How to Fix “Error: cannot decrypt” in Bitwarden?

Bitwarden may show the “cannot decrypt” error mainly due to issues with the extension or app configurations. The configurations’ issues range from an outdated Bitwarden extension/app to a corrupt one. The error mainly occurs when you open the Bitwarden app or extension but the app or extension shows the Bitwarden error instead.

Bitwarden Error Cannot Decrypt

The error usually occurs after a sudden power failure or an app/extension/OS update. The error is reported on different browser extensions (like Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Brave, etc.) and different OS (like Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.). In the case of a mobile app, the error is mainly reported on the Android version but there are a few instances reported on the iOS version as well.

The following can be marked as the main factors that can cause the Bitwarden error of “cannot decrypt”:

  • Outdated Bitwarden Browser Extension or App: You may encounter the decrypt error on a Bitwarden browser extension or app if it is outdated as the extension or app may become incompatible with the other related modules (browser, OS, etc.), hence the error.
  • Auto-Fill Feature of the Bitwarden Extension: The Auto-Fill feature of the Bitwarden extension is experimental and due to its experimental nature, it may not function properly in different scenarios, leading to error.
  • Malfunctioning Vault Timeout Feature: The “cannot decrypt” error might occur if the Vault Timeout feature of the Bitwarden extension is malfunctioning (due to a glitch) and is locking the vault when it is required to be in the unlocked state.
  • Corrupt Installation of the Bitwarden Browser Extension or App: A Bitwarden extension or app may show the cannot decrypt error if its installation has gone corrupt (e.g., due to a sudden power failure) and due to this corruption, the extension or app is failing to load or access modules essential for its operation.

1. Update the Bitwarden Browser Extension and Bitwarden Desktop App to the Latest Builds

A Bitwarden browser extension or desktop app may show the cannot decrypt error if it is outdated as the outdated extension/app is not compatible with the browser’s or OS modules and due to this incompatibility, the execution of essential extension/app components may not be allowed by the browser/OS. In such a case, updating the Bitwarden browser extension to the latest build may clear the issue.

Update the Bitwarden Browser Extension to the Latest Build

For illustration, we will go through the process of updating the Chrome version of the Bitwarden extension to the latest build.

  1. Launch the Chrome browser and click on the Extension icon.
  2. Now select Manage Extensions and toggle the status switch of the Developer Mode to on.
    Open Manage Extensions in Chrome
  3. Then click on Update and once the Bitwarden (and other extensions) is updated, check if the decrypt error is cleared. 
    Update the Chrome Extensions to the Latest Builds

Update the Bitwarden Desktop App to the Latest Build

For elucidation, we will discuss the process of updating the Windows version of the Bitwarden desktop app to the latest release.

  1. Open the Bitwarden Desktop app and expand its Help menu.
  2. Now, in the menu shown, click on Check for Updates, and if the Bitwarden app updates are available, download/install the updates.
    Check for Updates on the Bitwarden Desktop App
  3. Once the Bitwarden desktop app is updated, launch a browser where the Bitwarden extension is showing the decrypt error (like Chrome) and check if it is clear of the error under discussion.

2. Lock and Unlock the Vault in the Bitwarden Extension

A temporary glitch in the Bitwarden extension modules could lead to the decrypt error under discussion and locking/unlocking the Vault in the Bitwarden extension may resolve the issue. For better interpretation, we will go through the process of locking/unlocking the Vault on the Chrome extension of Bitwarden.

  1. Firstly, restart your system and upon restart, launch Chrome.
  2. Now open the Bitwarden extension and if it is already locked, enter your master password (if it is unlocked, follow steps 4 and onwards).
    Unlock the Bitwarden Extension by Entering the Master Password
  3. Then click on Unlock and afterward, check if the Bitwarden error is cleared.
  4. If the Bitwarden Vault was unlocked at step 2, open the Settings of the Bitwarden extension and click on Lock Now (you may scroll a bit to find the option).
    Open the Settings of the Bitwarden Extension
  5. Now relaunch your browser and upon relaunch, click on the Bitwarden extension.
    Click on Lock Now in the Settings of the Bitwarden Extension
  6. Then enter your master password and click on Unlock.
  7. Afterward, check if the Bitwarden is clear of the cannot decrypt error.

3. Disable the Auto Fill Feature of the Bitwarden Extension

The auto-fill feature of Bitwarden is still in its experimental phase and due to its experimental nature, it may not be compatible with all the auto-fill scenarios the extension may face, thus causing the decrypt error. In such a case, disabling the Auto Fill feature of the Bitwarden extension may clear the error. For illustration, we will go through the process of disabling the Auto Fill feature of the Chrome extension of Bitwarden.

  1. Launch the Chrome browser and click on the Bitwarden extension.
  2. Now head to its Settings and scroll down till the end.
  3. Then, in the Other section, open Options and again, scroll down until the end.
    Open Options in the Other Section of the Bitwarden Extension
  4. Now, in the Auto Fill section, untick the checkbox of Enable Auto-Fill on Page Load and then relaunch the browser to check if the Bitwarden extension is operating fine.
    Untick Enable Auto-Fill on Page Load in the Bitwarden Extension Settings

4. Manually Sync the Bitwarden Vault

If the Bitwarden vault is failing to automatically sync (due to a glitch) to its servers, then that could result in the Bitwarden error under discussion. In this context, manually syncing the Bitwarden vault may clear the issue.

  1. Launch the Bitwarden extension in a browser and open its Settings.
    Open Sync in the Bitwarden Settings
  2. Now open Sync and click on Sync Vault Now.
    Click on Sync Vault Now in the Bitwarden Settings
  3. Once done, check if the Bitwarden is clear of the cannot decrypt error.

5. Set the Vault Timeout to Never

Vault Timeout of Bitwarden determines how long the extension may wait before considering itself inactive and locking itself, leading to the cannot decrypt error as the modules of the app are locked when they are required to be unlocked. Here, setting the Vault Timeout to Never may clear the Bitwarden error.

Set the Vault Timeout to Never for the Browser Extension

For elucidation, we will discuss the process of setting the Vault Timeout to Never for the Chrome version of the Bitwarden extension.

  1. Launch the Chrome browser and open the Bitwarden extension.
  2. Now head to its Settings and locate the Vault Timeout dropdown.
  3. Then, in the Security section, set the Vault Timeout dropdown to Never.
    Set the Vault Timeout to Never in the Bitwarden Extension Settings
  4. Now confirm to set the Vault Timeout to Never and then check if the Bitwarden is working fine without triggering the error cannot decrypt.
    Confirm to Set the Vault Timeout to Never in the Bitwarden Settings

Set the Vault Timeout to Never on a Mobile App

For illustration, we will do through the process of setting the Vault Timeout to Never for the Android version of the Bitwarden App.

  1. Launch the Bitwarden app and open its Settings.
    Open the Vault Timeout in the Bitwarden App Settings
     
  2. Now, in the Security section, tap on Vault Timeout and select Never.
    Set the Bitwarden App’s Vault Timeout to Never
     
  3. Then check if the Bitwarden app is clear of the decrypt error.

6. Disable and Enable the Bitwarden Browser Extension

A temporary glitch between the browser modules and the Bitwarden components may cause the “cannot decrypt” error. Here, disabling and enabling the Bitwarden browser extension may solve the problem as it will refresh all the modules. For illustration, we will go through the process of disabling/enabling the Bitwarden browser extension for the Chrome browser.

  1. Open the Chrome browser and expand the Extensions menu by clicking the Extensions icon.
  2. Now select Manage Extensions and locate the Bitwarden extension.
  3. Then disable the Bitwarden extension by toggling its status switch to off and afterward, relaunch the Chrome browser.
    Disable the Bitwarden Browser Extension
  4. Upon relaunch, enable the Bitwarden extension in Chrome’s Extensions menu, and then open the Bitwarden extension
  5. Now enter your master password and click Unlock.
  6. Afterward, check if the Bitwarden extension is clear of the error cannot decrypt.

7. Logout and Login to the Bitwarden Browser Extension/App

A temporary communication glitch between the Bitwarden browser extension/app or Bitwarden servers could also result in the error message. Here, logging out and logging into the Bitwarden browser extension or app may resolve the issue.

Logout/Login on the Bitwarden Browser Extension

  1. Launch the browser (like Chrome) and click on the Bitwarden extension.
  2. Now open its Settings and scroll down to the Account section.
  3. Then click on Logout and afterward, confirm to log out of the Bitwarden extension.
    Logout of the Bitwarden Chrome Extension
  4. Once done, relaunch the browser, and upon relaunch, head to the Bitwarden website.
    Confirm to Logout of the Bitwarden Chrome Extension
  5. Now click on Log In and use your credentials to log into the Bitwarden website.
  6. Then open the Bitwarden extension and click on Login.
    Log into the Bitwarden Website
  7. Now use your credentials to log in and check if the Bitwarden error cannot decrypt is cleared.

Logout/Login on the Bitwarden Mobile App

For illustration, we will go through the process of logging out/into the Android version of the Bitwarden app.

  1. Launch the Bitwarden mobile app and head to its Settings.
  2. Now scroll down and tap on Logout (in the Account section).
    Logout of the Bitwarden Mobile App
  3. Then confirm to log out of the Bitwarden app and once done, close the Bitwarden app.
    Confirm to Logout of the Bitwarden Mobile App
  4. Now remove the Bitwarden app from the Recent Apps menu of your phone and then launch the Bitwarden app.
  5. Then log in using your Bitwarden credentials and afterward, check if it is clear of the decrypt error.

8. Reinstall the Bitwarden Browser Extension

A Bitwarden browser extension may show the decryption error if its installation has gone corrupt and due to this corruption, the extension is failing to execute its essential components. In this scenario, reinstalling the Bitwarden browser extension may resolve the issue.

For illustration, we will discuss the process of reinstalling the Chrome version of the Bitwarden browser extension. Before proceeding, note down/back up any essential info/data (like login credentials to the Bitwarden, etc.).

  1. Firstly, log out of the Bitwarden extension (discussed earlier) and then close it along with the Chrome browser.
  2. Then launch the Chrome browser and expand its Extension menu.
  3. Now open Manage Extensions and find the Bitwarden extension (you can search for it if you have a large number of extensions installed).
  4. Then, for the Bitwarden extension, click on Remove, and afterward, confirm to uninstall the Bitwarden extension.
    Remove the Bitwarden Extension of the Chrome Browser
  5. Once done, close the Chrome browser and restart your system.
  6. Upon restart, launch the Chrome browser and install the Bitwarden extension from the Chrome web store.
  7. Now launch the extension and log in using your Bitwarden credentials to check if its cannot decrypt issue is resolved.

9. Reinstall the Bitwarden Mobile App

If you are encountering the Bitwarden error on a mobile app, then the corrupt installation of the Bitwarden mobile app could be the root cause of the issue. For example, if an update to the Bitwarden app failed to apply properly and corrupted the app installation. Here, reinstalling the Bitwarden mobile app may resolve the issue. For elucidation, we will discuss the process of uninstalling the Android version of the Bitwarden app.

  1. Open the Settings of your Android phone and head to its Apps or Application Manager.
    Open Apps in the Android Phone Settings
  2. Now find Bitwarden and tap on it to open it.
    Open Bitwarden in the Android Phone Settings
  3. Then tap on Uninstall and afterward, confirm to uninstall the Bitwarden app.
    Uninstall the Bitwarden Android App
  4. Once done, restart your phone and upon restart, reinstall the Bitwarden app.
  5. Now log in using your Bitwarden credentials and hopefully, the Bitwarden error cannot decrypt would be cleared.

If that did not work, then you may try the browser extension on another browser i.e., if you are encountering the issue on the Chrome extension, then you may try the Firefox or Edge extension, till the issue is reported to be resolved on the Chrome extension. In case, the error continues to occur on a mobile app of Bitwarden, then you may use the web version of Bitwarden, till the issue is reported to be resolved on the mobile app. 

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

How to Fix “Error: cannot decrypt” in Bitwarden?

If the issue is with your Computer or a Laptop you should try using Restoro which can scan the repositories and replace corrupt and missing files. This works in most cases, where the issue is originated due to a system corruption. You can download Restoro by clicking the Download button below.

Download Now

I'm not interested