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I have over 400 Apps on my iOS devices, however there are a few that I use every single day and rely on. 1Password is one of those Apps. I couldn’t imagine life without it. For starters I used to be like many of you in that I was using the same password for just about everything. Then it hit me! What if one the sites that I do business with was hacked (oh that could never happen right?) and my user name and password was exposed to the wild. The damage could be quite severe. Not only would that site be compromised, but it wouldn’t take a genius to figure “hey I wonder if he uses that password on other sites?” Off they go stealing my identity, money, credit rating, and more… A couple of years ago I decided that this had to stop. I wanted custom passwords for each site AND I didn’t want them to be easy to figure out. Basically random letters, numbers and symbols. Of course the only problem with that is remember which random password I used on which site. There was no way I’d remember, so I invested in 1Password. I liked it so much that I bought the Mac version too and since it syncs the encrypted password file with Dropbox.com, I was in heaven. My passwords were accessible on all my devices and I’ll I’d have to do is remember the one complicated “master password” that I setup.

1Password version 4.0 is here

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1Password version 4 has been rewritten from the ground up with lots of little enhancements. First off there is no more separate versions for regular, pro, universal, etc. Now there’s just one Universal version to buy that works on any iOS device running IOS 6 or later. 1Password 4 is a brand new App and therefore it’s a new purchase. You can still use 3.x, but if you want the new features you’ll have to pony up a few bucks. Speaking of which it’s on sale for a limited time at 50% Off as basically a way of thanking existing users and letting them get the new version at half price (or you can look at it as the upgrade price). The redesign is visually pleasing and probably my favorite new feature is the Favorites Tab. Since I have hundreds of entries in the App for everything from website logins, to credit card numbers, to email passwords, to FTP passwords to software serial numbers, it can be quite a pain looking for the ones I use all the time. The Favorites feature lets me add my frequently used passwords to one spot so that I can always get to them faster.

The next welcomed addition is iCloud sync. In addition to Dropbox you can have it sync your encrypted password file between your devices using iCloud. Not sure that I see an advantage over Dropbox, but it’s nice to have the option. The only downside to iCloud sync is that the desktop clients haven’t been updated yet therefore you’ll only be syncing via iCloud between iOS devices at this point.

A smooth transition – You install version 4 right alongside version 3. Once you launch it you can bring all your data over via Dropbox or an import. Version 4 also works fine with the Desktop versions for Mac/Win which are still at version 3.

Built-in Password Generator in more places – one of my other favorite features of 1Password is that it can generate those random passwords for me. You can tell it how long the password should be and it makes one for you and of course offers you the ability to save it in the login you’re creating.

Take advantage of the web browser – It wasn’t obvious to a lot of people how to use 1Password. Once you have all those password in the App, then what? The most frequently used way to access your password was probably to tap on it then tap copy and paste it in where ever you needed it. However, 1Password has always had a built-in web browser that is password aware. When you create a web login at say mybank.com you can also include the URL. Now in 1Password when you tap to go to mybank.com it will launch the built-in browser, take you to the site and fill in your user name and password for you. You can do everything in that browser on the site securely and without any history concerns because you’re not using Safari. Now the browser is a little more prevalent because you can swipe to bring it up at any time.

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Great, but…

I like the new version a lot, but there is one big thing they changed that I think I prefer the old way better. In the old 1Password for iOS you had both a Master Password and a PIN. You could choose on an entry by entry basis to make it require the master password or not. So for your more sensitive entries for say your bank site, someone that knew your pin still wouldn’t be able to access your account without also knowing the master password. Now the Master Password works for everything and while there is a “quick pin” to gain access to the App it’s only for use when you’ve already unlocked the App with the master password and perhaps your device goes to sleep and you want to quickly get back in. You can just type the 4 digit pin. Once it locks at the regular timed interval, you’ll need to enter your (long and probably hard to type on an iOS keyboard) master password. The other small thing I’d like to see is a search field at the root level of the Categories tab. The only issue I’ve had is that in the desktop version I have about 5 email accounts defined, however in this new version only one shows up as an “email acct”. The others are showing up as generic accounts.

The Bottom Line

If you’re still using the same password for most of the stuff you do, then you’re simply asking for trouble. If you’re ready to be more secure then step up to 1Password for iOS version 4 and sleep at night.

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