Apple attempts to help customers manage passwords in Safari and the macOS and iOS Keychain utility. Instead of helping users manage passwords, it ends up causing more harm than good because the untended Keychain gets ignored. Is there a better way?
Easy Is Hard
Many years ago a computer scientist came up with a list of rules to improve security with proper passwords. The problem was obvious to social scientists. Humans prefer easy to hard, so the convoluted rules to improve password security were ignored and replaced by obviously stupidly easy passwords, including password, 123456, etc. See the problem? Humans.
We prefer easy to difficult and Apple’s Keychain is both. Most users ignore it and that works OK for awhile, but when usernames and passwords begin to proliferate, Keychain becomes completely unfriendly. That’s where 1Password comes in. This isn’t the only macOS or iOS password manager system in town, but it could easily be called the iMac Pro of password managers, or the iPhone X of password managers because it’s that good.
Basically, with 1Password all you need to remember is one password. That’s the one that unlocks 1Password so it can fill in username and passwords in websites or give you quick and easy access to passwords you may need but can’t remember.
Almost any information you want stored and secure but accessible on Mac, iPhone, or iPad (or even Windows devices) can be managed in 1Password. It all starts with categories. Simply determine where the information, username, or password go, and then create a card to store it. It’s that easy. The information is encrypted so only your 1Password password can open it. Browser extensions make it easy to login to websites with a click and no need to know or even see the password.
Add or delete a username, password, or any data from 1Password, say, on your Mac, and it shows up as changed on iPhone or iPad or elsewhere. Basic security is the standard military grade AES-256 bit encryption. The master password is a requirement and it never gets stored elsewhere. 1Password also has a secret key option which works better than the increasingly popular two factor authentication.
1Password on iPhone and iPad opens with Touch ID or Face ID so, again, easy. As of today I have over 300 items in my 1Password system and I’ve used it– along with others– since it arrived first on the Mac many years ago. It remains elegant and simple to set up and use, but is packed with user friendly features and airtight security options.
At a price.
For now, 1Password has a standalone option as an app for Mac, iPhone, and iPad, but also a family plan and subscription model. If you’re on a budget, Enpass is a good option. It looks, feels, and works much like 1Password but without a subscription and with a nominal price tag. It even imports 1Password items. Jack Miller has a list of additional options, all of which are tried and mostly true, but not the iPhone X of password managers.