1Password…think of it like iCloud Keychain Pro Plus

HOT NEWS!! If you don’t have 1Password for Mac and 1Password for iOS yet, don’t miss out on the 50% off Sale currently on. Only once or twice a year have I seen their products go on sale and especially now as the landmark 4.0 Mac version is about to land (free upgrade if you’ve purchased any time in 2013).

I agree with the developers recent remarks that it’s fantastic Apple is finally acknowledging how important it is to have all your passwords secure and in sync across all of your devices. So happy I have been enjoying this peace of mind and security for several years now with 1Password!

Apple’s method of Wait, Watch & Assimilate

As with the long overdue iOS7, Apple’s software development strategy is quite clear and long established. I chuckle when I see people on the interwebs surprised when Apple takes the oft travelled wait and see approach.

“We’re not concerned with being the first, or selling the most, but providing the best products and user experience” – I’m paraphrasing Tim Cook’s keynote speech heavily here but the message is intact.

Sure, almost every major piece of the new feature set in iOS7 has already existed elsewhere, but never wholly together in the slick unified user experience that only Apple appears to be able to pull off…over and over. And so is their stance with 3rd party developer’s solutions, especially in the form of system enhancements.

It’s a gamble those that embark down this path take. Either you’ll be absorbed and hopefully paid handsomely, or blind-sided when suddenly Apple jumps up with your exact same functionality now fully integrated into their software — as if they just invented it!

With these 3rd party apps, it’s certainly more hit and miss and Apple’s approach varied. The outcomes usually range from:

  • Developers are politely told they should just cease development such as Panic’s highly popular Audion around the time iTunes came out. I still fire it up every once in a while on an older machine to marvel in it’s now retro interface on top of cutting edge features (for it’s time) that iTunes never adopted.
  • Apple tries to absorb them and is denied, as in Dropbox.
  • Apple is successful in buying them out and heavily incorporating their IP into the OS as in Coverflow or Siri.
  • Or they buy them out and seemingly sit on them for awhile, likely incorporating some IP at a later stage, as in parts of Lala showing up in iTunes Radio almost 3 years later.
  • Lastly, the 3rd party alternative lives on to varying degrees of success.

There’s a few I may be kicking to the curb with the new OSes (a round-up likely forthcoming), all of which continue to serve me well but an equivalent native solution is always going to be potentially more stable and better-integrated. First to go will be TotalFinder/XtraFinder, TotalSpaces, Tags, Instashare would be next (after we upgrade beyond AirDrop incompatible iPhone 4Ss). And sure, let’s not forget to take a final bow to Mountain Tweaks, as thank goodness Apple apparently ‘also ran out of’ Corinthian leather!

1Password Makes the Cut!

I quickly discerned however that my beloved suite of 1Password apps will make the cut. I’ve accumulated a couple single licenses over the years and recently unified our family usage to one iOS account when iOS version 4 came out. I couldn’t resist jumping on this stellar 50% off offer to again consolidate into 1 MAS (Mac App Store) purchase, which will include a free upgrade to Mac version 4 as soon as it comes out.

So how does this differ from iCloud Keychain?

If you’ve been following the announcements out of WWDC this week, one of the new features forthcoming in Apple’s iOS7 and Apple OSX Mavericks will be finally syncing your Apple Keychain across both platforms. Sure, Mobile Safari will prompt you already to save your password on a site for next time, but this is separate from all the passwords you may have collected on your Mac over the years with no way to even export them over. That’s all about to change and I couldn’t be happier. They also mentioned in the Keynote address that it will also store credit card details for auto-fill and assist in generating new secure passwords for you as well. I imagine there will be some separate app to search/manage all this but there’s no confirmation as yet.

The better news is that you can already achieve most of this convenience and MORE today, as I have been for the past couple of years with 1Password.

Let me highlight a few reasons HOW this is so much more than an Apple password storage/sync and WHY I’ll be sticking strongly with 1Password for this functionality, except for the occasional use in Mobile Safari.

NOTE: you can easily send a link over to 1Password by just adding op to the beginning of any link.

  • you can have them readily available across Safari/Chrome/Firefox on your mac/windows computers (I regularly have several browsers open as a web designer)
  • beyond passwords I store all my family’s documentation info & scans – passports, birth certificates, credit cards, membership cards, etc. – Yes! I trust it that implicitly. Just read their blog and what the user/tech pundit community says at large about their company as well as the encryption methods used.
  • I also track all our Software/Hardware Serial/Warranty/Contact info
    • [NOTE to DEVs: I use tags to differentiate Hardware here, but I wish there was a dedicated category with custom fields]
  • Then there’s Secure Notes for a simple bucket of any textual info you want to keep secure and synced.

Overall I can’t describe enough how many countless times this app eco-system has:

  • saved my bacon logging in to sites, (even on a never-used computer but having my iPhone handy to look up).
  • quickly assisted me answering some security questions over the phone.
  • gradually improved my password security tenfold by generating random passwords that a human couldn’t possibly remember but I can feel confident they’re available to me anywhere and can usually auto log-in for me.
  • became indispensable that one time I lost my wallet!

Such an exemplary piece of software engineering for what computers are supposed to fulfil – simplifying and aiding our every day practices and workflows.
Sure, building knowledge & the sheer entertainment value is great too! 😀

Jason Shanks

Jason is a Musician, UX Designer/Web Developer, Apple Consultant, Mac Genius in a past life and all around Apple Freak for 25+ years now. His first reaction to himself when conceiving of starting FWAP was, "ON,NAAB!" Which was later revealed to mean Oh No, Not Another Apple Blog!

Jason Shanks
Jason is a Musician, UX Designer/Web Developer, Apple Consultant, Mac Genius in a past life and all around Apple Freak for 25+ years now. His first reaction to himself when conceiving of starting FWAP was, "ON,NAAB!" Which was later revealed to mean Oh No, Not Another Apple Blog!

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