First look: 1Password 4 for iOS

No doubt secreted away in multiple, remote, undisclosed -- likely underground, Batcave-esque -- locations, AgileBits has been working on an all-new version of their highly-rated security app, 1Password. Re-coded and re-designed, 1Password 4 brings a simplified design language and experience to iOS, yet also manages to ramp up the power and convenience. Unfortunately, I can't show you everything -- they're protecting it with hockey sticks and cattle brands and I can't take that kind of pain -- but I can show you some of the new vault view on the iPhone version.

Master password

If you've used previous versions of 1Password for iOS, you're no doubt familiar with the double-barrel protection scheme that's pin code lock + master password. Well, it seems they had a tussle for dominance and pin-code lock lost out, because it's gone. Now, like the desktop version, you have but one master password to rule them all. (You can, however, set a quick unlock pin-code for use when switching back-and-forth between 1Password and other apps.)


Once you've unlocked 1Password 4, you're in the vault view by default. There are several tabs in the vault view, in standard iOS fashion, the first of which is Favorites. You can mark any login, secure note, credit card, generated password, software license, or bank account as a favorite and then get to that subset of really important items quickly and conveniently via the Favorites tab. (Just like Favorites in the Phone app.)


The next tab over is Categories, and that's where the vast majority of your secured information lives. Sub-categories include logins, secure notes, credit cards, generated passwords, software licenses, and bank accounts. Everything is sorted alphanumerically, as you'd expect, and you can easily add an item to any category. Depending on the type of item, you can have as little information stored as username, password, and login URL, or as much as complete bank or credit card account, branch information, limits and rates. There's also an all items view... with search!


If Favorites is a single list of your most frequently and urgently needed information, and Categories is the fire hose of everything, Folders sits somewhere in between as a way to group items that's likely be used together based on specific projects or contexts. For example, a work folder could keep all the items you need for routine portal and services access, and a New Thing sub-folder could keep all the items you want handy for that super-secret app you're developing, etc. A Financial folder could hold all your money-related logins and accounts. On the personal side, if you're taking care of a loved one who can't manage their own accounts any more, you can likewise collect them all in one place so you can more easily help them out without having to search through long lists every time.


Settings is, as always, where a lot of the awesome geeky stuff is hanging out. You've got sections for security, sync, and data, a news feed, and quick access to Help. Some of the goodies here include the aforementioned quick unlock code, a way to automatically clear the clipboard so your copied passwords don't stay in memory, and iCloud as a sync option. Dropbox is, of course, still there for cross-platform users and -- wait for it -- you can use iCloud and Dropbox at the same time.

1Password 4

Security is perpetually at war with convenience, and password managers are the front line troops that help us stay safe and still live our lives. 1Password 4 has been redone from pixel to bit with just that focus in mind. There's no word yet on when 1Password 4 will be released, but AgileBits certainly appears to have all engines well past the redline. Hopefully we'll get to see more soon...

In the meantime, if you want the current version of 1Password, you can grab it here:

Update: AgileBits sent us a statement on pricing:

1Password 4 for iOS is a brand new app. It will require a purchase. There will be a special price available at launch time. The existing 1Password iOS apps will no longer be sold. They will continue to be supported, will sync with 1Password 4 and be available for download in the "Purchased" section of iTunes.

I'm really happy to hear this. Apple should implement upgrade pricing in the App Store, but in the meantime, this is the only solution developers are afforded. Offering a discount at launch is a classy way to mitigate upgrade cost for existing users, similar to upgrade pricing. Bottom line, I like it when developers can afford to feed their families, and make successful, long-lasting businesses that can create more great apps and updates in the future. Most of us don't work for free; neither should developers.

Rene Ritchie

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.