The makers of the password manager Bitwarden have released desktop versions of the application for Windows, Linux and Mac OS.
The password manager was previously available as a browser extension for major web browsers, as mobile applications for Android and iOS, and a web-version that users could access using any modern browser.
The installer, at least the installer for Windows is offered as a web-installer. This means that the installer requires an active Internet connection to download program components during setup.
The size of the full package, a 30 Megabyte download, hints at the use of Electron. A quick check on GitHub confirms it: "The Bitwarden desktop app is written using Electron and Angular". Electron is a popular choice for the development community but some users feel that it bloats programs and impacts performance.
Existing Bitwarden users can sign in using the account's email address and master password to sync account data; new users can create a new account from within the application.
The interface offers the same functionality as the web-based version of Bitwarden. The layout is different in some regards, but the core functionality is present.
Tip: You can disable analytics under File > Settings. Bitwarden states that all data that is collected is anonymous but fails to list what it collects or at least link to a help file that reveals it.
The desktop client lists all available logins in its interface. You can run a search to find a login quickly, or filter by type by clicking on one of the type filters.
When you select a data set, you may edit it, copy the URL, username or password, or launch the website URL in the default browser.
Notes and file attachments are listed as well if they do exist; the latter is a premium feature that is not available in the free version. The family price is reasonable, however, as you get a self-hosting option and 1 Gigabyte of storage for attachments for $1 per month.
The password manager includes a handful of additional options. You may use the password generator to generate new passwords based on parameters such as length and the use of characters, use folders for better separation of accounts, or access the password generation history.
The desktop app lacks some features that the web-based version of Bitwarden offers. I could not locate import and export options, nor options to deauthorize sessions or purge the vault. The option to create domain rules, associate multiple domain names with each other, is also missing in the desktop version.
Bitwarden's desktop applications work reasonably well. They don't seem to be intended as the main app that users of the service work with as they lack browser integration or auto-fill options.
My favorite password manager, KeePass, is a standalone desktop program as well, but it does support a global shortcut to sign in to sites and supports extensions and add-ons to extend its functionality.
I don't see much reason to use the desktop version of Bitwarden if you use browser extensions, apps or the web-version already. Things may be different if you use a self-hosted version but the extensions seem more comfortable to use right now, and the web-version offers what the desktop version offers.
Now You: Do you use a password manager?
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