1Password 4 is a Stunning Update to Everyone’s Favourite Password Manager
From the Seinfeld episode, “The Betrayal”
Jerry Seinfeld: (Edit) George can never know about this. It’ll crush him.
Elaine Benes: All right, all right; I’ll put it in the vault.
In today’s world, you can never be too careful with your safety and security online. By now everyone has read Mat’s incident which basically shook everyone up. Everyday, people end up trusting other services with more and more of their information. There are also too many services that need you to setup an account with them. Remembering so many passwords is annoying & cumbersome. Having common elements to passwords makes things easier, but that is definitely not the smart thing to do. 1Password by AgileBits has been my go to password manager on my Mac and iOS since June. The app was always amazing to use and it made generating and using strong passwords a joy. Once I migrated to 1Password completely, everything has become simpler. The app was previously available on iOS as an iPhone only, iPad only app, and a universal “Pro” app that costed less than the other two put together. The app has lacked majorly in one aspect — its looks and feel. The app didn’t look good on iOS and it wasn’t even completely Retina ready on the iPad. Everything changed today with the release of 1Password 4 for iOS as a universal app.
Everything from the icon to the settings screen has been redone beautifully. I thought it would be difficult to migrate from 1Password 3 to this but AgileBits have done a bang up job here. 1Password 4 recognizes that the previous version is installed and lets you migrate data from the previous version or import it from the new app depending on which one you launch. The app also now comes with both iCloud and Dropbox sync. I have been using it with Dropbox sync and have not faced any issues at all. After you finish logging in with Dropbox to setup the app, you are prompted to enter your master password. I’m so happy they finally did this because earlier you ended up having to set a passcode for the iPhone app and it wasn’t a great experience having to remember more than 1Password in most cases to access data inside the app. After unlocking the app, you have to restrain yourself from licking your screen because your passwords and personal data have never looked this good. The main view has 4 tabs at the bottom in the tab bar for your favourites, categories, folders and settings. Each tab bar icon looks absolutely gorgeous. There’s a globe on the bottom right that slides in the in-app browser. More on that later. You can add items you access frequently into your favourites making everything easier. Each item also has its own rich icon that can be downloaded that looks really nice. The categories section has the typical categories in 1Password and you should definitely tap the add button on the top right just to see the lovely icons they have for each category. The wireless router one is my favourite. 1Password 4 adds folders to let you organize your items.
The iPad UI has the tabs on the left and in portrait mode it has items organized like the Day Picker from Fantastical. You can swipe through all your items or scroll through them with a very nice alphabetical tab bar. From here you can add items to favourites, folders or share them via Mail. After using the non Retina previous version, 1Password 4 on the iPad is beyond amazing. The landscape UI is quite different with all the items organized like the Mail.app on the left alphabetically. It is really weird that you can only edit, add and organize folders in landscape mode on the iPad. The browser globe button on the iPad is on the top left in both orientations and it slides the in app browser just as it did on the phone. I did find the browser slide in animation laggy on the 3rd Generation iPad — not a major issue like the Path iPad app, but still annoying.
The in-app browser is a full fledged browser with tabbed browsing. It has a URL bar that works and the app on iOS moves a step closer to the Mac and PC versions of the app with form filling in the browser through your saved credentials that can be accessed by tapping the necessary buttons. The browser has a very metallic look to it with great subtle textures and the buttons for logins, credit cards and identities look spectacular. The iPhone tab view can be accessed by tapping the tabs button on the bottom right of the browser. The browser navigation buttons are to the left of the key symbol we all know and love that lets you choose what type of credential to fill log in with. The iPhone tab view was really laggy for me on my iPhone 4S while switching tabs, but Preshit didn’t have the same issue on his 5. The tab view has a brilliant diamond plate background that is also in the settings page. I could almost hear metallic sound effects while using the app thanks to its pixel perfect looks.
Adding a new item is very simple. You select the category from the set provided to you and are prompted to enter the necessary information for the item. You can also add notes to each item. 1Password 4 also has a Strong Password Generator that lets you create passwords and there is a “show password recipe” button that lets you customize the password just as you can on the Mac or PC app. Every item can be swiped across to reveal an action bar that lets you copy, favourite, open in browser or delete the item.
One of the biggest additions to the app is the new Demo Mode. If enabled in settings, demo mode lets you unlock the app by typing in “demo” as a master password. This will let you show the app to other people without revealing any of your vault contents. The app loads up a bunch of sample data for you when you enter demo mode. I absolutely love this and now believe every app that has personal information should come with a demo mode.
The settings screen has that great diamond plate pattern background. You can change your auto lock settings and also add a quick unlock code that will let you switch apps and unlock 1Password 4 with a 4 digit code instead of entering your master password again. Having your passwords copied on your clipboard isn’t safe. You can now choose when to clear your clipboard as well. Using the new Dropbox API and iCloud sync, you can now be completely pc free and use the iOS app without having to setup through a desktop app. There is also an option to use iTunes file sharing if you aren’t willing to put stuff into the cloud. There is a news section for updates from AgileBits that has a few tips. The advanced settings lets you toggle the rich icons, demo mode and erase your data if needed. I suggest syncing with Dropbox as that allows you to make use of the 1PasswordAnywhere feature.
1Password 4 is full of small things that you notice when you spend some time with it. The main lock screen text box goes slightly red if you enter the wrong password and the lock turns green when you enter it correctly. You can hold and drag the globe button and slide the browser in or out making the main view move to the back. When you unlock the app, it starts syncing and the settings gears are animated while the sync is going on.
Overall 1Password 4 is a big update to the existing app. It is also a new app that has to be purchased separately if you were an existing user. AgileBits provided support to the previous app from version 1 till the last version. While the previous app is still functional, it will not be receiving any updates and has been pulled from the store. 1Password 4 feels much better and looks infinitely better than the previous version. The icon is finally homescreen worthy. It is my goto password manager and from the looks of it I think we will have a nice extension in the in app browser that lets you generate passwords and saves them into the app for new logins. I hope that happens soon. The app is universal and available on the App Store at over 50% off for a limited time at $7.99. Go ahead and buy it and put everything you treasure into the vault like Elaine says.