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1Password

It’s tough keepin’ up with the gluttony of “insanely great” Mac utilities. Everyday, VersionTracker lists scores of new apps ready to tweak, optimize, and organize all the crap on your computer. For the most part, I ignore them. Usually, they’re so buggy and poorly designed, I just send them straight to trash after trying them out.

But there are always exceptions.

I’ve just discovered a utility that I now can’t live without. It’s called 1Password, and I’ll never ever throw it in the trash. So what does it do? Here’s the tagline straight from the developer’s website:

“1Password keeps track of all web passwords, automates sign-in, guards from identity theft.”

In other words, it’s the Barry Bonds of password management utilities, injecting your Keychain with a little something extra to hit a home run. It does the basics like storing web passwords, forms, and identity information. Where 1Password really flexes it’s muscle, however, is how smoothly it lets you access that information. Direct browser integration, automatic form submissions, and synchronization all make this a must-have app for any Mac user.

Being a curmudgeony 27-year-old, I was naturally skeptical. “Great, yet another password management utility,” I thought. But after trying it out, I’m now a believer. It has just the right amount of nifty, effective, and useful features. Here are the ones I love:

  1. Autofill and Auto-submit
    Although most web browsers feature autofill and password-saving functionality, 1Password takes it a step further. It not only remembers and autofills login forms, it also auto-submits them. This takes the extra step out of a sign-in process. Signing into a site is simple. Just hit a simple key command, and 1Password fills in the login information and automagically signs you in.

  2. Instant Login Bookmarks
    If you’re feeling super lazy, you can create secure login bookmarks that will open the page, fill out the form, and submit it all in one step. 1Password integrates directly with popular web browsers (Safari, OmniWeb, Firefox, Camino and Flock). And yes, depending on your browser, you can launch 1Password bookmarks with Quicksilver.

  3. Multiple Identities
    Don’t feel like giving out all your personal information when filling out a registration form? Use 1Password to define multiple identities, each with its own set of information. Next time you fill out a form, you can choose the appropriate persona depending on the site.

  4. Digital Wallet
    If you’re tired of digging for your credit card when buying stuff you don’t need, you can take a rest. Instead, use 1Password to store all your credit card information. During checkout, just hit the 1Password button in your browser and choose the credit card you want. The utility instantly fills in your payment information automatically. Okay, if I love this feature, does it mean I shop online way too much?

  5. Maximum Security
    1Password makes it so easy to sign in and save your passwords, it sounds almost scary. Could it be too easy for hackers? Nope. To thwart would-be information bandits, 1Password has several mechanisms to protect you. The application uses “military-grade” encryption and requires a master password before you can unlock any information. By default, 1Password also locks you out after 60 minutes of inactivity. And since you don’t need to type in a password to sign in to your favorite sites, you’ll bypass any hidden keyloggers installed on your computer.

I have very few gripes with 1Password. Arguably, the major downside is that there’s no Windows version. Can any PC users recommend a secure password manager that gets close?

Special thanks to Philip Foeckler for recommending this app to me.

Note: This is NOT a paid review. I bought the software myself and I liked it.

55 Comments

  • RRAY

    gravatarNov 26, 2009
    10:15 pm

    Surely the makers of 1Password don’t expect all of using Windows to run out and buy Macs, and then spend $40 more to install the app – just so that we can manually enter all of our information from Roboform, Cloak, or any one of several other apps already in use …?

    Get real. Make it work with Windows. Make it import from other widely used apps. And make it snyc locally.

  • dbz123

    gravatarDec 2, 2009
    10:26 am

    Thought I’d just jump in here and ask a question. I’m a little lost and not to familiar with these password applications.

    Does anyone know of any good ones to store all your information? I have a PC and you guys say roboform and keepassx is recommend, but how about one that is offline? What I use right now to keep my password information is a silly notepad on my pc. Its sorta boring, but just looking for an application that organizes it better on windows.

  • T.

    gravatarDec 7, 2009
    9:41 pm

    dbz123: I don’t know if keepass or roboform always stores your passwords on-line… I think either will will store your on-line passwords though. I’m pretty sure keepass doesn’t necessarily sync your passwords online… it may be a handy feature that some people use.

  • Dave Barnes

    gravatarDec 17, 2009
    9:22 am

    @dbz123, 1Password does what you want. I use it to manage 600+ logins. I use to a very large Word doc to keep track of everything.

  • james

    gravatarApr 1, 2010
    7:36 am

    Quick question if you have to enter master password each time you open the browser, how does this defeat key loggers?