The password is dead – ish

There’s a new move to get rid of the password. I think I’d rather miss them but it is a bit 11th Century, isn’t it? Halt! Who goes there? Are you fr1n3d or f03?

We have already reduced them a lot with apps like 1Password – you just remember one password, it remembers all the rest securely and also creates very strong new ones when you want – and then there are tools like Touch ID on iPhones. I don’t have an iPhone with this but I’ve used them and it is nothing short of spookily handy to be able to pick a phone up and have it already know it’s you.

Still, back to the news. Passwords are under threat and it’s about time too:

Passwords are a pain. They’re incredibly important for the security of our data, and yet they’re hard to remember and keep track of. Plus, it seems like we constantly have to change them as the result of some new hack or security breach. But the password’s days may be numbered: the FIDO Alliance—a non-profit composed of heavyweights like Microsoft, Google, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, and more—has published its final specification for a system to kill the password, hopefully for good.
The specification is a bit technical, but what it boils down to is fewer passwords, hopefully. FIDO offers two options: a password-less login method, and a two-factor login method. In the former case, when you register with a new service, app, or site that uses FIDO’s technology, you choose how you want to authenticate that account (just as you would currently specify a username and password). But instead of a password, that method can be a PIN or a biometric factor—such as a fingerprint, a spoken passphrase, or facial recognition.

The Death Of The Password Starts Today (Maybe) – Dan Moran, Popular Science (10 December 2014)

Read the full piece. And while we wait for all this to happen, get yourself secure with 1Password. I’ve used 1Password 17 times this morning.

Did I say this already? Buy 1Password right now

I definitely urged this in the latest edition of The Blank Screen email newsletter – do sign up for your free copy – and if I’ve met you on the street in the last few days I’ve undoubtedly pressed you on the issue. But I don’t think I’ve said it here and I must.

Buy 1Password for iOS now.

As in now. Please rush.

Well, you can take a little bit of time because it’s on sale and will be for at least a short while: it’s not one of those instant on, instant off sales. And as ever with things I recommend on sale, it is more than worth its full price so if you miss the discount, shrug it off.

So you know, the sale price goes thisaway: 1Password for iPhone is briefly £6.99 UK or $9.99 US (instead of £9.99 UK or $17.99 US). Check the maker’s website, though, because there are many options if you’re using more than one device: 1Password official site.

It’s a password manager – creates great passwords for you and then, this is the key part, both remembers them all and pops them into websites for you – and it’s also especially good at holding all your credit card details and, again, popping them into websites when you say Go. It’s also very cross-platform: I use it daily on Mac, iPhone and iPad but there is also a PC, Windows and Android version. They all play nicely, too, so if you’re a PC user with an iPhone or a Mac user with an Android phone, you’re fine. Possibly schizophrenic, but fine.

If you are on a PC or Android, my reason to urge you to buy 1Password is solely that it is so very good. Indispensable. I went from wondering why anyone would want such a thing to having it on my iPhone’s front screen and using it literally every day. Literally literally: there’s a thing I have to do every single day and I do it through 1Password because it’s so much quicker.


If you’re on an iOS device, there is an extra delightful urgency to all this. Buy 1Password for iPhone or iPad on sale today and you will get the next version for free. The next version will be a significant upgrade but it won’t cost existing users anything and you will be an existing user.

I am an existing user, I am a now very long-standing existing user, and I’m excited by this – I don’t use the word lightly, I actually am excited – because of what’s coming in the next version.

The next 1Password will be the first or at most among the very first apps to use Apple’s new Extensions feature that lets one app use another. I told you that I do this thing every day: it’s using a website that I have to log in to and on my iPhone, I have to remember to go to it via 1Password in order to have the password app pop my details in. If I’ve just gone there via Safari, I either nip back and forth to 1Password, copying out my secure details and pasting them in to Safari – or I quit it all and start the job again in 1Password.

From the next version and Apple’s iOS 8, I will be able to just call up 1Password right from within Safari and have it do my doings for me. If I have the new 1Password, iOS 8 and a newer iPhone than I currently have, I’ll be able to tap my thumb in order to get it to enter secure details for me.

I’d say that if I were you, I’d buy 1Password now. But if I really were you, you’d already have it.

This is how it should be: a Safari Extension I’ll use hourly

Not only will I use it hourly but I want to use it hourly now. The quick news: 1Password will use Extensions so that within Safari, you can get it to enter your username and password.

The slightly less quick news with more detail and enthusiasm… In case you haven’t come across it yet, 1Password is one of those apps that stores your passwords for you. Fine. It also creates ones like Wel6cAct9iB9Bit (that really is one it created, I just got it to do that). It creates these strong passwords and then saves them for you so that you don’t have to remember. You just have to remember the one password you need to get into 1Password. It works on iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, PC, Windows, all sorts.

The phone and tablet versions come with their own web browser too. So if I’m organised, I can go into my 1Password app, tap on the name of my bank and that browser will zoom off to their site. Goes to the site, enters my username and some of my security details, then it even presses return. Only with my bank do I stop there. With other things I log into like, it does the lot. One tap takes me to the site and then into the site. Another single tap and 1Password has entered all my credit card details for me.

Except I’m often not that organised. Very often, I will go a site in the regular iPhone Safari web browser and after a lot of fiddling like picking train times, I will reach the login or credit card screen and wish I’d remembered to do this in 1Password. Usually, I nip over to the 1Password app, copy the detail I need and go paste it into Safari. But just occasionally, I’ve moved over to 1Password and redone the whole job just to save that schlepping about.

Not any more. Behind the scenes it’s going to be using Touch ID and Safari Extensions but no matter: in future, when I’ve gone to a site in the ordinary Safari browser, I will still be able to use 1Password to enter my details.

This is how it is on the Mac and PC: wherever I am, I can whack a login detail or an over-used credit card in with a tap or two. This is how it will be on iPhones and iPads.

The company isn’t saying when it will happen but there is a limited beta test going on now and it all requires the forthcoming iOS 8. So you can bet that when the next iPhones come out around September, so will the new 1Password. No idea yet whether it will be a paid upgrade or a freebie but whichever, I’m having it. (Though it must be said, as great as 1Password is in every other way I know, upgrading to a major new version is agony.)

Here’s where you can learn more of the latest official release of 1Password and here’s a shaky video of the beta in action: