Apart from the odd security snafu, password manager LastPass serves well on Windows  computers. Sadly, LastPass is appalling on the Apple iPad.

One of the best ways to stay safe online is by using a different strong, hard-to-remember, difficult-to-crack password on each site. The phrase “hard-to-remember” offers a clue why people often fail to do this.

Password managers like LastPass take the hard work out of doing this.

LastPass gets around the problem of creating new passwords. It generates random, impossible-to-guess passwords. Then it remembers them all in a single database protected by a single master password.

When you have the software installed, passwords auto-fill as you open web pages. You get an immediate productivity boost from moving directly to the important information.

Seamless password security, up to a point

Because LastPass stores your passwords online, you can get at them from anywhere. Moving from my desktop to a laptop is seamless.

It works well on a Windows PC. I was a happy user for over a year and moved from the free version to the US$1 a month premium version so I could use the same database from my Android phone. At that price it is a snip.

LastPass horrible on iPad

Password managers are pointless if they don’t work seamlessly across all your gadgets. There is an iPad application, but the iOS Safari browser doesn’t allow plug-ins.

Instead, the iPad app installs a separate browser which in theory gives you the same auto-fill experience you see on a desktop computer.

This sounds good. It isn’t.

The LastPass browser doesn’t integrate with the iPad operating system. So hitting a link from email, Twitter or any other application opens Safari rather than the LastPass browser. You need to manually cut and paste links between browsers to open pages this way – that’s just not acceptable.

Worse, the browser is clunky-looking and prone to crashing without warning. LastPass has a lot of work to do if it wants to be taken seriously as an iPad password manager.

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