Error: “One or more master keys need a password”

Operating system


Joplin version


Desktop version info

Joplin 2.13.11 (prod, win32)
Client ID: 8440dca88c2d4bf5aca18b1b736e7605
Sync Version: 3
Profile Version: 44
Keychain Supported: Yes
Revision: 6670f9a
Text Colorize: 1.2.3

Sync target



Rich Text Editor

What issue do you have?

I'm getting the dreaded yellow banner with the error, “One or more master keys need a password.” I sync via Dropbox among several devices. My master password is saved in a password manager, but Joplin says its invalid when I try to enter it. See screenshot.

I've read other posts on this topic and there does not seem to be a consistent solution. Suggestions?

For the record, Joplin also required me to reset the password to access this forum. Not sure if that's related, but Joplin sure seems to be having a problem with passwords today!

Many thanks and a verry merry!


You may not like to hear this, but the most likely cause of what you see is :
the master password kept in your password manager IS NOT the correct password which you (some time before I assume) created within the Joplin encryption settings dialog.

I appreciate your response. However, even if that's the case, which I'm confident it's not, it doesn't explain the error message is appearing now when Joplin has sync'd my data perfectly across 4 devices for over a year. And on another device (Android phone), I now see a message that says "Press to set decryption password." Something changed in Joplin.

In addition, some of my note are decrypting without a problem. Only a subset of notes are showing up as "Encrypted." So Joplin is decrypting some notes without a problem but demanding an encryption password (that must be different from the one that is decrypting some notes and that apparently I don't have) for the others. Any solution? What happens if I "disable encryption?" Obviously, I'm looking for a fix that doesn't cause me to lose my data. Thanks for your help.

Joplin supports multiple master keys.

One possibility is that one Joplin client has its own primary master key with a different password from the main Joplin client.

Notes encrypted by that client would use its master key, rather than the master key from the main Joplin client.

Thank you for that info. As you can see from the screenshot, I have 3 encryption keys that are set with a Master Password but only one is showing as Valid. Only one of the keys is showing as Active and its master password is Invalid. I have no idea why Joplin has landed in this position as I set a single master password when I first began using this software and haven't touched it since. How do additi

onal master keys get set without my intervention?

Any thoughts on how to remedy my problems is appreciated.

The only option in this case is to do as the message says: click on "Manage master password" and enter the correct password. If you lost that password it should give you an option to reset it

Thank you. Can you have a master password separate from the encryption passwords?

I just discovered that these issues were caused when my spouse set up her own Joplin database inside the same Dropbox as my database. Joplin is now downloading both sets of notebooks. We're trying to keep the notebooks separate so that I don't have access to hers and vice versa. But I'm having a hard time figuring out how to do that. Any help is appreciated.

You can't share the same Dropbox account for that. In other words, you need to sync using two different, separate Dropbox accounts.

Thank you. How can I move one set of Notebooks to a different Dropbox account? Is is simple as moving the Joplin files from one Dropbox account to the other?

I assume your spouse uses a different device on which she stores her Joplin notes. Then she just needs to change the sync target by setting up a new dropbox account and initially sync from her device to that new destination like she did it with your dropbox storage before.
To eliminate the “unwanted” notes from your accounts I see 2 options for both of you:

  1. take a step back and reload a backup of your individual notes from before they were mixed/merged OR
  2. delete the unwanted notes from your database manually

Thank you for that suggestion. This is going to be challenging. Al instances of joplin are not featuring my wife's databases and mine have all disappeared. I don't think I have a backup since I was relying on Dropbox to keep the Joplin files remotely. (Lesson learned.) And I'm woried about deleting unwanted notes because they will then delete from my wife's setup since everything is syncing now. Just a mess.

If anyone has other suggestions, I'd be grateful.

If you have Dropbox Plus, you might be able to use their Rewind feature on the Apps/Joplin folder:

(If you don't have Dropbox Plus, it's unclear whether this feature will allow you to rewind to before it was purchased.)

Here are my suggestions:

  1. Download the current state of the Dropbox sync target from, so this, at least, can be restored if something further goes wrong:

  2. Have your wife make a backup, either with the Simple Backup plugin or with File > Export All > JEX.

  3. If you have a mobile device that still has notes (hasn't synced yet), turn off its internet and go to "Configuration", then "Export", then click "Export all notes as JEX".

    • This export may be incomplete, depending on whether the mobile device has all notes/resources.

If none of the above helps, there are things that can be done to make sure that the notes in the "Conflicts" folder aren't lost.

Sorry, I think I was inaccurate. What I mean is:

  1. First of all cut your wifes device from the sync with your dropbox. Her notes are on her device, so no need to worry about them and she will be save whatever you do with your dropbox.
  2. Then she can "clean" hear notes from yours, if needed. As the device is not connected to your dropbox anymore, it will not harm your data (whatever it is available at dropbox).
  3. She can start to initiate a new sync target at whatever service she likes to use. Maybe dropbox again.

So whatever you do afterwards to find your notes, she and her notes are safe.

Just an idea: If you have any device with your notes, that has not synched with dropbox since your wife tried to use dropbox - don't sync it now! Cut it off your network and use the data on that device to create a new database for yourself. My fingers are crossed!

[edit: nice to see that @personalizedrefriger has similar and even more good ideas ;-)]

Thank you. I'll work on this as time allows over the next few days.

Here's my update and a plea for more help. I successfully moved my wife's data to a different Dropbox account and her setup is perfect. However, I've been unable to get my data to repopulate in Joplin. I deleted all of my wife's notebooks but my notebooks will not sync or reappear.

In Dropbox, I have hundreds of .md files, many predating when this all began. How to I go about restoring them or picking which ones to use? I know my data is there; I just can't seem to figure out how to access it!

Thanks for your help, and happy new year to all!

I don‘t know and if you get no answer, perhaps start a new thread with a descriptive title for your present issue!

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