1Password version 3 review

In case you have missed it, Agile Web Solutions has released a public beta of its version 3 of 1Password, and if you thought (like I did) they couldn't improve this industry leading password and license manager anymore, they've proven us wrong. 1Password 3 is nicer to look at, better structured, and has time saving features even.To keep your login data secure, you need a good password manager. Preferably one that can encrypt your passwords using the best algorithm and managing those passwords in the most simple and efficient ways. In order not to end up with many different managers to keep your sensitive information secure, you’ll also want to manage credit card data, software licenses, identities, and everything else you care to write down and classify as sensitive.

1Password has all of this. Other software like it can also deliver the same functionality, but often some elements are missing or the management concept is flawed. In some cases, you aren’t sure which algorithms the developer used to protect your data. In other cases, the algorithms are weak.
When I reviewed 1Password 2, I was very impressed with what the software had to offer, and I was convinced version 3 wouldn’t be able to knock me off my socks, but in fact it has. Some of the new features are purely cosmetic—for example, you can view your data in a shelf mode, which shows your licenses, logins and secure notes as items on book shelves. Switching to the new Software Licenses category, the shelf mode becomes really useful: it will show you an application’s icon sitting on the shelf. Very nicely done. Overall, 1Password now fits in better with Leopard systems too.

But that’s not all. The new Software licenses category lets you add application icons by simply dragging them onto the license window, or by digging through your disk from within 1Password itself. In other words: you can add licenses of existing software by selecting the application from the File Open dialogue. The only thing you need to do, is fill in the blanks.

In fact, that’s the only thing I would have liked to see added to 1Password: if you can set up different identities anyway, why not enable one of those to be used as an identity template for software licenses, wallets, etc? It seems silly with all the automation and efficiency 1Password now provides in addition to what it already did before that I still need to fill in the blanks myself.

On the other hand, it won’t bore you to do so—1Password’s gorgeous interface is also one of the most effective in my opinion, and now you can drag attachments (license files!) to your secure data as well.
1PasswordAnywherePersonally, I love 1Password’s login features and its integration with every modern browser out there the most. I use it daily, if not several times a day, and the previous version—no matter how efficient that was—still left me craving for a way to edit login details from within the browser itself. Version 2.x didn’t support that; you had to launch 1Password and edit there.

Version 3 supports full editing of your data inside the browser. I tried this with Safari and Firefox and even with this beta version it worked like a charm. All you have to do is hold the Shift key while clicking the 1Password button in your browser’s toolbar. A dialogue will open and allow you to edit the data right in the browser without ever opening the application!

1Password’s keychain can be stored on a flash drive for added portability, and you can access that data from a browser using any operating system. Now, this not only means you can view your data in the supported browsers and applications (currently: Safari 4, Firefox 3, Camino, Flock 2, OmniWeb 5, Fluid, iCab 4, WebKit, NetNewsWire 3, DEVONagent 2…) but any browser.
The feature is called 1PasswordAnywhere and the odd thing is that you won’t find it anywhere in a menu. The way you access 1PasswordAnywhere (unless Agile Web Solutions changes this) is by opening your “1Password.agilekeychain” (right-click > Show Package Content) and dragging the HTML file to your browser. Automatically a protected web page will show as in the below screenshot I made.

1Password version 3 has more features that make life simple, such as synchronisation with various technologies, including DropBox, iPhone, Palm Treo and Pre, etc. The nicest characteristic of this application in my opinion, however, is that it actually makes managing your secure data a fun thing to do. It makes this otherwise dull and daunting task simple and intuitive, and now with the new interface you’ll want to spend more time in 1Password than ever before.

And that’s the highest acclaim security applications can deserve, because by making the management of secure data fun and simple, 1Password effortlessly stimulates secure digital behaviour, and that can’t be appreciated enough.


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