It’s no secret that online security is becoming increasingly more and more important. Obviously, internet security is a very broad topic – and there are many layers to adequately protecting your online health. That being said, it all arguably begins with passwords, both password selection and subsequently – password management.
Passwords, pins, and combinations are everywhere, and these days it seems that every website wants you to have a password that pleases their algorithms, which tend to vary site to site. These criteria generally involve a capital letter, a number, a special character and an x amount of letters.
When you finally figure out a cipher that you can commit to memory, the same website will ask you to change your password within a year – just to keep your accounts secure, and your head aching. While this wouldn’t be a huge deal a decade ago, when the only password you needed to remember was to access your email, in this day and age you’re expected to remember logins for dozens of various sites – from social media to online banking. Frankly, this is the single largest, first world problem in our modern digital existence.
1Password, however, sets out to tackle this problem head on – solving the issue of what is internally referred to as PML (Password Memory Loss) once and for all. In fact, 1Password doesn’t only help replace that little black book full of login information, it also helps you create some of the most secure passwords.
AgileBits doesn’t discriminate, and the 1Password solution is available for internet users from all walks of life. PC, Android, Mac, and iOS are all supported – there is even an Apple Watch companion, for those users that are incredibly keen on keeping their passwords on their person at all times. That being said, this review is based entirely on the Mac and iOS iterations of this beautiful piece of software.
While it’s been established that mobile versions of 1Password do exist, let’s first take a look at what the desktop solution has to offer – on the Mac. This powerhouse of an app has many features, however, for brevity's sake we will touch only on those vital to the average user experience. Starting, of course, with its main function – password generation and storage.
In essence, 1Password is capable of generating strong and unique passwords that you don’t have to remember. Your credentials are stored securely and are backed up with your master password – meaning that even if your device is lost or stolen, the integrity of your passwords remains intact. To add to that, 1Password doesn’t (at least by default) store anything in the cloud. You do, however, have the option of syncing your data across your devices via iCloud or Dropbox. For extra security, you can instead opt for the Wi-Fi Sync, which will keep your data on the same network while keeping your passwords up to date across all of your (local) devices.
If you have never used a password manager before, you might have some concerns regarding the way your sensitive data is stored. Well, you shouldn’t worry – according to the company website, 1Password uses state of the art encryption. Sparing you the techie-talk and the gruesome details, all you need to know is that 1Password encrypts your data in such a way that it’s impossible (even for AgileBits) to get into your ‘vault’ without the master password.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the password generator itself.
With 1Password, you have the option of choosing the length of your password and whether or not you want it to contain any digits or special characters. And best of all, you can choose to make your passwords pronounceable – should you ever need to type it out (you won’t). After selecting the password ingredients that you want, 1Password will generate and store your new credentials. So, how do you actually use it? Well, you could launch the 1Password app, find the login you want, and launch the relevant website directly from the app – opening and filling out the web from.
While that will definitely do the trick, there is a better way to implement 1Password into your online life by using the browser extension. It’s completely free and is currently available for every major browser. AgileBits advertises the browser extension as the ‘best ever 1Password sidekick,” and we can’t disagree.
After installing, the extension will live peacefully next to the address bar, waiting to cover all of your password needs. In fact, most users can get away with only using the extension – never having to open the 1Password app itself, not even to add your old passwords. To clarify, you will have the option of saving your credentials to 1Password every time you login with your already existing password – pretty neat!
The rest of 1Password functionality is also here – looking up, generating and storing passwords is incredibly easy and intuitive. Besides password management, the extension can also handle your credit card information, should you allow it of course.
Ok, so the app works magic but is it worth its $50 price tag? The short answer is: yes, absolutely. $50 is a small price to pay to finally have the freedom of wiping your brain clean of logins and complicated passwords. The convenience alone, not to mention functionality, is enough to justify the cost.
If you’re interested in installing 1Password on both Mac and Windows, you can save serious cash by purchasing one of the bundles.
Together, 1Password for Mac and Windows will run you $69.99, or $99.98 if you purchase the two separately. It’s a no brainer, really.
The browser extension mentioned earlier is entirely free and available for download here. The iOS and Android applications are also both free – you can easily find them on the App Store and the Google Play store respectively. Keep in mind, you will need to purchase the stand alone app first to enjoy the browser and the full mobile experience.
In conclusion, 1Password is a quality cross-platform password keeping solution with unmatched functionality. It comes as no surprise that 1Password is endorsed by so many users.
If you’re still not convinced that 1Password is for you, we strongly recommend that you give it a shot. AgileBits is so confident in their product, that they offer each user a 30-day period during which you can test fly 1Password with its full functionality. If after a month you still haven’t fallen in love with it, you can uninstall it and switch back to your little black book.
Still looking at ways to stay secure? Check out our review of the Best iOS VPNs