🗓 Offline Editing (management of writeable vault items)

I’m a long time 1P user getting upset with their recent change of direction and was readying a jump to Bitwarden. Very many long-time members of the 1P community feel exactly the same.

However, offline support is a must-have. Non-negotiable is the ability to read everything. “Can’t fetch” doesn’t work for me at all. Maybe I need a lock combination - unlike a website, this has a pretty good chance of not needing internet connectivity.

As for editing, many times, I have found the need to make offline updates. While infrequent, they happen often enough to form a real requirement.

Usually, these are additions and not changes, although both can happen. For additions, conflict resolution is trivial. All vault copies get all new entries. Done.

While I know merge conflict resolution of updates is a thorny and complicated topic, I can say that in 15 years of using 1P, I never once had a conflict, much less a complaint about resolving it. Why not? Because the changes aren’t to a shared vault that would have simultaneous updates. I’m changing my own vault item. I’m not somewhere else changing my own vault item at the same time. When I surface and reconnect, I sync (automatically, even) - long before I have the chance to somehow connect and update the vault by some other means.

Let’s add in the sharing case. The odds of a spouse or coworker editing the same item during these infrequent windows is exceedingly small, but admittedly non-zero. That means it needs to be handled, but it doesn’t mean that the user experience needs to be great.

The rareness of the event reduces the need for the solution to be as fancy. Needing to update offline: relatively rare. Then, within that window, having a simultaneous edit, very rare. Then, having that edit be a conflicting update, VERY rare. 99.7% of the users will never encounter it. That’s a conservative number, too. But obviously a much larger number would benefit from seamless operation between offline and online operations.

BW just needs to prevent data loss on sync. As has been suggested many times, detecting that a change has been made to the same item (by timestamp, hash, version, whatever) could just result in the edited item being added as a new item with a title reflecting this fact. We can add ‘nice to haves’, from having a Conflicts folder to nice 3-way merge UIs and intelligent auto-merge logic, but that isn’t required, and all of that is low ROI and very diminishing returns for such an infrequent event.

IMO, there is a golden opportunity for BW to grab a large percentage of 1P customers right now. I would implore BW to consider increasing the priority on offline use, but apply MVP thinking to just get the minimum solution out there. Read access should be 24/7/anywhere, and for editing, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good when it comes to the merge conflict UX over such a rare event.

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Every few months I pop back here to see if there is any likelihood that this gets added. Every few months (over years) I am disappointed. I suspect I am not the only lurker to feel that way.
Offline record editing is a deal breaker for the reasons many have already described.
Sync is a non-problem if you use conflict records.
I get the very strong impression that “we’re thinking about it” really means “we’re always going to deprioritise it because we have no use for it ourselves”. Sad really - a whole class of users is going elsewhere.

Hello @Bobsbits - I know that it is hard to wait for a new feature that is important to you. Bitwarden is slowly implementing such changes that users request, but unlike 1Password they are not a $6.8 Billion dollar company with literally 100s of developers on the payroll (Bitwarden is more in the range of a dozen or two).

The good news is that offline editing is highlighted on the Bitwarden roadmap for upcoming releases. See here:

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Unfortunately “future initiatives” doesn’t actually tell you much. It is clearly still low priority.

We are in the process of evalutating Bitwarden and may choose to purchase an enterprise license for a small IT team. Currently we use shared databases with KeePassXC.
One of the first things we tested was, what happens if the Bitwarden server goes offline. Can we use a cached copy of the data or not. Unfortunately this is not the case at this time, which is a real bummer!
For me/us offline editing is not that important and may be quite reasonable to implement at a later stage to make it right. BUT offline cache of encrypted vault data AND the ability to open that data is one of the prime functions an online password tool should have! In the current stage, where cached data is only usable if the client is only locked, that’s more or less useless! If in need, I should be able to just fire up my laptop from any state, open the Bitwarden client and open the last cached copy of the vault.

Hey @tim3towers, offline editing is on the Bitwarden Roadmap, currently offline functionality includes the following:

Any unlocked Bitwarden app can be used offline in read-only mode, for example when using airplane mode on a mobile device or when not connected to your self-hosted server.

Most functions of Bitwarden are accessible in offline mode, however you won’t be able to make edits to or add vault items, attachments, or sends or import new vault items.

  • Lock (default) Locking your vault will maintain vault data on the device, so unlocking your vault can be done offline. You’ll only be required to enter your master password to decrypt your vault data, not any active two-step Login methods.
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Hi dwbit,

yes, that’s the flaw with this “offline” functionality… IF the app is locked. But maybe overnight my Servers went offline and in the morning I need some passwords for recovery. As may laptop was off, I can’t open Bitwarden without server connection. You get the picture… Not having this feature is like not having any offline access at all (for me).
And editing in offline mode is another story… (not so much needed IMO)

Hi @tim3towers Bitwarden currently does still copy a local cache of the encrypted data on your device.
So long as you are in a locked state the vault can be accessed and items can be read and used as normal, the only thing that can’t be done currently while offline is editing existing items or adding additional ones.

I believe if the vault is completely logged out, rather than locked this does require online access however.

Hi Kent,

I totally understand this. But I can’t count on that. During my tests I had multiple times the situation where I needed to re-login to the vault. In the other cases offline cache worked perfectly. Haven’t found out why yet…

Ahhh I see, yeah that is very strange.

In our case there are very few times we may be without access, and even with occasional downtime or maintenance from Bitwarden experience little issues.

Even so during times when offline, as mentioned as long as the vault is in a locked stated rather than being fully logged out. This should still allow for offline access to the entries.
Not sure why you would be experiencing so many issues, though hopefully this is something that will be resolved with the anticipated updates to offline editing in Bitwarden.

As far as data security goes, Bitwarden thankfully makes it very easy to export your data. They believe your data should be yours and one of the worst things I hate in the enterprise space is vendor lock-in and holding my data hostage.
We run a simple sync job to export the Organizational vault to an encrypted local container on site.
These are added to off-site backups to yet another encrypted (because why not double encrypt ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) storage container in Azure for disaster recovery purposes.

Perhaps a similar local backup of sorts would be sufficient to remedy any offline access concerns you may have.

Any news on this?

Hi,
I am new to BW…
I just switched to BW from a legacy password manager (actually that was the BlackBerry Password Keeper that went and-of-life this summer) that was only local + backed up on cloud, and only available from one device, to BW… The only thing I’d miss from my previous PK are the checkbox notes and the fields for security question on login infos.

I am also +1 on that feature to be able to access my vault (without have to think I should lock it to access in Read-Only) and to edit any entry offline…

BW is great, I am still using the free version at the moment, and I was intending to switch to the piad version to onboard other family members, but the lack of that offline editing feature is a dealbreaker for me (I overlooked the missing of that important feature) and I am currently looking for other products, such as KeePassXC**… Even though I have to pay for it…

I fee that a product that has a local encrypted DB that syncs to a cloud service and that I can use on different platforms (Windows/iOS and Android) might be sufficient for me…

**p.s. any other suggestion from 1Password or LastPass or Dashlane would be welcomed :wink:

We also think offline editing is important and it is on the development roadmap :+1:

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finally!
do you have a rough ETA by any chances?

As soon as we have something locked in, we’ll share it in all of our regular community spaces.

That’s awesome!

I just don’t understand why this is difficult to implement other password managers have figured it out. I have read on other forums regarding this question it’s a problem with timestamps. If a person has made multiple changes, they don’t know how to sync the changes to the server. Why can’t the server just sync the last time stamp?

Hey @jj33e this is on the roadmap, stay tuned :+1:

Is it possible to at least tell us is it coming in 2023? Also, when I go to my vault and end all sessions it takes 9 to 10 minutes to actually end sessions on my windows desktop. I think you really need to fix that if person uses that feature, they could have an urgent reason and waiting ten minutes that could be serious!! I know it sounds like I’m beating up on BW, I do love the product and thanks for all the hard work you all do it’s just these are two big issues!!

When we have more information about offline editing release timelines, we will be sure to update the public roadmap. Regarding session management, you can add features Session management - #2 by Crocmagnon