass to Bitwarden and how to transfer all your saved passwords over to Bitwarden. In this article, I’ll go through creating your Bitwarden account and making it work across all your devices.

So let’s start at the very beginning by going to bitwarden.com and clicking on Get Started.

Get started with Bitwarden

Enter your email address, a name, and a Master Password. This password controls access to your Bitwarden account and all the passwords held in your vault, so make sure it’s long, strong, and memorable.

Hit submit and you’ll be prompted to enter your account credentials once more to access your vault.

If you’re making the switch from using another Password Manager or you previously saved your passwords in a browser, BitWarden offers several options for importing your existing passwords by clicking on Tools and Import Data.

Import data on Bitwarden

For this example, I imported my Lastpass vault which, as demonstrated in my last video.

The next step is to verify your email address by clicking Send Email. Run through the normal process, click the link and re-enter your account credentials.

The easiest way to use Bitwarden on your computer is to add it as a browser extension. In Chrome, you can access browser extensions either by clicking on the icon in the top right of the window or, if you don’t see that icon, click on the ellipsis, choose more tools and extensions.

Open the Chrome web store and search for Bitwarden. Click on Add to Chrome and Add Extension. It’s a similar process if you’re using Edge or Firefox. Safari user’s you’ll find your browser extensions in the Mac App Store.

Bitwarden chrome extension

Once installed, I’ll pin the icon and log in once more to complete the setup process. We can now access all our passwords quickly and easily when browsing the internet.

By default, Bitwarden will ask for the master password each time you open the browser, which is very tedious, so I recommend creating a PIN to use instead. Unticking the box, so you can use the PIN in all instances instead of your password.

If you need to access your vault at any time, you can do so by scrolling down and selecting Bitwarden web vault.

If you prefer, Bitwarden does offer a standalone app for both Windows and MAC, but it works in exactly the same way as the browser extension, which I find more convenient.

Bitwarden desktop app

To use Bitwarden on your mobile or tablet, download the app from the app store and log in using your same credentials. Bitwarden syncs your account using push notifications, so you will need to allow Notifications.

As with the browser extension, I recommend changing a few settings to make your life easier.

Click on the Settings icon from the menu and Enable Unlock with Face ID or you can use a PIN if you have an older iPhone or iPad. Click no to the prompt to use your pin rather than the password in all instances.

You’ll want to turn on Password AutoFill, which allows access to Bitwarden through Safari and other browsers. To do this go into Settings, scroll down to Passwords. Choose Autofill passwords and choose Bitwarden.

Bitwarden autofill passwords

Again, you’re prompted to re-enter your master password and you should receive confirmation that Autofill is now activated.

I also recommend enabling the App Extension option in the settings, which is an alternative way of access Bitwarden within apps, by clicking on the share button or more button.

You can launch any of the sites you have stored within Bitwarden simply by clicking on the ellipsis and selecting launch. If everything is working correctly, you’ll be use credentials stored within Bitwarden.

For a small annual fee, Bitwarden can also function as a two-factor authentication app. It comes with a Time-based One-time Password (TOTP) authenticator that can be used to provide one-time codes to websites offering 2fa authentication. If you’d rather not pay for Two Factor Authentication, then I recommend another free app called Authy, or Microsoft Authenticator.

And that is how to start using Bitwarden Password manager on desktop and IOS. For more tips like these, please check out my Youtube playlist of Internet Security apps.

Facts of Apps

  • You can organize your passwords into folders and favorites for quick access. Folders can also be nested. And if you have a login that was shared to you by your team, you can move these logins to a folder of your choice without giving anyone else access to that folder. It would only affect how your vault displays the logins.
  • Bitwarden supports a self-hosted or “on premise” option. Here, you can run the entire system on your own hardware or cloud servers. This option can theoretically increase privacy even more and may even reduce the price of the premium features. Bitwarden is free, however some features require a license even with the self-hosted setup.
  • Similar to other password managers, Bitwarden has a “zero knowledge solution”, meaning even the developers in the company cannot access your passwords.
  • Because Bitwarden cannot access your passwords, there is no way to recover your access if you forgot your master password. It is recommended to take some proactive methods to protect yourself from such a scenario.
  • Bitwarden will allow you to view a history of changes for each login record. You can view up to the last 5 passwords for that given login.
  • Even in the unlikely event that Bitwarden gets hacked, your account is still protected due to strong encryption and one-way salted hashing. Only encrypted data is ever stored on the Bitwarden servers.
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