AgileBits last week released version 6.0 of its famed password manager 1Password for Mac (followed shortly by version 6.0.1, which rolled in a couple of small but important bug fixes). The update, which is free to owners of 1Password versions 4 and 5 (upgrade prices for version 3 and older vary), adds a number of useful features, including support for the new 1Password for Teams service.
1Password, which has been around since 2006, is an app that aims to alleviate password hassle by generating, remembering, and filling in passwords and their associated usernames, as well as syncing that information across all your devices. It also stores credit card information, serial numbers, secure notes, and virtually any other type of data you want to keep safe. I’ve used the app almost since day one, and I’ve long been impressed by its capabilities, as well as the frequent updates that have made it increasingly useful over the years. 1Password 6 continues that trend.
It also gains full documentation in the form of a completely revised second edition of my book “Take Control of 1Password,” which covers the latest versions of 1Password on all supported platforms (OS X, iOS, Windows, and Android) for those who want to access their passwords securely no matter what device they’re using.
New in 1Password 6 for Mac — Here are the most significant new features:
- 1Password for Teams Support: Currently in public beta testing, 1Password for Teams is a new service for businesses, families, and other groups that need to give multiple people access to certain sets of passwords. After you set up a Teams account, you can invite as many people as you like to join your team. Each member gets a private, individual vault, plus access to any number of shared team vaults. As a team administrator, you have detailed control over vault access — for example, you can determine which team members may read, alter, or delete items in any vault, suspend or delete team members, arrange members into groups, and so on.
Team vaults sync automatically and, of course, securely via AgileBits’ own servers, which means they don’t rely on iCloud, Dropbox, or other third-party services. You can still, however, use those services to sync personal, non-Teams vaults. 1Password 6 (and the latest versions on other platforms) lets you use Teams vaults just as you use conventional vaults. Currently, all Teams administration occurs in a Web browser; AgileBits hopes to build the controls into future versions of the 1Password app as well.
1Password for Teams is free to use during the beta testing process. AgileBits hasn’t announced final pricing, but expects the cost to be $4.99 per user per month for businesses (with a lower-priced option available for families). That price, by the way, will include the 1Password apps themselves for all team members on all platforms, so if a team member doesn’t already own a paid copy of 1Password, that won’t cost extra.
- All Vaults View: Even before the advent of Teams, 1Password let you create multiple vaults to store different sets of passwords, but you could view only one vault at a time. Now, a new All Vaults view gives you a single list of all your items, regardless of whether they’re in a personal, shared, or Teams vault. In other words, it’s much like the unified inbox in Apple Mail, which shows your incoming messages for all email accounts in one place. All Vaults view works both in the main 1Password app and in the 1Password mini helper app. And it’s customizable, so you can decide which vaults’ contents appear in the All Vaults view.
Improved Password Generator: 1Password 6 for Mac gains a feature already present in the iOS and Windows versions — an option to create Diceware-style passwords, which consist of multiple randomly selected words separated by a hyphen, space, or other character. This type of password, which is much easier to remember and type than a random string of characters, is useful in situations where 1Password can’t automatically fill in passwords, such as your Mac’s login password or passwords you must enter on your smart TV.
1Password’s implementation of this feature is both easier to use than Diceware (which ordinarily requires many rolls of physical dice and looking up words on a list) and uses a much longer word list, which increases its security considerably. You now click the Words button in 1Password’s password generator to create word-based passwords; to create conventional passwords consisting of random characters, click Characters.
Expanded iCloud Sync: Along with Dropbox and local Wi-Fi sync, 1Password has long offered the option to sync passwords among Apple devices using iCloud. Previously, this option was available only to those who had purchased 1Password from the Mac App Store. Now, thanks to recent changes from Apple, even the version of 1Password purchased directly from AgileBits can take advantage of iCloud syncing.
1Password 6 for Mac is a 48.1 MB download. Pricing for new customers remains unchanged; it’s $49.99 whether you purchase it from the AgileBits Store or from the Mac App Store, although TidBITS members can save 25 percent by purchasing through the AgileBits Store. Licensing details differ slightly between the two venues. If you purchase directly from AgileBits, you can share a single license with up to six people in a single household (and each person can use it on more than one Mac). If you purchase it from the Mac App Store, you can use it on all your Macs that have signed in with the same Apple ID; you can also share it with a total of six family members, but only if you use iCloud Family Sharing — see my explanation in “Digital Sharing for Apple Users: A Take Control Crash Course”.
1Password is also available for iOS, Windows, and Android. In addition, a completely rewritten “Windows Modern” version of 1Password, which runs only on Windows 10, is in public beta testing. Each platform is licensed separately. The Windows version costs $49.99, just like the Mac version, but you can buy a combination Mac and Windows license for $69.99 (again, less 25 percent for TidBITS members). The iOS and Android versions of 1Password are free, with optional $9.99 in-app purchases of Pro features (including custom fields, folders and tags, additional categories, and — for iOS only — Apple Watch support).
While 1Password hasn’t quite reached feature parity on all four platforms yet, the versions have moved much closer together in both features and interface in recent months, so users familiar with 1Password on one platform should have little difficulty adapting to the others.
Take Control of 1Password, Second Edition — Back in September 2013, we released the first edition of “Take Control of 1Password,” a book I wrote to help new 1Password users find their way and get up to speed quickly, while showing experienced users how to get the most out of 1Password’s more advanced features. Prior to last week, the book’s most recent update was in April 2014. Despite the title’s popularity (the first edition sold over 5,500 copies!), it had been growing increasingly out of sync with the currently shipping versions of 1Password, and for one reason or another, scheduling difficulties came up every time we discussed a new edition. I’m delighted to say the planets have finally aligned, and “Take Control of 1Password, Second Edition” is now available and is totally up to date with 1Password on all four of its platforms.
As new editions go, this one was a doozy. The book, which has grown to 174 pages, covers not only the recent changes in 1Password for Mac, but also the huge list of changes that took place over the previous two years — plus significant new features in the Windows and iOS versions and a complete overhaul of the Android version. It also adds an entirely new chapter on 1Password for Teams.
Regardless of which platform(s) you use, your chosen sync method(s), and your level of expertise, you’ll find loads of useful details, tips, and general guidance in this book. If you downloaded 1Password at one point but never got past the “dabbling” phase, the book will help you unlock its full potential. And even if you’ve been using 1Password for a while, you will likely discover capabilities you haven’t been putting to their full use. (For example, while writing the new edition, I started using 1Password’s time-based one-time password capability, which enables it to replace apps like Google Authenticator and Authy for generating secondary passwords that change every 30 seconds, a requirement of many sites that use two-step verification. Already that feature has saved me oodles of time and effort.)
The book’s cover price is $15, but we gave a free copy to everyone who purchased from us since 1Password 5 came out in October 2015 (look in your Take Control Library), and anyone who bought a copy of the first edition before that can upgrade to the new edition for half price, or $7.50. For details, click Ebook Extras on the cover of your existing copy.