Password Manager Review: McAfee True Key
There aren't very many good arguments against using a password manager in this day and age. After all, who could say no to both more security and more comfort? Enter True Key, McAfee’s first-class password manager which helps you to not only manage your accounts but also to secure them with a master password that only you can access.
What Is True Key?
True Key is a password manager developed by McAfee, which helps users create, secure, and manage passwords in Windows and macOS, as well as on Android and iOS devices. Below, we'll let you know how the software performs!
Pros and Cons
Lots of options for multi-factor authentication
Reliable autofill and autosave features
Lacks a true browser extension
No desktop app
Missing a security dashboard
In order to start using McAfee True Key, you'll need to create a free account. This requires the input of your name, email address, and master password, the last of which will be used for future logins. Be careful when creating a master password and try not to pick one that is easy or obvious. We recommend making it as complex as possible, yet easy to remember. True Key will provide feedback about the password you've created and give hints on how to strengthen it.
Next, you'll need to download the True Key app to import data records. Oddly, this app opens a browser window in which you'll manage your passwords and all other features of the desktop version, so we're not really sure why the desktop app is needed at all.
After registering your account, you'll be given a brief tutorial on how to use the different menu options found on the service's dashboard.
Should you be switching to True Key from another password manager or have a set of passwords already saved in your browser, it's easy to import this data into True Key. As of the time of writing, True Key only supports imports from LastPass, Dashlane, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox. Instead of importing exported .csv files, simply log into your Dashlane or LastPass accounts using your master password and choose which data records to import.
While testing True Key's import functions, we encountered a few minor issues. LastPass’s security system detected suspicious behavior while we were accessing our data, however, on the second attempt, we managed to easily import all necessary records to True Key. With that said, some credit card information, as well as other data, was not imported correctly.
Overall, setting-up True Key is not as easy as getting started with other password managers. Downloading and installing the desktop version takes longer than average, despite the fact that it merely forwards the user to the web dashboard. Data imports were a mixed bag, working well with a few programs, and not creating major issues, but still demonstrating a few kinks here and there.
Score: 3.7 / 5
User Interface & Ease of Use
Instead of dividing its features between a desktop app and browser extension, True Key is centered around a web dashboard, from which users manage all data. Clicking the browser extension doesn’t open a second window, but simply forwards the user to the web dashboard, making the browser extension really just a link to the web dashboard.
Any records that are imported or added are grouped into one of three categories within True Key's web dashboard: login data, safe notes, and wallet. In the latter, you can store addresses, credit card information, driver's licenses, memberships, passports, and social security numbers. Data records can be displayed on a grid, in a list, or sorted alphabetically or chronologically (e.g. last opened or most frequently used). Clicking on an entry will automatically forward you to the respective login page and, should you have ticked the appropriate option in the data records submenu, log you into your account.
During testing, we noticed that automated logins didn’t always work, as slight changes to the URL can actually cause the login attempt to fail. This could be remedied with a browser extension that lets you simply copy and paste your login information without having to switch between tabs.
Despite that, True Key is rather flexible so far as creating new passwords is concerned. When creating a new account, simply generate a new password by clicking on the True Key logo. Your password will then be saved automatically.
Overall, the need to constantly refer back to the web dashboard is a nuisance and adversely affected our user experience.
Should you want to save login data for already existing accounts, it's possible to do this either manually or automatically. The latter option appears to function well, saving users a lot of time.
As far as usability is concerned, we're torn. The dashboard is well organized and easy to get a feel for, with login records more readily accessible than in other programs, however, at the same time, the absence of a true browser extension is felt for all the wrong reasons, and the platform's designers have made some of their service's features unnecessarily complicated to use.
Score: 3.3 / 5
Generally speaking, True Key does everything that a password manager is meant to: It saves your login data, generates secure passwords, and helps to log in fast using its autofill option for existing accounts and common websites.
True Key's autosave feature stands out in particular, outperforming those of other programs. This is because it automatically saves login data for new accounts without asking users whether this data should be saved. If desired, you can disable this option. Only in the event of suspicious behavior will True Key request your approval to save login data.
In addition, True Key’s password generator is a powerful tool.
By default, True Key's password generator sets password length to 16 characters. Other specifications, such as the inclusion of special characters and uppercase letters, can be toggled on or off. Once a password has been generated, it will automatically be saved to the clipboard.
Another bright spot is True Key's emphasis on multi-factor authentication. With it, you're able to select from several authenticators to use for confirming your identity. If desired, you can even disable the master password, but, we wouldn't recommend doing this.
Despite all of the glitz, True Key is missing a few basic features.
Most password managers offer security checks, which monitor the strength of your passwords and whether or not they have been compromised. Sadly, True Key doesn't.
Similarly, the service also lacks sharing functionality, for securely providing other users with passwords or sensitive data, as well as an automatic password changer, like Dashlane. As such, despite its highlights, True Key drops a few points in terms of features.
Score: 3.7 / 5
True Key encrypts all data using AES 256, which is considered to be uncrackable. It also adheres to the so-called Zero-Knowledge protocol, which means that all data encrypting and decrypting occurs on your local server. In other words: Only you have access to your master password.
However, both of the above are fairly standard as far as password managers are concerned. What sets True Key apart is its impressive array of multi-factor authentication options.
This might prove to be a double-edged sword, however, as some of the options could create vulnerabilities or security issues. We recommend double-checking your login and automated logout settings. The automated logout option is preset to seven days, which, in our opinion, is far too long. Especially if you misplace or lose your device, seven days could easily see someone retrieve all of your data and unleash a world of hurt.
Score: 4.7 / 5
True Key’s intuitive mobile app does an impressive job of converting the browser application for mobile usage. As of the time of writing, the app is available for Android and iOS devices.
The launchpad contains all of your logins which can be displayed either in a list or on a grid. By tapping on one of the records, you can select the browser that will be used for logging on. Other password managers don’t offer this feature, lending True Key an edge.
The easiest and fastest way to automatically log in is by using the browser which comes with True Key. Otherwise, you'll have to enable access to other browsers in order to guarantee automatic access. But don’t worry, True Key has excellent support features. Once you’re all set up, you can autofill your login data by tapping on the True Key symbol which appears in your browser.
The True Key mobile app automatically synchronizes notes and information in your wallet and provides access to the service's password generator. Rounding it all out, you can choose between displaying or hiding your password when logging in, changing your account name, and deleting your browsing history.
True Key's mobile app is a nifty extension of the desktop experience, possessing all of its best features and guaranteeing a great user experience.
Score: 4.3 / 5
Like Kaspersky Password Manager, McAfee's True Key is just one program in the developer's (sizable) portfolio. As such, the support center is not focused exclusively on True Key, but all McAfee products, which has both advantages and disadvantages.
For example, troubleshooting is a bit more complicated, since you'll need to wade through queries relating to other programs and services, however, live chat service is available nine hours a day from Monday through Friday. In addition, you can call McAfee's hotline or get help on the community forum. Unfortunately, it isn't possible to file support tickets via email.
During testing, we waited between one to ten minutes in the queue for the support chat, which was excellent. For some reason though, we were always matched with the same staffer who was incapable of providing us with satisfactory answers to our questions. If you have a little more time on hand, we recommend seeking advice on the community forum.
Score: 3.3 / 5
Like Kaspersky Password Manager, the free version of True Key allows you to save 15 passwords, meaning that it also is basically just a trial program. The premium version, available with an annual subscription, allows unlimited logins and is relatively inexpensive. For more information, check out the price-table below:
|Price per Month||$0.00||$1.67|
|Price per User||$0.00||$0.00|
|Contract Period (month)||0||12|
|Number of Users||1||1|
|Number of Passwords||15||unlimited|
|Number of Devices||unlimited||unlimited|
|Sync Multiple Devices|
|Only Local Storage|
|Two Factor Auth|
Cloud / SaaS
Cloud / SaaS
True Key is a solid password manager which will help in managing all sensitive data you store or use digitally. The impressive multi-factor authentication options are, in our opinion, worth the subscription price alone. Users who are already McAfee customers are likely to find True Key a convenient and useful addition to their suite.
All told, True Key doesn’t really offer anything outstanding or groundbreaking. To be completely frank, most other password managers we reviewed offer better packages, either in terms of features or usability. Especially when it comes to the latter, True Key's insistence on managing passwords exclusively through the web dashboard makes it user-friendly than programs that have true browser extensions.
From all the password managers we’ve tested to date, we were most impressed with Dashlane. While it costs twice as much (per month) as True Key, its variety of features, such as the automatic password changer, more than make up for this discrepancy in cost.
Should you be looking for a free password manager, LastPass is way out in front, since you'll be able to save an unlimited amount of records and even synchronize your data between devices at no cost.
How We Test
We tested True Key’s web dashboard in Google Chrome and its mobile application on an Android device (Version 8.1.0).