I have all my passwords and stuff in an Open Office Write document (.odt file) in Dropbox. That file is itself password-protected (which effectively means it is encrypted with the password being the key).

I'm happy with this approach generally (I'm not looking for advice on whether it's secure enough, thanks), but the one problem is that the Dropbox app on my iPhone can't handle the password-protected aspect - it just says "Unable to open file". It'd be very handy to be able to access this info on my phone while i'm out and about, but I don't want to put it in Dropbox in an unencrypted format.

Does anyone know of a different password-protected text file format which will work in the Dropbox app? Ie will ask me for the password then open the file?

Alternatively, can anyone recommend a different app which syncs between devices and does password protection, and works on iphone? I don't mind a one-off payment but i'd prefer not to have to do a monthly subscription. Also i'd prefer something that has freeform text entry rather than something that just stores usernames and passwords because sometimes I have to write notes about things.

EDIT: It was suggested in the comments to use the Notes app, and i've just tried that. Unfortunately, because i'm using a different icloud account on my work computer as on my phone, I need to do it as a "Shared Note", and shared Notes can not be locked (ie password protected). So I think Notes is not going to work unfortunately.

EDIT2: The Notes app on iphone, combined with being logged into icloud.com in the web browser on my work mac (rather than using the native Notes app on the mac) seems to be working - both the iphone Notes app and the website require the password (which is different to the password to log into the icloud.com website) to view the contents of the file, which is what I needed.

  • 3
    What's wrong with the system keychain, or even Notes? You seem to be struggling with a solution that's already well-handled by existing structures.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 19, 2023 at 10:02
  • I thought that Keychain only saves usernames and passwords, rather than allowing arbitrary text entry (which sometimes I need to add as a note to myself). Notes could work but can individual notes be password protected? Commented Jun 20, 2023 at 11:23
  • 1
    Aha - yes, locking a note allows you to enter a separate password for locked notes. That is perfect thanks! Commented Jun 20, 2023 at 11:25
  • urgh so in order to share it between my phone and work computer, which use different icloud accounts, i need to share the Note between two accounts. And shared notes can not be locked. So Notes isn't going to work I think. Commented Jun 20, 2023 at 16:11
  • 1
    PDF also has a password-protected option. Both LibreOffice and the print dialog can save PDF from .odt (or open in Preview and save from there. But I don't know whether that route allows locking the PDF with password.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jun 20, 2023 at 16:38

1 Answer 1


I have all my passwords and stuff in an Open Office Write document (.odt file) in Dropbox… can anyone recommend a different app which syncs between devices and does password protection, and works on iphone?

Have a look at KeePassXC (Free)

This is a FOSS (Free Open Source Software) cross-platform product that is designed to encrypt your password database. It works on macOS, Windows, FreeBSD, Linux and there are apps for both iOS and Android.

It can sync using iCloud, OneDrive, DropBox and rsync. It also has customizable fields and a freeform notes area; see below:

KeePassXC Notes Screen

There are many more screenshots available for viewing

Why your current method doesn’t work

The iPhone/iOS user interface is not Finder. The problem that you’re having is the DropBox client (app) has no idea how to deal with a password protected/encrypted file. When it tries to open it, it only sees the encrypted gibberish and can’t handle it past this point. Even if you move it “outside” the DropBox sandbox (using the Files App, for example), iOS still doesn’t know how to handle this type of protected file.

I use OneDrive and while it has a feature called Personal Vault which is an encrypted, password protected folder within the OneDrive application, it still doesn’t meet the needs of being cross platform with offline access. DropBox has a similar feature called Vault and (IMO) it’s nowhere as near as robust as OneDrive’s.

Why KeePassXC?

To be candid, Apple’s existing Keychain handles most, if not all, of your needs…if you’re solely in an Apple environment. I use this product because it works on every single platform I use: macOS, iOS, FreeBSD, Windows and a sole Android tablet (for testing). I can’t do this with Apple’s Keychain. However, the key points where I find this product excells:

  • It’s cross platform
  • it’s FREE (as in beer) but I highly recommend making a donation especially when developers make high quality products. There are no ads and no subscriptions associated with this product.
  • It synchronizes the password database with offline capabilities
  • Browser Integration (I use it with Edge and Firefox mainly)
  • iOS Passwords Integration (will open instead/in addition to iOS Keychain when an app asks for authentication)
  • Custom fields than can be obfuscated during run time (i.e. secret questions/answers hidden until you click on them)
  • Free form/time stamped note taking
  • Autofill capabilities
  • That looks good thanks, i'll check it out. Commented Jun 20, 2023 at 20:46

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