I’m not a big fan of applications that store passwords and information like that, and it’s for a very good reason: once you stop with the habit of remembering passwords yourself, you forget them, since you’re relying on an app to do it. Apart from that, there’s the security issue, since your passwords are being stored in a potentially insecure system.
That said, 1Password isn’t any password management software. Like its name doesn’t suggest, it can store almost any kind of information, not just passwords. This comes very handy in case you need to buy something online but don’t carry your credit card around. Plus, it boasts hardware accelerated AES encryption, so even if you lost your device, someone would have to go through a tough time to gain access to your passwords.
The first time you open 1Password, you’re asked to set an unlock code and a master password. The first one is a simple, four-digit passcode that’s asked every time you open the app, and it provides the first layer of security for your data.
The second password is a master password, and works as a second layer of security. This should be a fairly secure password, and you can use it to further secure your data. After setting both passwords, you’re ready to add some data to the app.
Adding A New Item
Adding data to 1Password is fairly simple. Simply tap Add at the bottom, and select what you’d like to add. Just as an example, let’s add a new login item. Tap on Login, and enter a service URL. For this example, let’s use Gmail. After entering a URL and a service name, you’ll be asked to enter your username and password.
Once that’s done, you’ll be able to see the entry for that login. You can add notes to it, and even secure it with the master password, which forces you to enter that password if you want to see that entry.
Tapping on the domain name will open a browser within the app and take you to the login form. It should be already filled in, using the credentials you entered.
There are many other things you can add to the app, including credit cards, which is pretty useful since you don’t have to carry your cards with you in case you need to purchase something online. You can also store application licenses and even simple text notes.
Generating Secure Passwords
One very cool feature of 1Password is the ability to generate new and random passwords. Since the app’s main function is to store credentials, you can generate a random password on the fly and save it instantly.
To generate a new password, tap on Add at the bottom, and choose Generate Password. From there, move the slider to generate a random password to the desired security level (the longer the better). You can also choose to use numbers and special characters for added security. Once that’s done, tap on Save at the top right, and you’ll be prompted to write what site the password is for, and a title.
1Password let’s you sync the data to the desktop version of the same app, in two different ways: directly with Wi-Fi and through Dropbox. Both methods are pretty easy to setup.
Apart from that, you can change very few settings. You can choose to conceal passwords, so that the app doesn’t show them by default (and to avoid prying eyes from seeing them). When passwords are concealed, you can tap them and you’ll get a prompt to copy it to the clipboard.
You can also backup the app’s data, which is especially useful if you don’t sync the app with the desktop version. To do that, simply tap on Database and tap on Backup & Restore. You’ll be given an address so you can connect from your computer (through your browser) and download a backup of your data. There’s also the option to reset the database, which will destroy all the information stored in the app. Remember to backup first!
The last option relates to security. Tap on Security and you’ll be given some options like changing the password and auto-lock times. You can set the auto-lock time to anything between 1 and 30 minutes, or even never, which isn’t recommended. Apart from that, you can also choose to lock the app when it’s inactive, meaning that quitting the app, switching to another app or locking the device would lock 1Password instantly. Changing auto-lock times for the master password affects entries that have that protection level enabled. So if you enable master password protection for one of your credit cards for instance, after the given time has passed, you’ll have to enter the master password again to reveal the information.
1Password changed my impression of these kinds of apps. It’s incredibly versatile and offers a plethora of options. Plus, the fact that it encrypts everything using AES technology makes it that much better, since the kind of information one stores in this app requires a great level of security. The best feature in my opinion was the password generator. The ability to generate secure passwords and save them instantly is great, since one rarely chooses different passwords for different services.
In terms of interface, there are some minor things that could be improved, like the master-password prompt, which is kind of ugly in my opinion. Apart from that, the app’s great. It’s very stable and works like a charm. At $9.99, it might seem expensive, but considering the encryption technology it uses, it’s a price worth paying.