In the web 2.0 era the number of usernames and passwords has dramatically increased: this is not a secret. How can we remember tons of passwords today? By writing them down on paper? That’s not a good solution.
You need a password manager.
You need 1Password.
1Password is, probably, one the most famous 3rd party apps available for Mac. And I believe it’s also one of the best apps available for Mac. Why? Because it works.
Ok, every app that I review actually works but 1Password is different: I really couldn’t imagine how to live without it. It stores my entire digital life.
But ok, let’s calm down and start from the beginning.
What is it?
1Password is a password manager. It’s the Keychain Access Apple never made. It saves all your logins and collects them in a safe folder inside of your Mac: every login has its detailed information, like username, password, paswword strenght, Creation Date and Last Modified. Moreover, 1Password can store Secure Notes, Accounts, Identities, Software Licenses and Wallet Items (credit cards). Obviously, to open the application you have to input a Master Password you’ll decide.
How does it work?
1Password can act in two different ways: manually, or via browser extension. The browser addon way is no doubt the easier way to get all you logins saved: you just have to open the app’s Preferences (CMD + ,), go to the Browsers tab and check “Enable Browser Extensions”. Done.
Now you can restart your favourite browser (1Password supports pretty much every Mac browser out there) and you’ll see a little key / 1P symbol right in the menubar or in your browser toolbar.
Clicking on the key will open a sub-menu with a bunch of options: Login with (if you have a saved login for the webpage you’re visiting), Credit Cards (to fill credit cards forms), Fill Identity (if you have to fill a brand new login) and Strong Password Generator (creates a very strong password). Besides, you can automatically login a website you know you saved in 1Password by simply pressing the CMD + \ shortcut. Useful.
On the other hand, every time you create a new login for a new website, 1Password will ask you if you wish to save it in its database.
The manual way requires to create a login directly into the application by fillin’ out the URL address, username, password etc..Who would want to when you can have it into the browser?
As I previously said, 1Password is packed with features. Among all of these features the one I like most is Identities: you can basically create as many “identities” as you wish, depending on how you would like to appear online.
For example, I have a “MacStories” identity (the professional one), a “Ticci” identity (the casual one) and so on. Every time I have to fill a new login for a new website I can choose to subscribe as MacStories or as Ticci. It’s very neat, considering that it stores everything: Country, Address, Birth Date, Phone Number,Company, Occupation.. A terrific time saver.
Other features include Account, Wallet and Secure Notes. I really like this last one, it’s very handy if you would like to keep some notes private. There’s also an iPhone syncing option, but I’ll talk about it in the 1Password for iPhone review.
This is where 1Password 3 really stands out from the crowd. The user interface of 3.0 version is stunning. AgileWeb Solutions has completely rewritten the application from scratch enabling support for 64-bit and powering it up with CoreAnimation. Just look at the screenshot below: and it’s just the Master Password window.
The eye candy doesn’t stops here: every login has its gorgeous thumbnail (the application will download them from the internet) together with a live preview in the login info panel.
But..it’s a Beta!
Please note that 1Password 3 is still in Beta, but you can install it following these instructions: (developers’ blog)
“If you want to join the 1Password 3 Early Access team, all you need to do is start 1Password 2 on your Snow Leopard installation. When you do, you will get this prompt:
Simply click Get 1Password 3 and you will be taken to the setup instructions.”
Moreover, version 2.0 works on SL, except for Safari extension. Read this article on the dev’s blog for further information.
I think you’ve understood how much I’m into 1Password. It’s everything Apple’s Keychain Access should have been: browser extensions, Identities, Secure Notes, database backup, thumbnails..it’s an excellent piece of software. I just can’t imagine what else I could ask the developers to implement.
You can purchase a single user license of 1Password at $39,95 here.