Introduction - Take Control of 1Password (1.2.1) (2014)

Take Control of 1Password (1.2.1) (2014)


Nobody likes dealing with passwords. After all, they exist solely as barriers to keep unauthorized people from accessing Web sites, servers, and other digital resources. Entering the occasional password is no big deal, but when you’re prompted for passwords dozens of times a day—forced to prove, over and over, that you are who you say you are—it can be mighty annoying.

Naturally, people take shortcuts to reduce that annoyance, such as picking short, easy-to-type passwords and reusing the same password everywhere. Unfortunately, those shortcuts also make it easier for another person (or, more likely, a computer) to guess your password, which can lead to all sorts of nasty consequences. And that sticky note or cheat sheet that makes it easier for you to find your passwords can make it equally easy for a thief or snoop.

1Password solves these problems, making it convenient to be secure. It offers a painless way to create, store, and enter passwords—so every one of them can be unique and strong without any extra effort. Because all your passwords are protected with a single, master password, that’s the only one you have to remember—hence the name 1Password. Once you’ve unlocked 1Password, logging in to any Web site is as simple as pressing a keyboard shortcut or clicking a button.

Nearly every Web browser can save and fill passwords, too, but 1Password is more versatile because it lets you use a single tool for all major browsers and platforms—and it safely syncs your data among them automatically. 1Password can also fill in other information on Web forms (such as your addresses and credit card numbers) and it can store software licenses, notes, and any other data you want to keep secure. It’s not the only password manager out there, but I’ve tried many others and 1Password is my favorite by far.

Merely installing 1Password won’t magically fix all your password problems. You’ll need to configure it to meet your personal needs and tastes, add your existing passwords, and identify the workflow that suits you best. In this book, I walk you through that entire process. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or a seasoned 1Password user, I’ll help you discover how to use 1Password to its best advantage.

This book isn’t meant to replace the 1Password documentation or to be an exhaustive reference guide. Instead, I concentrate on the most common tasks you’re likely to perform and help you find the quickest and easiest ways to accomplish them. In the process, I show you some cool features that you may have overlooked and share my favorite tips.

I cover only the latest versions of 1Password as of publication time—4.4 for Mac, 1.0.9 for Windows, 4.5 for iOS, and 1.8.5 for Android (although I mention updated Windows and Android versions, which are in beta testing). I spend more time talking about the desktop (Mac and Windows) versions than the mobile (iOS and Android) versions, and I put particular emphasis on 1Password 4.4 for Mac. (If you’re upgrading from an older Mac version, please see Deal with Version 4 Changes for help with the transition.)

The core features of 1Password are pretty much the same on every platform, and I call attention to platform-specific differences as necessary. As 1Password changes, I’ll do my best to keep you up to date; be sure to follow the instructions in Ebook Extras, near the end of this book, to check for new versions of this book and read posts to the book’s blog. Due to the rapid pace of new releases, some aspects of the book may go out of sync with the newest versions of 1Password, so if you see something here that doesn’t quite match what’s on your screen, that’s likely why—and I’ll get to it as soon as possible.

Once you’ve mastered 1Password, you may want to learn more about password security—things like how password attacks work, what makes multi-factor authentication useful, how to deal with security questions, why everyone needs an emergency password plan, and how a password manager such as 1Password fits into a larger password strategy. I cover all this and much more in my book Take Control of Your Passwords, which serves as a companion to this one.