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Wrist-based password managers: How 1Password and LastPass for Apple Watch stack up

Brian Beam | June 3, 2015
These popular password managers are now compatible with the Apple Watch, but with very limited features.

1passwordwatch

One annoying side effect of online life: We have far too many accounts on far too many devices that require a password. Probably the most common way to manage this confusion is to come up with a good password and use it everywhere... which we know is a terrible idea. 

The best method is to use a unique password for each account, which is much more secure, but more difficult to manage. And for that, we need a good password manager, so that we don't have to use dangerous methods like spreadsheets, sticky notes, or overworked brain cells. 

Two of the most popular password managers are 1Passwordby AgileBits and LastPass by Marvasol, and they both recently expanded their apps to include support for the Apple Watch. They work similarly on Macs, Windows computers, and Android and iOS devices--and now the Apple Watch--by storing your online logins in a database and then unlocking them with a single "master password" when you need to use them. 

In addition to managing passwords, both apps provide a secure way to store other types of info, such as bank accounts and credit cards, or just general free-form secure notes. They also give you the option of creating profiles that can automatically complete payment forms with your name, address, and payment info. And each one provides a way to sync your data among all your devices. 

We've come to trust how these apps work across our Macs and iOS devices, but how do they stack up on the Watch, given that we don't actually need to use our account passwords on the Watch that often (if ever)? Let's take a look.

Easy access to your password vault

Getting started with LastPass or 1Password on your watch is a cinch, once you have your account set up. You can enable these apps for the Watch from within their respective iOS app settings or from the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Both apps give you the option of further securing your data with a 4-digit PIN code that you enter occasionally when accessing their Watch apps, but they take a slightly different approach in the way they let you access their password databases stored on your iPhone--LastPass for Apple Watch gives you access to your entire iOS password vault, while 1Password requires that you specially tag items in the iOS app before they will appear on the Watch. In either case, no data is being stored permanently on the Watch: Your Watch and iPhone must be paired and in communication for your password data to be available on the Apple Watch.

 

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