October 3, 2013
It has been four long years since 1Password 4 for Mac last received a significant update. Thankfully, the wait has been worth it. Today’s launch of 1Password 4 for Mac is significant. It not only brings to the Mac many of the tools long available on iOS devices, but it also shows that AgileBits, the company behind 1Password, remains committed to providing the best cross-platform password managers on the market. I’ve been using a beta version of 1Password 4 for much of the past summer. The opportunity to do so was largely tied to a story I wrote soon after Apple announced its own password manager, iCloud Keychain, which is expected to launch on iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks later this fall. My concern at the time was that the pricey 1Password would be no match against Apple’s freebie service. I couldn’t have been more wrong. AgileBits' software was, and is, a full featured password manager. Apple's iCloud Keychain is extremely limited in what it can do by comparison. Apple’s product is set to offer a simple, and free, way for users to store account names, passwords, and credit card numbers. It will also help generate hard-to-guess passwords. The 1Password application does all of these things, and much more. [caption id="attachment_470749" align="aligncenter" width="923"] Generate password[/caption] For example, 1Password can also store secure notes, software licenses, and serve as a virtual wallet. It also includes the ability to attach important documents that may be accessed across multiple devices. Finally, 1Password also works on Windows PC, with versions for Android and Windows Phone set to arrive soon. As I first noted in July, AgileBits isn’t worried about iCloud Keychain. As the company’s David Chartier told me at the time, they welcome Apple’s entry into the security market. ”We’re always happy when users better secure their data, even when they use a solution that isn’t our own,” he explained. No doubt, one of the reasons for their carefree attitude is 1Password 4 for Mac. This is arguably one of the best new applications of 2013. In addition to a total redesign, 1Password 4 for Mac includes over 90 enhancements. The most important of these is the ability to create multiple password vaults and share them. Better still, 1Password 4 for Mac finally offers iCloud sync. Previously, this wasn’t an option for backup purposes. This addition makes it easier to sync data with 1Password for iOS, which has long offered iCloud support. I’ve also been impressed with 1Password Mini, which resides on the Mac’s menu bar. This makes it easier to find existing passwords, or create new ones. It is described as a "full-featured menubar utility with full vault search, item details, vault switching, window anchor options, and more." Like I expressed previously, 1Password 4 is a great piece of software. As a result, it comes highly recommended. If you purchased 1Password 3 via the Mac App Store, a free update is waiting for you. For those who purchased a previous versus of 1Password via the AgileBits website, expect to receive an email very soon regarding the update. For new users, 1Password 4 for Mac is available for a special introductory price of $39.99 in the Mac App Store. It may also be purchased through the AgileBits website. The separate 1Password for iOS is available in the App Store for $17.99.