Every time Apple launches a new version of OS X a few very good Mac apps bite the dust. How so? Because Apple incorporates similar functionality into OS X negating the need and expensive of using a third party app that does the same thing.
Who among the many smart Mac users does not use a password manager? I have two on my Mac and it looks like OS X Mavericks is trying to kill both of them.
1Password And mSecure, Not So Secure
One of the more popular Mac and iPhone password managers is the feature laden 1Password. One of my favorites, though is mSecure, which costs less and isn’t burdened with too many features or a long learning curve.
Besides the fact that mSecure also runs on my iPhone and iPad, and syncs up login ID and password information via iCloud and Dropbox to my Mac it’s got some tough encryption built in.
256-bit Blowfish encryption is used to secure information, and I use mSecure for login IDs, passwords, serial numbers, account numbers, and some banking information.
The features in mSecure seem to be the right balance. It syncs well. It creates complex passwords. It auto locks while I’m away from my Mac. It backs up automatically. It’s less expensive than apps with similar features. What’s not to like?
And why is Apple trying to kill apps like 1Password and mSecure? To be fair, I don’t think it’s an issue of Apple hating either app and seeking vengeance. It’s a natural progression.
Not So Secure
Apple, more than Microsoft, Google, or Samsung, seems to recognize the value in integration, particularly seamless integration of services that sync and play nice-nice on each device.
That brings me to the password manager killer– OS X Mavericks, and, more specifically, the new iCloud Keychain function.
Yep, Apple could put a big dent in the sales of third party password managers. iCloud Keychain stores your login IDs and passwords. They’re encrypted, too (AES 256-bit), and stored only on devices you approve.
Even better, it comes with an autofill function to log right into websites with ease, and the Password Generator can spit out unique, hard-to-guess passwords for you accounts, just like the other apps. It also works with credit card information making it easier than ever to buy online.
Secure storage and sync. Login IDs and passwords. Works automatically with your iCloud account. Does that mean the mSecure and 1Password-like apps are doomed? Maybe not. Or, at least, not so fast. Some password managers work on Macs and Windows PCs, which iCloud Keychain does not. Some password managers have features beyond iCloud Keychain, and a head start (OS X Mavericks won’t be the most used OS X for a few years).
Still, it’s clear that Apple doesn’t mind stepping on a few toes to make customers happy.