I’ve always been pretty confident that the passwords that I use to log in online were pretty secure. Until recently. Lately it seems like companies and websites are being hacked more and more frequently. With this apparent increase in malicious attacks, the system I’ve always used to secure myself online began to seem pretty flimsy to me. I realized that, though I used different passwords for many different websites, several of my most important sites used the same password. It occurred to me that if someone was able to hack one of these services, my email account for example, they’d be able to easily gain access to others, for instance my bank account.
I’d heard great things about 1Password but, until a few days ago, had never made the leap to actually using it. Having a third party service to assign and manage my passwords online – ones I likely wouldn’t even know by memory – seemed more trouble than it was worth to me. However, as I looked at the state of my security (or lack thereof) online and researched what 1Password had to offer, especially new features brought to the table by iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite, it quickly became apparent to me that this was the solution to my online security problem.
Let’s walk through my experience setting up and using 1Password over the last few days and I’ll outline some of the new features that make this password manager a better choice than ever before.
Set Up – Setting up 1Password was very easy, but a little time consuming. After installing the app on both my iPhone 6 Plus and my iMac, I sat down in front of my Mac and began setting up my Vault. The first thing you’re asked to do during setup is to establish a Master Password. This is the password you’ll use to unlock the vault and access all the logins and other information stored therein. 1Password is helpful in that it shows you the strength of your password as you type. I actually revised the password I’d chosen based on 1Password’s recommendation and went with something a little more complex – this is the master key after all.
After choosing a master password, the process really begins. For the purposes of this article, I spent time going through each of my favorites in Safari and resetting their logins – generating new passwords ones with 1Password. I’ll tell you how to do this below. Before that, though, I will say that the best way to approach this process for most people would be to gradually change passwords over time – as the sites are accessed in their everyday lives. This would make the process feel a lot less daunting. As Doug mentioned in his initial overview of the app, you’ll likely be surprised when setting up 1Password just how many online logins you have.
Using 1Password – Now let’s take a look at what using 1Password to manage your passwords is like. We’ll start by taking a look at how to set up a new login using 1Password. Then we’ll see how to reset your current passwords and make them much more secure with ones generated by 1Password. Finally, we’ll look at how simple 1Password makes it to log in. Along the way, I’ll point out some of the new features that make the new 1Password apps for Yosemite and iOS 8 even better.
Setting Up a New Login – Creating a new login using 1Password on your Mac or iOS device is easy. The Mac 1Password app lives in three places – as a standalone app, in your menu bar, and in Safari via an extension menu. The simplest place to generate a new password is from the Safari extension menu – simply visit the website you’re creating a login for, type in the username you want, click the 1Password extension button, hover over Password Generator, and click Fill. There are a few configurable options when generating passwords. For example, I’ve chosen to make my passwords 20 characters in length and to include a good balance of normal and special characters, just to make them even more secure.
Next, 1Password will fill in the Password field with the generated password and you’ll be able to sign in. iCloud Keychain and 1Password work together like best friends here – with iCloud Keychain asking if you’d like to save the password so that it will be available on all your devices and 1Password simultaneously saving the login in your Vault.
On iOS, the process is very similar with a bit more multitasking involved. After accessing the website whose login you wish to create a login for, open the 1Password app, tap the “+” button in the top right, choose the category Login, type the username you use to login to the site, copy the generated password, enter the Website URL, multitask back to the website, paste the password, and click OK. iCloud Keychain will ask to save the password and the new login will be saved in 1Password’s Vault.
Resetting your Passwords – Actually resetting a password using 1Password on your Mac or iOS device is similarly easy. All you need to do is visit the password reset page on the website of your choice and use 1Password to generate a new password just like above. iCloud Keychain will ask you if you want to update the password, as will 1Password. Say yes to both and you’ll be on your way with a shiny new (and very secure) password.
Logging In with 1Password – If you use iCloud Keychain, the process of logging into a website on your Mac or iOS device is already very simple since the service remembers your login information and stores it securely in the cloud, logging you into sites automatically. However, if you choose not to use iCloud Keychain or if you encounter a site that iCloud Keychain doesn’t recognize, it’s 1Password to the rescue.
On your Mac, logging in to a site that’s stored in 1Password is as easy as clicking the 1Password Extension button and then clicking the website’s name. That’s it. 1Password will load up your username and password and log you in.
On iOS, a new feature 1Password added for iOS 8 will come in very handy – the iOS version of the 1Password Extension. To sign in to a site that’s stored in 1Password, all you’ll need to do is visit the site in Safari, tap the share icon in the bottom navigation bar, tap the 1Password button, authenticate with your Master Password or Touch ID, and you’ll be logged in. No need to open the app or multitask back and forth – the 1Password Extension combined with Touch ID authentication really make logging in on iOS incredibly easy.
Price/Value – As mentioned on our initial post covering 1Password, written over a year ago, 1Password for iOS used to be fairly expensive – clocking in at $17.99. When Apple released iOS 8, though, Agilebits switched 1Password for iOS to a freemium model – offering the app free of charge. This an amazing value for such a great app, and is obviously intended to be a gateway for many people to try out 1Password who had been gun-shy about dropping $18 out of the gate. Free is a great price for the ton of features included in the free version of 1Password for iOS, and users have the option of paying a one-time charge of $9.99 to fully upgrade the app, unlocking pro features including additional storage categories, custom organization, multiple vaults, and other advanced items.
The Mac version of 1Password is still fairly expensive, and if you own a Mac computer you’ll need it to take full advantage of 1Password’s security and ease of use. The Mac version of 1Password is currently available on the App Store for its normal price of $50. Keep an eye out over the holiday season, though, as 1Password for Mac may go on sale!
Conclusion – With the inclusion of extensions in the iOS 8 version of 1Password, the ability to use Touch ID to unlock the app, and its new free price tag, becoming a 1Password user is more compelling than ever. As a recent convert, I can confidently encourage anyone who is concerned about their security online to make the switch as well! To get you on your way, here are some helpful links: