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You can never be too safe with your personal information on the internet. Passwords get cracked, databases get stolen, and web services sometimes ignore good security practices when storing your login information. Most people will tell you that you need to use a strong password on every website you use, and to use a different password on each site. Remembering all of those passwords and usernames can be a hassle though.

Up until September of 2011, I used the same password, or a variation of it, on nearly every website I used. One day I realized that was pretty stupid. After a service I used had been hacked and thousands of passwords had been stolen (thankfully mine was not included), I decided it was time to get smart with my passwords. I purchased 1Password at the recommendation of several users that I knew and have not looked back since.

I initially imagined it would be difficult to deal with a browser plugin and an iPhone app for storing all of my login info, but it proved to be much easier than I thought. In fact, it was so easy that I started recommending it to everyone I know.

Today, 1Password for iOS has received a complete overhaul. The update is pricey, but is it worth the money? Dive into the full review after the break to find out.

Design

1Password 4 has been completely redesigned. There are so few design commonalities between the new version and the previous one that I was afraid I might get lost in the app. The opposite was actually true. I found the new design easy to navigate and found that it was much cleaner and less redundant than the old version.

The new app features four main tabs: Favorites, Categories, Folders, and Settings.

The Favorites tab is hands-down one of my favorite new features. In 1Password 3, you had to scroll a list of all of every password you had saved looking for the one you needed. With 1Password 4, you can mark items as favorites, much like you can do with contacts in the Phone app, for quick access. This tab alone has made such an impact on how fast I can track down my passwords that I honestly cannot imagine living without it.

1P4_iPhone_favorites

From this page, I can be logged into any site in as little as three taps. Tapping each item brings up additional info including the login name and the password, which is “starred” out with bullet points, but can be easily copied by tapping on it and selecting “Copy”. You can also reveal the password the same way, allowing you to read it and type it into another computer if you’re trying to login on a machine that isn’t your own and don’t want to install 1Password (and your personal data) on it.

The second tab is a list of all of the items you’ve saved, from credit card info to login information, and even software license keys, all stored in helpful categories. There is one thing I don’t like about this page, and would love to see changed in a future update. In order to search through your various saved passwords, you have to open a category first. I’d prefer to see the search bar at the top of the Categories page rather than hidden away like that for quicker access. Still, I really can’t complain about the new search feature, something I would have loved in version 3.

The third tab is for custom folders which you can fill up with whatever info you’d like, sort of like a customizable version of the Categories tab. The last tab is for adjusting settings like Dropbox and iCloud syncing as well as the option to set a quick-unlock PIN number for unlocking the app while multitasking.

Unlike the previous version, however, the quick PIN cannot be used to unlock the app if you start it without multitasking. This is change was made for security purposes, and the 1Password team has confirmed that the option won’t be coming back. Personally, I’m OK with this change. Having to enter my Master Password isn’t much of a hassle and I appreciate the additional security it provides.

Browser

There is a fifth tab in 1Password 4, and it is by far my favorite feature in the new feature.

1P4_iPhone_web_tabs

The previous version featured a very limited in-app webview that let you open websites in the app and automatically insert your login credentials. The new version sports a fully-featured browser, complete with an address bar and support for multiple tabs.

This improved browser means you can copy a link from other apps, paste them into the address bar, then use a button on the toolbar to select a login to auto-fill. If you’re so inclined, you can even use the 1Password browser for all of your iOS web browsing needs. I did notice that there was a lot of lag when managing the tabs in the browser, but I’ve been assured by the developers that they are already working on a performance fix.

More Changes

While the bulk of the changes are to the design of the app, there is also a host of other changes that make 1Password 4 a great update. Your vault items can now be synced via iCloud between multiple iOS devices. Until 1Password for Mac is updated, however, iCloud support won’t be available on the Mac. You can enable both Dropbox and iCloud syncing at the same time.

Multiple URLs can also be associated with the same login, meaning you can stop having two separate (yet identical) logins for different domain names leading to the same service (for example. you can now assign login.netflix.com and netflix.com to the same item).

The Action Bar lets you reach certain actions quickly by swiping items in your favorites list or any other view. One of these actions is Smart Copy, which automatically copies your password to your clipboard without having to actually open the card and tap the password.

The app can also be used to generate strong passwords just like the Mac version, and passwords can be cleared automatically from your clipboard after a predetermined period of time to make sure you don’t accidentally paste them anywhere you don’t want them.

Finally, the new app includes a special “demo mode” which can be enabled in the Settings and triggered by entering the word “demo” as the Master Password. This handy mode hides your info and fills the app with fake logins so that you can show it off to your friends without revealing your passwords, usernames, credit card numbers, and more.

It’s safe to say that this is a massive update. In fact, this list barely scrapes the surface of the new features available in 1Password 4.

Availability

1Password 4.0 is available on the App Store now. While the regular price is $17.99, you can get it for a special launch price of $7.99. It requires iOS 6, and is a universal app that works on the iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, and iPhone 5.

If you just recently purchased the previous version, you won’t need to pay anything. According to the 1Password website, the good folks at Agilebits will “take care of” anyone who purchased version 3 after November 15th.

If you purchased 1Password 3 for iOS after November 15th, 2012, let us know. Simply email your App Store receipt to GiveMe1Password4Please@agilebits.com and we’ll take care of you.

There’s also a bit of good news for users of 1Password for Mac. While version 4 is currently still in development, Agilebits has confirmed that it will be a free update to anyone who previously purchased the app through the Mac App Store.

Check out the full gallery of screenshots below.