How do you manage the login ID’s and passwords on your Mac? Mac Keychain? How about login information (all those web site forms)? Safari or Firefox, right? How do you manage your software serial numbers?
Now it starts to get complicated. Through the years I’ve used about a dozen different Mac tools to manage passwords, serial numbers, financial information, and the like. For now, I’m settling on 1Password and eliminating three other utilities (not including Safari and Firefox).
The Anything Utility
Popular Mac software tends to follow a trend. More features. Then, as the customer base grows, the software gets—you guessed it—more features.
So it is with the popular Mac password utility, 1Password, now at version 3.0.
What sets 1Password apart from other similar utilities that securely manage important information is the ability to plug it all into most popular browsers.
That means you can use Safari, Firefox, Camino, Opera and a few others to browse web sites and get one click access to auto enter a login ID and password.
Useful, no? And a bit expensive. And more complex.
The Feature Creep Conundrum
Managing sensitive information is a challenge. Credit card details and numbers. Login ID’s and passwords. Anything sensitive, important, valuable, needs to be securely stored, away from prying eyes, but easy to get to and use.
That’s what 1Password does. It securely stores login IDs, passwords, serial numbers, credit card numbers, form information; making it easy to use with a click or two. That saves time.
1Password is secure, too, providing encryption and anti-phishing protection, along with full iPhone synchronization. Features? Version 3.0 adds over 50 features from the previous version, including tags, file attachments, scanned images, and Vaults.
1Password Anywhere lets you view your secured information from any browser online, away from your Mac or iPhone, making it easy to copy and paste into a site or application even when you don’t have your Mac nearby.
Version 3.0 also solves the 32-bit vs. 64-bit problem presented by 64-bit Safari running in Snow Leopard.
There was a time when 1Password was nothing more than a list of your login ID’s and passwords conveniently stuck into Apple’s Keychain.
Now you can use 1Password to store nearly any kind of information from software licenses and serial numbers, to images, scanned images, and anything else. It all gets stored securely, encrypted, into 1Password’s database.
1Password 3 now lets you edit information from within the browser (no need to open the application, edit, save, then go back to the browser). MacBook owners will like the multi-touch swiping ability. The rest of us can rest assured that our poor spelling habits won’t matter because there’s a spell checker in Secure Notes.
It’s All In The Gooey GUI
No offense to the previous 1Password’s look and feel, but version 3.0 is easier to digest, visually. 1Password grabs thumbnail images of sites, even collecting the dubiously useful favicons to help a site standout from other sites.
You can also create multiple secure identities and add an image to each (handy for separating identity information from husband, wife, partner, home, business).
The new interface is a bit Fisher-Price bordering on gaudy, but still easier to use than older versions. The Wallet has been updated, too, and is easier on the eyes, and much easier to find information in the new Accounts and Software sections.
One of the benefits of a login ID and password utility is to help make your passwords more secure. Instead of using the same password for everything (because it’s easy to remember one, rather than 20), 1Password can create tougher passwords and remember them for you.
There’s a price tag on the upgrade from version 2.x to 3.0. It’s worth it. Synchronization with the iPhone/iPod touch version is worthy, topped only with the 1PasswordAnywhere feature. The User Guide (with FAQs and Tutorials) has been updated, too, though still comes with a 3 Minute Expert Guide for the Mac’s fast reader crowd.
There are less expensive ways to manage and secure information on a Mac, but none make managing login IDs, passwords, license information, or serial numbers so seamless between Mac, iPhone, and the web as 1Password.