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Review: 1Password 5 for Mac offers state-of-the-art protection for your passwords and more

Marco Tabini | Nov. 5, 2014
The latest release of AgileBits' password manager is as good as ever—and a perfect companion for OS X Yosemite.

Given Apple's big push in this arena--and the birth of technologies like Family Sharing--I expect that 1Password's sharing will be more commonly used. Given that, I hope that AgileBits will find ways to improve the functionality to provide multi-user sync in the future. Even though password sharing is generally frowned upon in the security community, it is sometimes necessary when dealing with service providers that don't allow multiple logins to the same account (a more widespread problem than you'd think, particularly in the IT community).

Kinks and issues
I have very few negative things to say about 1Password. I'm glad that the AgileBits folks decided to forego a major update just for the sake of piling on new features over their existing software, and instead chose to perfect the existing user experience with a number of small but significant improvements.

That said, for the first time since I started using the app several years ago, I had trouble installing 1Password on my Mac. I've been running Yosemite in its own partition alongside my previous installation of Mavericks--which also contains an older copy of 1Password. When I upgraded to 1Password 5, Yosemite decided to open the main 1Password app from the new download, but then tried to run the 1Password Mini helper--which runs as a separate executable--from my Mavericks partition, resulting in a cryptic "Cannot launch 1Password Mini" error.

The solution turned out to be as simple as removing the old copy of 1Password from my Mavericks partition, but it took several minutes to figure out. I imagine that a less technically-inclined user would have had a much harder time figuring things out. I hesitate to blame AgileBits for this problem--a half-dozen things had to go wrong in order for it to happen--but in the end there was no good reason for Yosemite to run half of one version of 1Password and half of the other.

As with past versions, 1Password also has a tendency to clash with OS X's built-in iCloud Keychain. Since neither is aware that the other is running, they will each try to save your Safari passwords and then suggest them at the same time, resulting in a confusing flurry of competing popovers and dialog boxes. The solution I chose here was to disable iCloud Keychain, for the simple reason that I need my passwords to work across multiple browsers, and 1Password, unlike Apple's own system, plays nice with both Chrome and Firefox in addition to Safari. (1Password is also much better than iCloud Keychain at saving non-password data like credit cards. As much as I appreciate Apple promoting better security, the functionality offered by AgileBits's software is, at least for now, far superior.)


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