1Password, the well-known password manager app for macOS, iOS, Windows, and Android, garnered some negative attention over the last week. A combination of the company's move towards subscription and sync and away from standard licensing and local vaults, its lack of communication, and some needlessly reactionary and sensationalized headlines in the media, led to a lot of bad information being spread.
Some of that has now been corrected by co-founder Dave Teare on the AgileBits blog:
To put it bluntly, AgileBits is moving to a more sustainable business model that will allow them to better develop and support 1Password now and into the future. It's ultimately better for customers too, but people hate change and often have a hard time seeing beyond the here-and-now — even for something as important as security software. Especially in the age of pop apps, where everything is expected to be free all the time.
But it's the very age of pop apps, where everything is also mainstream, that the move to subscription and sync makes the most sense. It's why iPhones and iPad moved to iCloud backup rather than being grafted onto Time Machine. Computing has gone mainstream and mainstream computing requires solutions that are easier and friendlier.
I tried to set my family up with the old, licensed 1Password and they never stuck with or updated it. Now I'm subscribing to a family plan and I — combined with the team at AgileBits — will just handle it for them.
We're already using 1Password Teams for work, even though I work with really nerdy people, because easier and friendlier is appreciated by nerdy people too, especially when you have to scale.
I do think 1Password waited too long to over-explain what they were doing and, absent news, the worst kind of speculation runs rampant.
But, change aversion aside, I think most people will find the new 1Password model as good for them as it is for AgileBits, and they'll appreciate the security not just of their passwords being kept safe but the software itself being sustainable for years to come.
So, if you're already a 1Password user, avoid all the FUD and take your own hard look at the new direction. That's what I did, and why I'm switching to it sooner rather than later.
(I also subscribe to Creative Cloud — for some apps, it really is the better way.)
Note: You can still use local password vaults if you want to.
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.