1Password 4 for iPhone & iPad: Beautiful Security

| In-Depth Review

1Password has long been a must have app for secure password and sensitive information management on the Mac, but while the iPhone and iPad versions have been handy, they always felt limited compared their desktop counterpart. AgileBits addressed those limitations in 1Password 4 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and -- for the most part -- brings the iOS version inline with its big brother on the Mac.

1Password 4 on the iPad1Password 4 on the iPad

1Password is an app that stores your passwords, bank account information, email logins, and any other information you want to keep away from prying eyes by bundling everything up in an encrypted database. It can auto-fill logins on websites for you, and includes a built-in strong password generator so you don't have to try to come up with clever and hard to guess passwords on your own.

Brand New Look
The new version comes with a redesigned interface that can show all of your entries together so you don't have to remember which category an entry is in, and it supports folders for organizing items, just like the desktop version of 1Password. Both features are welcome additions because they make it much easier to organize your database and find items with fewer taps compared to earlier iOS versions of the app.

Users that prefer seeing entries broken out by category such as Logins, Software Licenses, and Credit Cards, AgileBits has you covered since the Categories view is still available. The app also includes a global search feature that hunts through all categories.

1Password 4's new Favorites category1Password 4's new Favorites category

Along with the ability to organize entries by categories and folders, 1Password 4 also includes a new Favorites category to hold the items you use most often so you don't have to spend time scrolling through lists. 1Password power users will appreciate Favorites because it makes big databases much easier to manage: only the logins you add to the list are there.

Working with individual entries is much easier now thanks to a simple swipe gesture. Just swipe from left to right across an entry to reveal Smart Copy, Favorite, Open in Browser, and Delete buttons. No need to tap on extra menus, and anything that cuts down on tap waste is a big plus in my book.

Entries now support attachments, just like the desktop version of 1Password. Attachments I added to entries in 1Password on my Mac, like emails with app registration codes, synced perfectly to my iPhone and iPad and were accessible with a single tap from within individual entries.

1Password 4's password generator on the iPhone1Password 4's password generator on the iPhone

1Password 4's password generator works just as well as the desktop version, and includes a slider to control how complex your passwords are. You'll see the feature when you make a new login entry; Just look for the little combination lock dial next to the password field and tap it to create a new password.

Getting in Sync
Syncing has some new features, too, thanks to the addition of iCloud support. Dropbox support is still there, and works as reliably as it always has. iCloud syncing worked perfectly for me, too, although the Mac version of 1Password doesn't support the feature yet. That limits iCloud syncing to just iOS devices until AgileBits releases an update for the Mac and Windows versions.

AgileBits added another sync option to 1Password 4: iTunes File Sharing. File Sharing syncing worked fine for me, but it felt more useful as an extra backup system since Dropbox and iCloud syncing already work so well and don't require your Mac or PC, plus iTunes, in the mix.

Wi-Fi sync, a feature in 1Password 3, is now gone. That's not a big loss since Dropbox and iCloud syncing are far more transparent. If you're a fan of Wi-Fi syncing, however, it's time to learn to love 1Password 4's sync options instead.

Web Browsing, for Real
Along with the interface redesign, one of the biggest new features in 1Password 4 is the built-in Web browser. Instead of a simple site viewer, which was essentially what users had in 1Password 3, version 4 includes a full-on browser with support for multiple tabs. 1Password 4's browser works so well, in fact, that it can work as a replacement for Mobile Safari, and has the added bonus of supporting auto-fill -- a feature that Mobile Safari doesn't support because Apple doesn't allow third-party extensions in its own browser.

Much like 1Password for the Mac and Windows, the iOS version sports an auto-fill button in the browser's URL bar you can tap to show potential logins for the sites you visit. This is a feature I rely on daily on my Mac, and it's a wonderfully welcome addition on my iPhone and iPad. I often find myself going first to 1Password for Web browsing now instead of Mobile Safari simply because of the built-in login feature.

1Password 4's built-in Web browser1Password 4's built-in Web browser

You can even perform Web searches from the unified URL field. 1Password uses DuckDuckGo instead of Google or Bing as its search engine, which is a fine change from the big guys. You can't, however, set a different search engine as your default.

While 1Password's browser is great, it does have a couple limitations: it doesn't include a bookmark feature, and it doesn't create new database entries when you login to a website for the first time. I can live without built-in bookmarks, but not being able to generate new login entries from the browser just hurts, and happens to be my only disappointment with the app. It's a fundamental feature in 1Password on my Mac, and one I've been desperately hoping would come to iOS ever since 1Password 3 was released.

The wait for entry creation in the browser isn't, however, hopeless. The AgileBits crew told me they're looking at the feature, but havent committed to adding it yet. My fingers are crossed it'll come... yes, I live in hope.

But Wait, there's More
AgileBits also added a demo mode to 1Password that lets you show off the app's features without showing off your own passwords and bank account logins. For some, it may seem like a small addition, but for those of us that demo the app for user groups, friends and family, it's amazingly useful and a feature I didn't realize I was missing until it was there.

1Password 4 was snappy and reliable on my iPhone 5 and third generation iPad running iOS 6.0.1, and with Retina Display support looks just beautiful on both. It's easy to learn and navigate, and is now a Universal app, too, meaning the same app runs with a native interface on the iPhone and iPad.

1Password 3 users may balk at the fact that 1Password 4 is a new app so there aren't any free upgrades to be found here. I don't see that as a big issue because it costs money to write great apps, and any company that gives away everything for free isn't going to be in business for long.

That said, AgileBits is temporarily selling 1Password 4 for US$7.99 through the App Store instead of it's regular $17.99 price. Think of it as an upgrade price that everyone gets, including first time users, and since it's a Universal app you can buy one copy to install on all of your iOS devices.

The Bottom Line
1Password 4 is simply a must have app for every iPhone and iPad owner that's moved beyond keeping passwords on a Post-It note -- which should be you. Dropbox and iCloud sync support make keeping your passwords and other private data on all your devices drop dead simple, too.

Despite 1Password 4's hopefully temporary inability to create new entries for logins you from the built-n browser, it's still the single most useful password manager for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and easily worth far more than the price of admission.

Product: 1Password 4

Company: AgileBits

List Price: $7.99

Pros:

Excellent built-in Web growser, Dropbox and iCloud sync support, great organization and search features.

Cons:

Can't create entries for new logins from the browser.

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8 Comments Leave Your Own

stpend

Nice overview of the app.  I always wondered how it worked on iOS, given the Mac version has plugins for your browser that fill in your complex passwords automatically.  If you’re using safari rather than the built-in browser, is it a pain to get your passwords filled in?

webjprgm

I’m not very interested in having an alternative browser, but I noticed recently that my iPad is using the iPhone version of 1Password 3.7 (in 2x mode), so it might be worth buying the new one just for a universal app.

I find that I don’t log in to very many websites on an iPad or iPhone.  I do purchasing on a desktop.  So I only do general news reading and browsing on iOS devices.  But someone who tries to use an iPad as a laptop replacement will probably be very interested in the auto-fill browser.

Vince

“That’s not a big loss…”

Wrong. It is a huge loss. It is a deal-killing loss. Some of us don’t want our password data in the cloud. Anybody’s cloud. I want it on my machines, and my machines only.

The “giving everything free” comment is just specious. They aren’t giving the app away free, just the upgrades, along with everyone else on the App Store. And since their “low upgrade price!” is more than I paid for the 1Password Universal app I have now, they’re not only not giving existing customers a discount, they’re double-charging them. (Something they also did when they moved to the Mac App Store.) It’s fascinating to see the press not only gloss over this, but flat out provide false information.

Laurie

This has always been my favorite, and most used, app since it came out.  I certainly don’t begrudge the $7.99 price and I look forward to version 4 on the desktop.

ctopher

@Vince FWIW you can manually sync using backups. You can sync up a backup on your iOS device from your desktop with only your local network involved. Easy Peasy.

Also, I thought the article was very clear about the iOS update issue. AgileBits is also very clear when it comes to the MacApp Store. Frankly, I don’t see the advantage to buying the desktop version on the MacApp store, the App itself checks for updates. The advantage is for new customers who might not know about the application.

No one is providing any false information that I can see.

Sonny

Manually Syncing via iTunes is not working for me. Don’t want to sync via the Cloud(s) so now my iMac and iPad and iPhone are no longer in sync. 1Password customer help has not responded. I feel I wasted $8 on some eye candy “improvements” while losing a huge feature in Wi-Fi Syncing. Recommend a pass for those who need to keep multiple
devices the same and don’t want to expose their data to third parties. Went for my best app to this.

MacMan

I used 1Password all the way up until I discovered LastPass.  Yubikey integration as well, sealed the deal.  LastPass will do everything you need 1Password for, as well as making it available as a browser extension (Safari, Chrome and FF) to speed up your use.  It even allows iPad Yubikey use via camera connection kit.  All of these pluses, and it can be used on all your iOS devices (minus Yubikey being iPad only) at no additional (read: punishing) per-platform cost.  LastPass = free or $12/annual for Yubikey and mobile use.  It bears mentioning that if you don’t know what Yubi is/does, google them. You’re in for a treat.

John

I have not upgraded since I use the current WiFi Sync feature in the older version of 1Password for IOS and I don’t want to lose it.

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