BW ALWAYS Asks for Master Password!?

I’ve looked everywhere and can’t find an answer to this. I’ve been using BW for a couple of years and have been very happy with it. However, recently on my Macbook it forces the entry of my master password every single time. Even if I close it and reopen immediately. I’ve set the timout to up to 24 hours but it doesn’t have an effect (of course “unlock with pin” is checked). My Mac doesn’t have any sort of biometric ID so I really need the ability to use a PIN as my master password is of course insanely long. This will force me to use another manager if I can’t fix it. What am I doing wrong?

@mrspock Welcome to the forum!

This appears to me to be a Bitwarden bug that must have cropped up in the past few weeks. I have seen a handful of other similar complaints (here, here, and here), and the common factors appear to be that the operating system is macOS, and the user has set a custom value for the timeout period. Interestingly, these complaints started around March 17, but there were no new Bitwarden client releases between Feb. 17 - March 20. Unless it took one month for the Apple app store to approve the Feb. 15-16 releases (version 2023.2), this observation suggests that an update in the operating system or browser is the underlying cause for the problem (by causing some incompatibility with Bitwarden’s timeout processes).

I don’t believe that this bug has been reported on GitHub yet, but hopefully someone will do it soon and get the developers’ attention. I hesitate to file the report myself, since I don’t use macOS (and therefore cannot provide the detailed information required for a bug report).

Until this gets fixed, you can select the predefined 4-hour option for your timeout period, which should at least give you a little bit of a reprieve.

  1. You mentioned this started recently. Approximately when did this start?
  2. Are you only using the desktop client?
  3. Can you provide a screenshot of the Security settings?

Thanks for the responses, much appreciated! I am currently set at 4 hour timeout but I’ve had it set at various options and nothing changed. This occurred on my Mac Mini first, which I don’t use much so I didn’t worry too much about it. But since completely logging in and out of BW on my Macbook it is now doing it on this machine. It did NOT appear to result from an update to the app, which is to say it cropped up out of nowhere between releases.

I’m reluctant to post any screenshots of my password manager, however innocuous, on the web. But I can tell you the settings:

Vault timeout: 4 hours
Timeout action: lock
Unlock with pin: checked
Approve login requests: unchecked
Bitwarden version: 2023.2.0 (7249)

I use ios/android clients as well but have biometric set up so it is a non-issue. My Macs are both old and due for replacement but for now I must keep them in service.

I don’t know how long I can put up with this but other PW managers may or may not have the pin login option either. Thanks again.

Hmmm… to be sure I’m not misunderstanding, can you confirm the following?

  • You are now using only timeout periods that are predefined in the dropdown menu (not a custom period), and the client is not honoring the timeout period but locking immediately?

  • This immediate locking is happening not only on your macOS devices, but also on iOS and Android mobile clients?

  • The option to unlock with PIN is not honored on any of your clients and devices (macOS, iOS, Android), and you must instead unlock with your master password?

  • These two problems (timeout period not honored, and PIN unlock option not honored) started at the same time, and first started happening on your Mac Mini sometime between Feb. 17 - March 20?

Also, could you clarify if when it is asking for the master password, is the prompt asking you to unlock your vault, or to log in to your vault?

Ignore this post.

After changing my timeout from a custom value of 1 hour 30 minutes to the 4 hour option, the problems stopped. As far as I can tell, bitwarden now stays unlocked for 4 hours.

1 Like

I have to question these assumptions as I began encountering this issue some time before March 17 and I’ve only had this MacBook less than 3 weeks. I was on a Windows 10 machine when this issue first began to manifest. As I recall, I had also been running into a similar issue for even longer where I was constantly having to provide credentials every time I opened facebook messenger. That problem had been pestering me for some time before BW started similarly acting up. I’m wondering if these things could be related?

With BW, when my custom settings stopped working and I found myself having to enter the password everytime it seemed, I finally had enough of it and just selected “Never” as an immediate solution. Prior to that I had been using custom settings and entering a big number into the hours field. The “Never” setting made the problem stop but I recognize that’s probably not a great solution, which is why I finally got myself in here to search for a better one.

I will monitor this discussion hoping a solution will be found soon. Cheers,

Not making assumptions, just summarizing the posted reports and trying to find common patterns.

Also, for a bug report, you’ll have to focus on current behavior that you can reproduce, while recollected memories of past behavior will be of less value.

Speaking of bug report, I would highly recommend that one of you (users who are currently experiencing these issues) file one by clicking the “New Issue” button on the GitHub page for issues in the Bitwarden clients. Until a bug report is filed, little progress is likely to be made on resolving the issue.

OK, I checked my ios and android devices and confirmed that I can enable pin unlock. It works as expected. I usually use face/fingerprint but I did switch it to test and it works.

It doesn’t matter what timeout period I choose, if it’s custom or one of the predefined options. Always asks me to unlock, not login, with my master password.

I’m not 100% sure of the dates when it started. But I would say definitely within the last 6-8 weeks. I will file a bug report if this isn’t fixable.

Edit: App Store showed a 3/22 update available. Problem still persists after update.

yes, I know, I wasn’t happy with that word either but I couldn’t think of a better one at the time. Still can’t, actually, suggestions welcome. :thinking:

I have to question these “…”,

Quiz for today: What’s the right word?


“ellipsis” ? :upside_down_face:


Kidding aside, I would suggest: “conclusions”.

OK, I need clarification on something. I’ve always used Bitwarden like this: I keep it closed, I open it and unlock it with my pin, I close it when I am done. What’s changed for me is that I can no longer unlock it with my pin when I open it. I could always do this before. However, when I let it time out and it locks on its own, the pin function does work. Is this how it’s supposed to work? And if so, why was I able to unlock it (cold) with a pin before?

@mrspock When you enable the Unlock with PIN option, there is a pre-checked option to enable Lock with master password on browser restart, which forces the behavior that you are currently experiencing. Previously, you must have cleared that checkbox, thus disabling the Lock with master password on browser restart option (and allowing you to unlock with a PIN on restart).

Based on the various recent threads on this and similar topics, I believe that some recent update may have caused the Lock with master password on browser restart option to become reset to its default setting (enabled). The solution would be to disable the PIN, then re-enable the PIN, and ensure that you clear the Lock with master password on browser restart checkbox.

P.S. On the desktop client app, the option is called Lock with master password on restart. On the mobile apps, there is a dialog box that asks if you want to require unlocking with your master password when the application is restarted.

Thanks grb for the info! Yesterday before I read your response I resorted to uninstalling and reinstalling the app and as a part of that process I did indeed uncheck the box for “lock with master password on restart” and it worked! That must have been the problem. Somehow during an update that setting was changed without my knowledge and because it had been so long since I messed with that setting, I essentially forgot it existed or how to access it.

If that setting had been out in the open instead of hidden (unless you re-initiate the pin-unlock process) I would have immediately discovered the problem. Thanks for your help and sorry to have taken everyone’s time for such a simple fix. But maybe this thread will help someone else who’s setting was changed and is having the same “mysterious” problem.

1 Like

no time, quick update:

BW mac os ventura desktop app, just got prompted for master password, as soon as I got in immediately checked settings, had set to “never”. This setting may not be advisable but advisable or not it’s not working!