You read that right. I don’t know a single one of my passwords anymore. Like most of you I used to use a handful (read 1) of passwords for all of my online logins. I knew this was risky, but my brain wasn’t going to remember a wide variety of weird combinations for every single login. I resisted getting a password manager because it seemed like a huge pain. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I started using 1Password a year ago and it has quickly become one of my favorite tech tools.
What is 1Password
From a high level 1Password is a vault that stores all of your passwords. You create a single, very long master password that unlocks this vault. It holds not only passwords, but can also hold notes, copies of documents etc. 1Password will also auto generate complex passwords for you. You choose the length and amount of special characters based on the requirements of each site. Here is a quick overview video from 1Password.
To start you sign up for 1Password (they offer a free 30 day trial), create your master password and set up your vault. I detail the different experiences between desktop and laptop below. I primarily used Google Chrome’s “save password for later” before 1Password. The first thing I did was go through each saved password in Google and created a new password using the 1Password password generator. Finally I wasn’t using the same password across multiple sites. To date I have logins saved for over 200 sites! No wonder I used the same password – no way I could remember 200 unique passwords.
1Password on your desktop
On your desktop you can download an extension to your browser. In my case I downloaded the Chrome extension. When I launch Chrome I login to my Vault via the extension and I have access to my passwords. If I close Chrome or my computer is idle for too long I have to login with the master password again.
The other great feature is that the extension pops up when I am logging into an account it doesn’t recognize and asks to save my password. If you are creating a new login the extension allows you to quickly generate a new complex password and saves it to your vault.
1Password on your phone
You download the 1Password app to your phone and all of your vault information is now on your phone. I suggest adding the ability to unlock 1Password with your fingerprint, since retyping your very long master password manually on your tiny phone keyboard is a pain.
I have an iPhone, but use the Chrome browser on my phone. 1Password works better if you use Safari on your iPhone since it offers more options to automatically fill in your login information. I loved using 1Password on my previous Google phone with Chrome since the integration was tighter between Chrome – Google – 1Password, but I have made it work. I just go to the 1 Password app and use the 1 click copy feature to copy and paste my password into the corresponding app or website.
There is a bit of a learning curve, but it is worth the additional security and the freedom of not having to remember all of your passwords. The biggest learning curve is realizing that you don’t actually know any of your passwords. For instance my son asked me to put the password for Netflix into the TV. I had no idea what the login was. I grabbed my phone and then typed in the password as I read it off my phone. My son said “Wow – even if I tried I would never remember that password!” Mission accomplished.
I like 1Password so much, and feel online password security is so important, that I set it up for my mom as well. It was a good test of usability as my mom gets easily frustrated when technology doesn’t “just work”. It took a little bit of time for her to adjust, but now she also loves it.
We access so much financial and personal information online that we can’t simply ignore password security. I highly encourage you to check out 1Password and step up your online security measures.
Got a friend who uses the same password on every site? Send them this info about 1Password so they can forget all of their passwords as well.