Get 1Password and then get more out of it

You should be using 1Password. I don’t care if you’re on Mac, iOS, Android or Windows, you should be using it. I’m not a blind fan, I find fault with it, but it’s a password manager and you have to have passwords so you have to have a password manager. In my opinion, 1Password is the best of the lot. Plus, it’s free.

If you’re looking at me wondering what a password manager is and whether that’s a real job, think of the last time you bought something on Amazon. Or logged into your email. Or opened Evernote from a new machine. You have to have passwords and you can’t use “donaldduck123” any more. You also can’t use 7J8d7fdJK(** – if you use that same one for everywhere.

A password manager creates these strong passwords for you – and then it remembers them. All you have to do is click a button or press a key and it zooms you off to Amazon, say, and it logs you in.

But that’s not why I want to talk to you about it today.

By dint of what it does with passwords, 1Password is extremely useful in other ways. It’s great at being your bookmarking for websites; it is really good at filling in credit card details; and it actively helps you when you’re being good and making a note of your new software licence.

Go read all this at length on the tutorial I wrote about it for today.

Windows version of 1Password updated

You know PCs better than I do: does this sound good to you? Aside from the odd hiccup, I am very much a fan of 1Password so updates are automatically good. It’s just that I read this list of new features and I’m not exactly arrested:

I don’t get to pull ‘chock’ off the shelf very often, but this is a special occasion. 1Password 4.2 for Windows is here with all sorts of new goodies to help you work and play better.

You can use the View menu to hide the Wallet and Accounts groups from the sidebar
Wi-Fi Sync is now clearer about what it’s up to
The password strength meter is much strength-ier
We added Secure Desktop buttons to the Change Password window
The Auto-Save dialog now allows adding tags
We improved how we log into non-web-browser apps

1Password 4.2 for Windows is chock-full of perks and improvements – David Chartier, AgileBits(3 March 2015)

Read the full blog post for more.

Please stop using ‘12345’ as your password

Every year SplashData surveys the most common passwords and you know that the results are scary. I think it’s even scarier how they do it: they chart the passwords as revealed by leaked accounts and hacked systems, by all the many, many security breaches that are reported every year. There is always enough data to make the survey statistically significant, which means even if you haven’t had your password cracked, you probably use one of these and you are going to be hacked.

Here’s the top ten for 2014 from the most common to the least:


Dragon? What’s going on there? Anyway, the list continues so if you’re feeling smug, stop now. Unless your passwords are things like 17e£**jjli99Nn like my bank account’s one.

Despite the scary list, by the way, SplashData does try to reassure you a bit, though. A bit:

“The bad news from my research is that this year’s most commonly used passwords are pretty consistent with prior years,” Burnett said. “The good news is that it appears that more people are moving away from using these passwords. In 2014, the top 25 passwords represented about 2.2% of passwords exposed. While still frightening, that’s the lowest percentage of people using the most common passwords I have seen in recent studies.”

“123456” Maintains the Top Spot on SplashData’s Annual “Worst Passwords” List

Read the full piece and then make me personally very happy by getting and using an app like 1Password. If I’ve met you, I’ve told you about this. I’m not as evangelical about this specific app as I am about, say, OmniFocus for To Do tasks, but I am telling you that you must get an app like it. Must. Seriously.

PS. I was kidding about my bank account password. You knew that. But I had to say it. I really, really had to say it.

Exploit 1Password even more

There are things you do every day that you don’t realise others have no idea about. This week I demonstrated 1Password to two friends and told them that actually, no, we had to stop to discuss this because it was my civic duty. They’d just told me they use the same password everywhere. Yes. I shuddered too.

And I showed them 1Password. But it was a quick race through how I use it on my iPad whereas there is more you can and I do use on the Mac. This article by Melissa Holt popped up just as I was thinking about this and I think she says it better than I do. Except for one thing: I’d point out that while she and I are Mac users, all of this applies to the Windows version of 1Password too.

Here. Have some enthusing and then the start of tips to get more out of it. If you have 1Password, go use all this stuff now. And if you don’t have it, thank you for reading so far through this piece and see? Isn’t it great? Usually?

It’s no secret that AgileBits’ 1Password is pretty much my favorite thing since ever. It’s the one app that I recommend to all Mac users, and I’m passionate about people using the program to generate and fill in unique passwords for all of their online accounts. Let’s face it, if you aren’t using an app like 1Password to manage your digital life, then you either have a notebook full of your login details (not safe!) or you’re using 75 variations of your dog’s name as passwords on the sites you visit (doubly not safe!).

If you already have 1Password, though, there are a few neat tricks to be aware of to get the most out of its awesomeness. My favorite tip is that in Safari, Chrome, or Firefox, the keyboard shortcut Command-\ will either automagically fill in the login for a page you’re on, or if you have multiple logins to pick from for that site, it’ll bring up the dialog box for you to choose between them. That’s much faster than clicking on the toolbar icon to open it!

3 Tips to Make 1Password Even More Powerful – Melissa Holt, The Mac Observer (12 November 2014)

Read the full piece.

Windows PCs: 1Password updated to firm’s “1Passwordiest”

I have to say, 1Password 4 for Windows has been our 1Passwordiest yet. You’ve given us a ton of great feedback, so we’re back with our first big, free update.

To put it simply, you get more control over some of 1Password’s little details that make a big difference…

1Password 4.1 for Windows puts more control at your fingertips – David Chartier, Agile Blog (23 October 2014)

Read the full piece and links to get 1Password for Windows.

Keep 1Password 4 around after you upgrade

I’m waiting to hear back from the makers Agilebits and will update this as I can. But my copy of 1Password 5 is lacking five passwords – that I know of. It happens that I created five this week as part of a particular job so I both know they were in 1Password 4 and I needed them today for that work.

Not a sign of them in 1Password 5 or, where I first went for them, the mini 1Password in my Mac’s menu bar.

But they are all still there in 1Password 4.

Now, Agilebits doesn’t recommend you having two versions of 1Password and if they tell me that’s my problem, I’ll believe them. Except, I’d dragged 1Password 4 to the wastebasket.

It is fluke that I hadn’t emptied it. And if I had, I’d have lost those passwords.

With the previous Dropbox bug that Agilebits had eventually copped to, that makes nine passwords I’ve lost – that I’ve found out about.

More when Agilebits responds.

How to fix problems updating 1Password (yet again)

I enthuse about 1Password all the time and there genuinely isn’t a day and possibly not even a couple of hours that don’t see me using it. But allow me this one grumble because it’s infuriating: there simply is never a 1Password update that works the way it should.

Previously I’ve written about how I’ve lost passwords because of 1Password bugs: an update changed a setting and makers Agile Bits didn’t mention it until I complained. Previously I’ve not written about the teeth-pulling that went on using 1Password 4’s automatic updater from version 3 that was so automatic you couldn’t do it manually and yet you really wanted to because it wasn’t updating automatically. I didn’t write about that because we weren’t here: that was pre-The Blank Screen.

Now is that 1Password will prompt you for a free update to version 5 and it will give you a detailed software update screen that tells you what extra goodies you’re getting. But when it fails to update, you have to go hunting through the Agile Bits support page until you find a bit that says yeah, that can be a problem, you need to re-download the application before the updater can work.

Even then, even now, my Mac has just popped up a 1Password warning. I downloaded the application and was going to move it to my Applications folder to overwrite the old one but didn’t get a chance. It launched itself and gave me a warning that it was launching from my Downloads folder, did I surely not want to move it to Applications? Why yes, I did. It moved itself, which is nice, but it didn’t replace the old one.

So right now I have a fairly plaintive error message saying “Please make sure you have only one copy of 1Password on your Mac.”

Tomorrow I will love 1Password again. But today and every day that there is a big update, I’m close to wishing I please had no copies of 1Password on my Mac.

The limits of iOS 8 Extensions so far

You knew this would be the case: Extensions sounded great and they turn out to be mostly pretty very good indeed. But not up there in the greatness that you’d expected.

Previously… Extensions are a new feature for iPhones and iPads that let your apps play nice. You hardly have to know the feature is there but if you have an app that has Extensions, you can use them very easily. So for instance, when I browse to a site in Safari I can now call up my username and password for it from 1Password while still staying in Safari.


These things will change and develop over time as people come to use this service and start talking about what they’re not doing yet. Please count this as my talking about what Extensions are not doing yet yet I’d like them to. Even more than I liked the fact that I just got to say “yet yet” for the first time in my adult life.

I’m a writer. Just nod at me.

So. All this is true and all this works great, but the first disappointment was that 1Password can’t enter credit card details for you. The full Mac app can, the iOS app can, but it can’t do it via an Extension into Safari. This is a big shame for me because I buy a lot online and it would save time.

But the second disappointment is more insiduous. I’m sure that the credit card bit will change – 1Password’s maker Agile Bits said so, for one thing – but I don’t know that this other problem will. So let’s please hear it for The Other Problem with 1Password in Safari Via Extentions.

If you’re on a website, you can tap to have 1Password fill in all your details for you. But you have to be on exactly the right site. I’m struggling to reproduce this problem but I’ve stumbled on it many times. You go to a site, tap to have 1Password log in for you and because there is some difference between the site address you’re on and the site address you saved your login for, 1Password doesn’t work.

I think that’s probably a good idea. Make us wait a second to consider what we’re doing and that will probably mean we make fewer rash logins to pages that aren’t what we think they are.

Only, it doesn’t make us wait a second. It makes us wait forever. The 1Password screen comes up and includes nothing. Nothing whatever.

I would like the option to search my 1Password account for what I need.

I also wish there were a way to use 1Password to log in to apps.

Or stepping away from 1Password, why can’t there be – or when will there be, please – a way to use Extensions to save Facebook invitation details? Facebook would rather you lived in its calendar but I don’t so a tap and a tap and a completed appointment entry would be useful.

Especially this week where – though my fault rather than technology’s – I managed to get a date wrong and arrived 24 hours late.

If only I could blame that on Bendgate or something.

Data loss in 1Password: check your database is syncing

Yesterday I found that 1Password had lost a login and passcode I needed. It’s been confirmed by Agile Bits and the short solution is that you need to recheck that it is syncing the way you told it to, using the service you chose.

I’d chosen Dropbox and at some point there was an upgrade to 1Password which switched that off without notice. From that point on, my iPhone wasn’t syncing to anywhere. Once that happens, it’s only a question of time. And when the 1Password for iOS 8 upgrade was crashing for me on open, I deleted the app and redownloaded it.

Maybe if I could’ve got far enough into 1Password without a crash, I might have thought to check the syncing options. But you set it once, it’s unfathomable that an upgrade would change a key setting and not notify you.

Nonetheless, that’s what happened. And since my syncing was switched off, every password I added on my iPhone was lost when I deleted the app.

This is what I deduced but here’s Agile Bits’ confirmation:

Yes, there was a version of 1Password 4 that disabled Dropbox sync for some customers and we did not have a system in place to notify customers if/when this happened. Sorry for that!

I am assuming that if you do have 1Password installed somewhere else you didn’t notice the lack of Dropbox syncing, correct? This is entirely feasible if there aren’t that many items being updated and the items being updated are only being used on the device the update was made on.

Yes, when you uninstalled 1Password for iOS the local database was deleted then. All 1Password data would have been deleted then. Again, I am sorry for this having happened.

Agile Bits support email – 20 September 2014

I’ve said before that 1Password is superbly, even astonishingly great in every single way bar upgrades. The company really falls over on upgrades: the move to iOS 8 causing so many crashes is minor compared to the alchemy one had to go through moving from 1Password 3 to 4.

But this is the first time it has ever lost passwords for me.

And I say passwords, plural, because the odds are that this is the case. There is simply no way for me to know how many other passwords I’ve lost or what they are.

I understand that there is bugger-all Agile Bits can do now but they’re wrong that there was nothing they could’ve done. They could’ve triggered a prompt for all users to check whether they had the fault, they could’ve even just publicised the fact that it had happened.

They could also have deleted their boilerplate last line in the email which reads:

Have a great weekend and please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

The good, the great and the bad of iOS 8

Bad things first, since you’re wondering.

Initially I thought it was running visibly slower than iOS 7 on my iPhone 5. It was. There was definite lag, even when swiping between home screens. But I’ve been running iOS 8 since last night and now, about an hour after I last grumbled at that lag, it’s gone. The phone feels fast again. But it really had been bad enough that I was going to suggest you hold off unless you have a new iPhone.

I’m going to suggest that anyway. Let everyone else work through this. But when you do update on an older iPhone, and it is worth it, be prepared for it to take a few hours to get back up to speed.

On my iPad Air, by the way, it was immediately perfect. Fast and responsive, not one single pixel of a doubt that if you have an iPad Air you should upgrade to iOS 8 now.

On both machines, though, Safari was irritating. There’s this thing called Private Mode – if you were fussed about nobody seeing who you bank with online, you switch to Private Mode and Safari doesn’t track the address, it doesn’t keep the details in its history. When you’re done, come out of Private Mode and nobody can see that you’ve been to Offshore Islands Dodgy Bank Co. Fine. I didn’t realise I’d switched into it but I had, on both machines, before upgrading. After the upgrade, all existing tabs were considered to be in Private Mode and there is no way to say no, hang on, I want this one to be un-private. I had to swipe-to-remove each separate tab. And to keep important ones, it was copy-and-paste on the address. It won’t be an issue again but it was a pain today.

So was setting up 1Password. The only part that was iOS 8’s fault is the way you have to set up the ability to use 1Password extensions, to be able to be there in Safari and say oi, 1Password, pop my username and password in here. It’s just slightly confusing how you do it, and since I’d been through a very similar but not identical process adding Pocket, it was more confusing still trying to fathom the difference. (Pocket isn’t a lot better: it gives you the error message ‘not logged in’ when you first try to use it but you’re on your own figuring out how you therefore log in.)

Generally I’ve found that 1Password is a marvellous app in every single possible way bar anything to do with upgrading to new versions. It’s just a bag of frustration. The company goes to lengths to make it all automatic but since it goes wrong every time, the automation becomes a barrier to trying to fix it. Less an upgrade cycle, more alchemy. I sweat through it every time because the app is worth it, but I do also file bug reports every time.

So this is 1Password’s fault rather than iOS 8’s per se and actually it worked perfectly on my iPad Air. But I had to delete and reinstall it on my iPhone to get it to stop crashing.

Other annoyances that aren’t really iOS 8’s fault: TextExpander is a paid upgrade. It’s only £2.99 and it’s of course fair to charge for the new functionality that I will use a lot, but there was no mention of this before so it was annoying. Also, the new keyboard that TextExpander provides is simply ugly. That doesn’t help. But the functionality, that’s great.

One part that is iOS 8’s fault: setting up TextExpander as a new keyboard could be more straightforward. It is pretty straightforward but there is a final option called ‘Allow Full Access’ and you can’t even see that option until you’ve been in, set up the keyboard, come out and gone back in again.

One last minor annoyance. This is the most unfair thing of me but OmniFocus needs an New Task button in the Today notifications.

But let me use that to segue on to the good and the great. The good to very, very good is this Today notification. Pick up your phone and without even unlocking it, just swipe down. We’ve had this for a time and I’ve rarely used it as much as I expected to, but now it’s got my choice of extras. I’ve chosen OmniFocus: it shows me my current tasks for the day and I can tap them as done, when necessary. I’ve also chosen Evernote, though, and that gives me buttons to create new notes.

I want both. I want OmniFocus to include a New Task button and I want Evernote to show me my recent notes. I think you can bet these will both come, but it’s oddly hampering today.

I really like the Today view though. And I really, really like the ability to get 1Password to pop in my details on sites. Apparently it won’t do credit cards yet, only logins. That’s a shame but also hopefully something we can expect changed soon. The number of times I book tickets or buy things online is exactly equal to the number of times I get 1Password to pop all that stuff in for me. So I want that too.

For all that I said Safari was irritating, in normal use after you’ve got past that Private Mode tick, it is really superb. Very fast, responsive, and I like how a pinch brings up all your current tabs and you can see what you’re doing, where you’re going.

The sharing extension in Pocket and Evernote is pretty close to fabulous. Again, once you’ve set it up. But to be on any website and tap to send it to Pocket or to Evernote, wallop, done, sold, I will be using this all the time.

The only reason I don’t call that full-on fabulous is that there is something else that is. Siri. When it’s plugged in to mains power, you can say aloud “Hey, Siri” and ask it whatever you want to ask it. At any time. Without pausing. I reckoned I would use this all the time in the car where I think of tasks I’ll need reminding of, but this morning I had an entire conversation with Siri without pressing the button once. Because it’s plugged in to mains by my bed while I charge it.

I need to say that Angela is away, I wouldn’t have a natter with Siri at 5am if she weren’t. So maybe I won’t use that all the time. But it is freaky fabulous.

Overall, now it’s setup, I think iOS 8 is pretty freaky fabulous. And yes, the first thing I did after installing it was buy OmniFocus 2 for iPad. Happy now.