Have you ever needed someone to access one of your accounts but you weren’t there to give them the login and password? This happens to all of us, whether it’s in the work place or with friends and family. The Emergency feature in Dashlane lets you manage these urgent situations while giving you control over all your data.
The emergency contact feature is currently unavailable on Android and iOS. To use the feature you must do so through our desktop application. We apologize for the inconvenience. We intend to bring the feature back to Android and iOS in the future, along with other improvements to your mobile experience. On a desktop device, click here to download Dashlane.
Why use the Emergency feature?
The Emergency feature in Dashlane is based on trust. There are a few reasons you would trust someone with access to your data:
- In a personal context: if you want to make sure that your friends or family can access your important data (passwords or notes) in an emergency or in case something happens to you.
- In a professional context: if you go on vacation, you can give colleagues access to some of your data, or let them ask you for access in case they need it. This would also be useful if you were unable to go to work for some reason, maybe illness, and your colleagues needed access to your accounts.
- Also, you might be worried that you’re going to forget your Master Password and so you want to give access to someone else in case this happens.
Is it safe? Do I need to give my contact my Master Password?
Your data is completely secure with this new feature. You never give your Master Password to anyone else, and this is no exception.
For each Dashlane user, we create:
- A unique public key (which is used to encrypt data before sending it to other users) saved on Dashlane's servers.
- A unique private key (known only to you and never shared or transmitted to others) which is directly saved in your Dashlane account and encrypted in your Dashlane settings. This works even for Free users, since your account settings are synced across all devices even if you don't have Premium. This private key is used only to decrypt data. Please note that your private key is different from your Master Password. Your private key is encrypted with your Master Password and stored in your settings in your Dashlane account (along with all your other sensitive data). This private key is synced over to other devices in the same way as your encrypted data is. Note that we never send your Master Password over the internet.
Both keys are generated together and are meant to work together because they only work in one direction. One can never be used to replace the other. You could give your public key to every Dashlane user and no one could ever use it to decrypt your shared data.
The data that is shared is encrypted with the user’s public key but cannot be decrypted with the public key. The data can only be decrypted with the private key of the user (which is only known to the user) but the private key cannot be used to encrypt data.
This is public-key cryptography magic at work!
Setting up the Emergency feature
The Emergency feature lets another Dashlane user access the data you store in Dashlane.
Decide who you want to be your emergency contact. When the set-up process is complete, this contact will be able to request access to your data and, when they do, you will get an email asking if you indeed want to grant or decline their access.
To add an emergency contact, click on Add new.
Note that the following screenshots are for the Windows desktop app, but the process is identical on your Mac.
Set a waiting period. This is how long you wish to have to decline an access request before it is granted automatically. The period can be set from zero to two months, and the default is two days. For example, you can set a period of one month. If your emergency contact asks for access to your data and you do not reply within this month, they will have access to your data.
Please note that you can also set the waiting period to "Require your response", in which case access will never be granted unless you accept the request.
Note that when you specify "Your name (as it will appear in the email)," you unfortunately cannot use special characters. In the example below, the umlauts in "Hans-Jürgen Bäcker" will produce an error. Simply click on Previous then Next, remove the special characters, and click Send again.
Once you click Send, the invitation will be sent to the address email specified in the field. In your Dashlane app, the invitation will appear as pending until it's accepted by your contact.
As for your contact, they will receive a message both in-app and by email, as shown below.
Note that if your contact is not currently a Dashlane user, they will need to create an account. When they click on the "Get emergency access" button, they will be given the chance to download Dashlane.
Existing users, or new users once they have installed Dashlane, can then go from the main Dashlane menu to their Emergency page, where they will need to click Accept to become your emergency contact.
If your contact does not use Dashlane, and does not formally accept your request, they will not be able to access your data.
Importantly, once your contact has accepted to become your emergency contact, you need to log back in to Dashlane at least once in order to complete the process.
Requesting emergency access
As a contact, to request access to someone's data, go to the Emergency section of your Dashlane app, and click on the key next to that person's email address.
The person whose data you requested will then receive both an email and an in-app pop-up message alerting them that you have requested access to their data. They will be able to grant or decline the request from the pop-up they received or else directly from the Emergency section.
If they grant you access, this is what you'll see in your Emergency section. By clicking the magnifying glass icon, you will be able to view the data for which you were given permission. By simply clicking the black lock icon next to a credential, your login and password will appear.
Three important points about this Feature:
- Once emergency access has been activated, if you add any Password or Secure Note to your account, your emergency contact will have access to this new data. This is not the case for Receipts, Payment data, Personal Info or IDs, or if you have chosen to give your emergency contact limited access to your data.
- Your emergency contact has read-only access to your data and can't edit or change anything.
- After your emergency contact has accessed your data, you can still revoke access at any time. If you do this and they want access again, they will need to submit a new request.
What data is shared?
Not all your Dashlane data is shared to your emergency contact. Only passwords and notes are available to them so this does not include anything you store in the Receipts, Payments, Personal Info or IDs sections in Dashlane.
Make sure you keep everything you want to share to your emergency contact in the Passwords and Secure Notes sections of the application!
The two modes of this Emergency feature
- All is shared
If you choose this option, then all your data is sent to your emergency contact. They will have full access to all your secure notes and passwords.
- Advanced – only some passwords and notes
If you choose this option, then only some passwords and notes will be available to your emergency contact. The list of data can be edited after it's been enabled so you can add or remove items from your emergency contact.
Do I need to be Premium to use the Emergency feature?
No, anyone with a Dashlane account, free or Premium, can use the Emergency feature.
If my emergency contact doesn't install Dashlane, they will not have access to your data. Your emergency contact must also have a Dashlane account for the feature to work.
Importantly, you need to log in to your Dashlane account at least once after your emergency contact has accepted your request before the feature can work. This is necessary for your data to be encrypted with the public key. Only then will your emergency contact be able to decrypt this in their Dashlane account.
Make sure your emergency contact installs Dashlane and accepts the request in the app. You will see a notification in your Dashlane account (and in the Emergency section) once they have done this.