Where do you keep your passwords? Most Mac users have them stored in Apple’s built-in, convenient, but cumbersome to use Keychain Access app. I understand why it’s the most used password app. It works. It’s free. It’s there. It syncs between devices.
While it may be cumbersome to manage many usernames, passwords, and other sensitive data, the Keychain Access app has helped to spawn an entire industry of password manager apps. I use four; five if I include Apple’s own. Here’s the question: ‘Where are your passwords stored?‘
Here, There, Everywhere
Public noise has been generated because the popular 1Password password manager app may move to cloud-based storage. That means your usernames, passwords, notes, and other items you prefer to keep on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad, would find their way to permanent storage on the cloud.
For now, the 1Password app uses an encrypted vault on your Mac to store what you save but when you sync that information between devices, where does it go?
The cloud. iCloud is the cloud. So is GoogleDrive or Microsoft’s OneDrive or Dropbox or the growing number of cloud-based storage options.
Another issue that doesn’t bother me as much if the price is right, is 1Password’s new subscription-based model. Instead of a one-time fee to buy and use 1Password forever (or, until an update you want or need comes along in a few years), you simply pay by the month. Forever. But you get all the security updates. But your data lives in the cloud where it could be hacked by criminal elements, lost completely, or available for access from governments and authorities.
The advantages for cloud-based storage are obvious. Your password information is available on every device you own, whenever you want to view or use or need it. The disadvantages are stated above.
For now, I haven’t decided to take the 1Password subscription model, though that’s the password manager I use the most. I also use EnPass, LastPass, Apple’s own Keychain Access app, and I’m always testing a different password manager app from time to time. All work on multiple devices and synchronize changes. All are stored locally but also stored in the cloud to keep things synchronized appropriately.
I understand why 1Password moved to a monthly subscription model. I do not understand why any password manager app developer would forgo storing data on each device even with a cloud-based password management solution.
Why do I use multiple password manager apps?
Trust. Or, rather, lack of trust. Each encrypts files and syncs them to various cloud-based storage so they’re available on other devices– iPhone, iPad, Mac– but I just don’t like having all my eggs in one basket. LastPass has a free option which works well, but also a modest subscription option. EnPass looks and works much like 1Password but is priced far less.
Apple’s own Keychain Access app works well, too, until you want to make changes to a username or password, and then it becomes a management nightmare.
These days I stored my Mac’s Documents in iCloud, Photos in iCloud, passwords in various clouds, and with the new, lower price tag for 2TB of storage, I’m considering moving other files to iCloud.
But I still don’t trust the cloud. Or, my Mac, iPhone, and iPad, so there are multiple backup options for each one.