If you’re unhappy with your current password manager and have decided to make a move, you may be tempted to simply go with the password manager that comes with your browser or operating system. It’s certainly an easy solution and a reasonable one, depending on your point of view. Until recently, third-party password managers were known to be more secure, but Apple and Google have been working to make their built-in password managers more secure, while Microsoft has not only got one as part of its Edge browser but has added one to its authenticator app.
One way, however, that these built-in password managers haven’t stood up to their independent competitors is how tricky it was to get preexisting passwords into their systems. That, however, may be changing.
If you tend to hang out in the Google ecosystem and / or you have an Android mobile device, that means you can be using the Google Password Manager to store and sync your passwords via the Chrome browser. Until recently, though, Google Chrome made it extremely difficult to import passwords from a CSV file. Now, however, it’s quite simple.
Here’s what you do.
- In Chrome, select the three dots in the upper right corner and select Settings.
- Go to Autofill (in the left menu) > Password Manager.
- Look for Saved Passwords and select the three dots to the right of its Add button.
- Select Import passwords > Select file and find your CSV file. Click on Open.
- You will get a report on any passwords that did not import.
What you had to do before
This is a lot easier than the previous workarounds that I tried in order to import a CSV file into Chrome. Just for the sake of historical interest, here’s what you used to have to do in order to get your passwords into Chrome’s password manager:
The only way to do it that I could find was to try to enable a disabled Chrome feature that allows you to import passwords. After searching online, I found several methods to enable it, depending on which version of Chrome you’re running. I am currently running version 88, and while I was able to use the following method to add the import command to Chrome (thank you to Guiding Tech for pointing me toward this possible solution), my copy of Chrome was never able to actually import the CSV file I had downloaded from LastPass.
Be that as it may, here is the process I used. I’ll let you know how I finally managed to get my passwords into Chrome right afterward.
- In Chrome’s top address bar, type in chrome://flags. This will bring you to the Experiments page.
- In the “Search flags” box on top, type in “password import.” (Probably just typing “password” will be enough.)
- Find “Password import” and click on the drop-down menu on the left (it will probably be labeled “Default”). Select “Enabled.”
- Select “Relaunch.”
- Now that you’ve added the import function, go to your Chrome Settings (by selecting the three dots in the upper right corner and choosing “Settings”).
- Find “Passwords” (which will be in the “Autofill” category) and click on the arrow on the right.
- Look for “Saved Passwords” and click on the three dots on the right. You should see a drop-down that includes the selection “Import.”
- Click on “Import.” You’ll be able to select a CSV file from your file manager — and, hopefully, import your passwords.
If that works for you — great! If not, then there is a last desperate way to get your passwords into Chrome, which is the one that finally worked for me.
- Download Firefox (if you don’t have it already) and start it up.
- Click on the three lines in the upper right corner and select “Logins and Passwords.”
- Click on the three dots in the upper right corner and select “Import from a File.”
- Select your CSV file and import it.
Now that your passwords are in Firefox, you can transfer them easily to Chrome:
- In Chrome, click on the three dots in the upper right corner and go to “Bookmarks” > “Import Bookmarks and Settings.”
- Select Mozilla Firefox in the drop-down menu, select “Passwords” (and “Autofill form data” if you had any), and click on “Import.”
Update June 9th, 2022, 5:06PM ET: This article was originally published on February 26th, 2021, and has been updated to explain that Chrome can import CSV files.