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There are loads of great applications available for Mac OS X that I just love and that make my day to day computing experience so pleasurable. Coda, TextExpander, Things, Billings and of course 1Password. It’s this endless library of quality software that makes choosing to use a Mac over a Windows based PC a very easy one.

1Password for the Mac is the first application I install on to a new mac and I recommend it to everyone. It just works so well, I use it to store all of my clients data, FTP details, general account info etc. The fact that you can also login into websites automatically is just a nice added bonus for me.

I’ve had a copy for my iPad and iPhone and always found these versions to be serviceable but unspectacular, partly to be fair to the limiations of iOS. This brings me to my main point, 1Password 4 for iOS 6, and I think you do have to be running iOS 6 to install it so that’s a shame to those owners of older iOS devices.

Last week I received an email from Agile Bits the makers of 1Password promoting their new version 4 for iOS. I promptly headed over to the App store to check it out. The new GUI looked cool and it had some decent reviews so I thought I would make the purchase for my new iPad Mini even though it’s £5.49 which is quite expensive for an upgrade. Of course it’s been “written from the ground up” this seems the standard way these days to justify full price for an upgrade. I should also say that it’s currently £5.49 as it’s under an introductory offer, normally it will sell for around £12.00.

It downloaded and connected to my existing data file located on Dropbox no problem at all and it quickly added all of my data, so far so good. My intial reaction was a postive one, there’s no denying it looks good but then I started to notice the odd decisions that Agile Bits have made in this new version.

The main one being that there’s no longer a standard account category. So all my 50 or so client accounts are now just thrown into the logins category. With me also having logins for these clients it just means that all my data is just in a mess basically all in one category. How can a generic account be categorised as a login? I just can’t understand why they have taken this decision. I actually emailed Agile Bits and they say it’s because they wanted to keep the interface clean and that brings me on to my second point.

So you can’t create a generic account anymore but driving licences, outdoor licences and reward programs are all catered for. So they’ve removed the most important category and added ones that no one will use. Last time I looked I only had one passport and driving licence and unless I take up fishing or hunting I’ll never need the outdoor licence category so why not just create a collective category called licences? bizarre!

The final addition that I find strange is the built in web browser which lets you log into websites like you can in the Mac version. I’ve found this to be buggy but it just seems like a silly idea. It would be great if they could build the 1Passsword login system into the iOS version of Safari but using this built in browser just doesn’t work for me as you have to launch Safari in the end anyway to gain access to a fully featured browser and all that brings with it. Why would you choose to launch 1Password, access their built in browser log into a website and then launch Safari via it.

It’s not all bad, like I say the new GUI is really nice, there’s now iCloud Support and best of all it finally supports attachments. I really hope they return the generic account category but until they do I won’t be buying this for my iPhone.

Update, Agile Bits have been back in touch for a second time. I am pleased about this, at least they are listening to their users which is not that common these days, so good for them. They are considering my feedback so watch this space.

Second update 3rd Dec 2013, Agile Bits have just sent a new email to me saying that they have had loads of requests for categories. To get around this issue they are going to allow the user to create their own templates. I little bit like you can in Address Book where you can add / delete fields. This sounds really cool and a perfect solution. Only slight glitch is they don’t have any time frame for this. I really hope this does get added the software for both iOS and Mac and its not just a quick way to appease me.

To be fair to Agile Bits though they seem like a decent company who care about their users and they have been very receptive so far so here’s hoping.

Thanks for reading, please let me know what you think!

  • Aaron1

    I personally use SplashData’s SplashID Safe and I never had issues about record categorization. Although it has some ready to use categories provided, the record system is highly customizable for organization purposes of hundred records whether for personal or business use.

    • Ricky55

      I’ll have a look at that Aaron cheers mate. I know it sounds a bit lame but I’ve never really looked it to an alternative, like I said in my post though up until this new version I’ve never had any desire or need to.

      Perhaps something that is more business focused might be more suited to my needs as 1Password is very broadly aimed.

      Thanks again and thanks for commenting, only been going a short while and I have a lot of ideas for new content.

  • A Owen

    The automatic login feature is one of the main reasons why I love 1Password. I could not imagine having to ‘sign in’ anymore. The fact that all my passwords are saved is such a relief especially for sites that I rarely use and then have to go through the ‘forgot password’ process to access the information that I need.

    • Ricky55

      Well yes it is a nice feature, each to their own I guess. For me its the data storage that I use it the most for.

  • Thank you for the post, Richard!

    I wanted to reply to some of your questions:

    1. 1Password 4 is a universal app. There is no need to purchase it separately for iPhone. This was one of the reasons we went with a new app, we wanted to get rid of the confusion of having three different (iPhone, iPad, Universal) apps in the store. Another reason for the new app: complete rewrite for iOS 6 (version 3 still had quite a bit of iOS 2 and iOS 3 code in it).

    2. Version 3 had a somewhat artificial grouping of items in Account and Wallet. For some items it was very hard to choose a group. For example, at some point we wanted to add an item for photo equipment records and it just didn’t fit anywhere. In 1Password 4, all categories are shown together, there is no extra grouping. It possible to reorder the list as needed.

    3. In 1Password 4 we added an ability to add custom fields and multiple URLs to almost any item type. With this change the difference between a Login and a Generic Account type became unclear. It is now possible to have a Login without a URL. If we had a Generic Account type then it would be possible to add a URL to it, effectively making it a Login. This is the main reason we removed the Generic Account type. We wanted to avoid confusion but it certainly created a problem for everyone who relied on Generic Account items. I am not sure how to resolve this issue at the moment.

    4. It would be great if we could extend the Mobile Safari similar to Safari on Mac. Unfortunately, it is not possible in iOS at the moment, Mobile Safari does not support the extensions.

    I hope this helps. Thanks again for the feedback!

    Founder of AgileBits

  • Ricky55

    Hi Roustem

    Thanks for taking the time to post a comment on this, I really appreciate you taking the time out.

    Regarding your first point, I obviously didn’t realise it was a universal App, I can now see why it seemed expensive.

    Regarding the third point you raise, I can understanding your reasoning for this but as a user I still need a way to separate a login from a generic account or an FTP account as many of my clients are set up as. I know this would perhaps be a major shake up but why not let users just make their own categories based on five or six templates (similar to what you have now) and then just let these appear under the Vault as whatever the user has called them. The user could also specify the icon to be used.

    Regarding point 4, yes I know about this restriction, its a real shame as this is really what 1Password 4 needs.

    I think my main gripe was just that everything was bumped into one category and that the Mac version no longer ties up with the iOS version which to my mind isn’t right.

    Cheers Richard