Back in December, AgileBits released 1Password 4 for iPhone and iPad. The app presented a completely revamped take on password security, but lacked feature parity with the Mac version of the software.

Today, 1Password for Mac has been updated to version 4, bringing a ton of new features to the Mac. In fact, the update brings so many new capabilities that the Mac version of 1Password has now surpassed the iOS version in features. This is a massive release with a completely redesigned interface, overhauled browser extensions, support for new types of saved items, enhanced security, and more.

Find our complete review below:

Look and feel

The brand new design is the first thing you will notice in 1Password 4. Before you’ve even unlocked or created your first vault, the changes to the app’s aesthetic are clear.

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 11.36.01 AM

1Password 3 compared to 1Password 4 – Click for larger view

The entire app has been rebuilt from the ground up, dropping the “shelf” visual style in previous versions and adopting a simple list of saved items closer to the design of the iOS version.

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 11.41.21 AM

1Password 3 compared to 1Password 4 – Click for larger view

The list allows you to see more items on the screen at once and makes finding exactly what you’re looking for much easier. Of course, if you have a lot of saved items, scrolling through the list could still take some time.

Sorting and saving

To solve that, 1Password 4 introduces a variety of sorting options for keeping everything right where you need it most. You can add tags to your entries and save these tags to the sidebar, much like the new tagging feature in OS X Mavericks. If tags aren’t your thing, 1Password 4 also includes Smart Folders. Again, these function like their OS X namesake. You can create a folder that automatically populates with items based on a variety of filters you determine. While it may seem confusing to have both tags and smart folders, which seem to serve the same purpose, AgileBits has said that they provide both because different users like to sort their data in different ways. Those who prefer tagging or smart folders over the other can use whatever they are comfortable with or a combination of both.

The actual saved items in 1Password 4 have also received some significant updates. For instance, you can now save multiple URLs to the same login card. In 1Password 3, you would have to save a separate card for iCloud.com, the Apple Store Online, and the Apple ID management page. With 1Password 4, you can simply add all of those URLs to the same card. You can now auto-fill as many websites as you need with just one card.

Saved items can be added to a “favorites” list just like in the iOS version. This list makes it easy to find logins you frequently without having to sift through the ones you rarely use. You can also search from the 1Password mini or main 1Password window to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 12.44.07 PM

1Password 4 also adds support for multiple vaults. This is a huge feature for multi-user setups where everyone wants to save their data in 1Password but doesn’t want everyone else to have access to it. Each vault has its own password, icon, name, and lock status. Unlock the primary vault and the others will remain locked. Lock one of the secondary vaults and the other currently-unlocked vaults will remain unlocked. Unfortunately, multiple vault support doesn’t exist on iOS, but you can select separate syncing solutions for each vault.

Safety and security

1Password 4 enhances data security by encrypting more information (such as item titles and URLs), introducing a new format for the app’s data that is much faster than previous versions, and sandboxing the App Store version to comply with Apple’s requirements.

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 11.26.58 AM

Security is further enhanced by an all-new feature called Security Audit. Frequently updating your passwords is a good security measure, and Security Audit makes it much easier . This feature shows you which of your passwords have been in use for a while, giving you an idea of which ones you need to change. It can also show you if you have any duplicate passwords used across multiple sites, and if any of your passwords are weak or easy to crack.

1Password mini and browser extensions

There is no other way to put this: previous 1Password browser extensions were buggy, unreliable, and frequently failed to sync with the 1Password data base, leaving them with out-of-date information or no information at all.

1Password 4 fixes all of these problems by introducing one of my favorite new features in the update: 1Password mini. It is, as you might guess, a miniature version of 1Password that runs in the background at all times.

The mini window can be triggered anywhere at anytime with a universal keyboard shortcut (⌥ ⌘\ by default). From here you can access and search for any of your saved items, open and auto-fill websites, generate and save strong new passwords, switch to a new vault, open the main 1Password app, and make changes to any of your existing entries. Each entry in the mini app also features an “anchor” button that allows you to pop that item out into a separate window that will remain open when you close the mini app for easy access.

The browser extensions have all been updated to simply open this mini app and receive login info from it, rather than attempting to do everything within the extension. That means that instead of the extension having to sync up with the data from the app and sometimes being out of date or unable to read the database, it simply asks the app to do all the work. Because the extensions now pass the work to a native application rather than an HTML/CSS lookalike, the extensions are far more reliable and much faster.

Syncing and sharing

1Password 4 finally brings iCloud syncing to the Mac, but there’s a catch. In 1Password 4 on iOS, you can enable as many syncing solutions as you want, including Dropbox, iTunes file sharing, and iCloud. Unfortunately, in the Mac version, you can only enable one at a time. That means if you have a few iOS devices or Macs and nothing else, you can drop your dependence on Dropbox for syncing your 1Password data. If you use an Android or Windows machine, you’ll need to use Dropbox syncing, which prevents the Mac from enabling iCloud support. This can be a bit frustrating as iCloud is faster at syncing than Dropbox, and doesn’t require a third-party storage service to hold your data.

A new syncing solution has also been added to 1Password 4 on both iOS and Mac. Wi-Fi syncing allows you sync your data over a local network and requires no online storage at all, including iCloud. Setting up and using Wi-Fi Sync is quick and painless and provides additional security for your data.

If none of the syncing options suit you, you can select a specific folder to use as the sync point for your vault. This means that you’ll be able to use third-party syncing solutions like SugarSync even though they aren’t “natively” supported in 1Password.

Sharing your data with others is also possible in 1Password 4. You can now send cards to others over iMessage or email, allowing them to add these cards to their vaults for easy access to shared accounts.


There are so many great new features and tweaks in 1Password 4 that we simply can’t cover all of them in this review. In fact, when you run 1Password 4 for the first time, you’ll be presented with a welcome screen that attempts to explain all of the changes in-depth, but ends with the developers confessing that if they did that, the document would last forever, and opting to simply create a short list of previously unmentioned changes.

The fact that even the developers had a hard time finding a way to summarize all that’s new in 1Password 4 should tell you all you need to know: this is a massive update. It’s the best version of 1Password for Mac to date, and I highly recommend installing it as soon as you can.

Pricing and availablity

The best feature introduced in 1Password 4 is the upgrade price. Existing users of the App Store version can download today’s update for the low, low price of absolutely nothing. 1Password 4 is a free update from the Mac App Store.

Here’s the breakdown on other pricing options:

  • If you bought previous versions of 1Password from the AgileBits website in 2013, you will get a free upgrade to version 4.
  • If you are a new customer who doesn’t own 1Password for Mac, you’ll get a special introductory price of $39.99 on the Mac App Store and AgileBits website.
  • If you are an existing customer who purchased 1Password for Mac prior to 2013, you are eligible for a special introductory upgrade price of $24.99 from the AgileBits website.

Once the introductory prices have ended, the full price for the app will be $49.99, and the full upgrade price will be $34.99.

Yes, this price is high for a single app, but the security and ease of use provided by 1Password make it absolutely worth it. I have used 1Password for years and I cannot imagine trying to manage my passwords without it.

If you buy one app this year, make it 1Password for Mac.

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35 Responses to “Review: 1Password 4 for Mac is a massive, feature-packed update”

  1. Vadim Golub says:

    hm, I don’t see any “Wi-Fi Sync” in 1Password for iOS :(

  2. davespirit says:

    I love 1Password … used it through v3 to the Beta of 4 and now I have the final 4 release. It’s extremely useful. I still use iCloud KeyChain for passwords etc, but I use 1Password to manage my password information and bank / credit card info etc as well as software licenses. It’s a tool I can’t imagine not using anymore.

  3. I’m a long time user of 1Password and bought several licenses on different devices. I do think it the upgrade is worth every penny… but the pricing policy is not fair. Why is an upgrade free of charge for a Mac store customer? So I’m stepping out and going to look for alternatives.

    • Spyder says:

      The MAS upgrade is free because when they released the MAS version (v3.9) Apple’s policies prevented them from giving it to us as a free upgrade from v3.8. There was a massive uproar about it at the time, oh how short the collective memory is these days.

      To compensate for it they promised that MAS users would get their v4 upgrade for free.

      So, in effect, we paid for our v4 upgrade months ago. We’re the ones who had the unfair deal, not you.

    • megsobrien says:

      Hi @Jan van Arkel,

      I’m so glad to hear that you think the upgrade is worth the expense. I’d like to explain a bit more about the reasons behind our pricing policy- I do apologize if it seems a bit unfair. Our original upgrade plan for 1Password 4 was to offer free upgrades for all users who purchased 1Password 3 in 2013. That’s a nine-month upgrade window. However, the Mac App Store does not provide a mechanism for us to differentiate between users in this way, so we decided to extend the offer there to be more generous.

      I hope that helps at least a bit :)

      Megan O’Brien
      AgileBits Support

  4. As a user of 1Password since version 2 in 2008, I’m once again reminded that long-term loyalty to a software company is rewarded with…oh, wait, it isn’t rewarded…never mind.

  5. But won’t OS X Mavericks later this month have its own built in feature called iCloud Keychain for free? How does that compare to 1Password? I have been wanting to give 1Password a try but once I heard about iCloud Keychain, I have been waiting.

    • Mike Beasley says:

      I have tried both iCloud Keychain and 1Password, and I prefer 1Password a lot more. iCloud Keychain doesn’t let you access your passwords for copying/pasting into other apps (at least I couldn’t find a way on iOS) so if you’re trying to login to any app other than Safari you’re going to have a rough time with it.

      While 1Password can use iCloud to sync, you’ll always have full access to all of the stored data on any platform. It give you way more control. iCloud Keychain feels half-baked and incomplete.

  6. I used this software for several years and after buying a copy for my Mac (~$50) and another copy for my iOS devices (~$10). I can understand charging for new features, but when you take away features of the already paid for version to MAKE customers upgrade in order to continue to work (stopped supporting dropbox sync) this is wrong.

    This is the most expensive password solution out there and for the amount of money I paid already I should not have features removed because I don’t want to pay another $50-$60. Because of this move I searched for a new solution and found LastPass.

    After using LastPass for about a month now I have to say I love it. I am using the free version now but will pay the $12 a year just because I want to support them. LastPass imported all my 1Password logins, secure notes, and everything else just fine plus it scanned my computer and retrieved my wifi paswords and much more.

    If you are using iOS devices you can create a Bookmarklet and use it in Safari to fill in passords and forms, works great. Good bye 1Password, thank you LastPass.

    • Oh I agree. I have used both in the past and for the functionality offered, LastPass is way more worthy of my money than 1Password. I am not saying 1Password is worse, but for the extremely similar functionality offered, the pricing is ridiculous. Also I have never been passively screwed by lastpass and forced into paying more money to get more funtionality. For that, I would gladly pay $12/year(even more) for LastPass premium just to support them and say I love their product.

    • Mike Beasley says:

      Nothing is being removed from old versions of 1Password. 1P version 3 will continue to function as it always has.

      • Not true. 1P v3 on iOS lost the ability to sync via Dropbox (due to a change on Dropbox’s end as I recall). AgileBits added support in 1P v4 and *could* have backported that support into v3 but decided not to. So if you were previously syncing with v3, you had to pay for the upgrade if you wanted to retain functionality that had been working just fine previously.

      • Spyder says:

        @pelargir how can you presume to know what they could and couldn’t do?

        Apple don’t allow updates to apps removed from sale, so in order to fix v3 they would have to make it available again. There is no way to do that without being unfair to some segment of the customer base.

      • Raine Virta says:

        Except it won’t. The Chrome extension for 1P3 crashes continuously and the company has no incentive to fix the issue.

      • stevenjklein says:

        @pelargir It seems to me that DropBox, not AgileBits, removed syncing for 1Password 3.

        I don’t see why AgileBits should be on the hook to support a change by a 3rd party of which they have no control. They offer discounts for upgrades, including a free upgrade for users who purchased from the App Store.

        I don’t expect any software developer to offer free updates and support for eternity. That simply isn’t a sustainable business model.

        I’d like to see software developers offer:
        • A one-time purchase (with a pre-defined window of time for free tech support and upgrades) or
        • A subscription to continue that support.

        AgileBits doesn’t offer this, but I’d gladly pay $10/year (on top of my purchase price) to get all new updates.

        Having written all of that, I can’t really compare 1Password to LastPass because I only use the former.

  7. pbranham says:

    I’ve been a beta tester fro 1Password 4 for Mac and I absolutely love it. It has synced perfectly over iCloud for both of my computers and my iOS devices. I would recommend it to anyone who has to log in to multiple websites a day.

  8. Kieran Hogan says:

    I’ve used 1Password from the very beginning. It’s always been expensive and they’ve always charged extra for the iPhone AND iPad app but I didn’t mind that because the pace of development and improvement was rapid in the early days but after version 3 was released it all went downhill. I suspect several of their team took the money and ran. Development stalled to a complete crawl. Features WERE removed (the Safari iOS bookmarklet being a prime example), other features ceased to function correctly because the app was not updated all while competitors overtook them in both features and value for money. Version 4 seems like a good product but for me, it’s too little, too late.

  9. Andrew Hoehn says:

    To echo what other long-term users of 1Password have said – it’s great software, but I get sick of re-buying it for every device and version.

    Right now they have specials running – but if you were to pay MSRP for 1Password on your Mac & PC, you’d be paying $70. Add the iOS version, and you’re up to $88.

    Nevermind the fact that you’re more or less guaranteed to spend another $20-30 every time there’s a new version. Or the fact that they’ll do things like abandon a previous version of their iOS app and make you re-buy it for another $18 to get continued support and updates.

    I added up all the licensing fees I’ve paid to Agile since I embraced 1Password 5-years ago. It was over $120. For a single user. Not including the cost of upgrading to V4 of the mac app.

    Is $25/year unreasonable to pay for good software that I use every day? Probably not, though it’s 2x more expensive than LastPass’s $12/yr. Do I feel jilted every time I pay out for a new version? Absolutely.

    1Password works well. I’ll probably shell out the cash and buy version 4, but I’ll do it with a bit of rage in my heart, and very little goodwill towards the company whose software I’m buying. I’ll do it because I’ve bought in to their ecosystem, and it’s worth $25 to not have to transfer my files over to a new system, or risk trusting a version of their software that’s been moved to the back-burner with my sensitive data.

    And when anyone asks if they should consider 1Password – I’ll tell them no.

    On a related note – how difficult is it to migrate from 1Password to LastPass?

    • megsobrien says:

      Hi Andrew,

      I am sorry to hear that there is rage in your heart. We’d very much prefer to have happy users. If it makes any difference, I’d like to explain a bit about why we’ve made 1Password 4 a paid upgrade.

      When 1Password 3 was released way back in November 2009 it was the first paid upgrade in AgileBits’ history. Since then we released 66 free upgrades to 1Password 3. These 66 free updates included 738 changes and are detailed in 1Password’s release notes here:


      Many of these 738 changes were huge ones that required months of development work. For example, 1Password 3.6 added support for OS X Lion which required a complete rewrite of the browser extensions to support the new architecture Apple introduced in Safari (Firefox and Chrome were also making big changes at the time).

      After nearly 4 years, 66 free updates, and 738 improvements we decided it was time to have a paid upgrade for 1Password 4 so that we could continue development.

      As for 1Password 4, it required huge changes “under the hood” to enable many new features. You can see many of the new features highlighted in our Welcome to 1Password guide:


      All these new features required over a year of work from a large development team and was very expensive. Despite this we wanted to give our existing customers the best possible experience. Paying customers are the only reason we’re able to do what we love so we gave our loyal customers an upgrade path that provides 50% discount off the regular purchase price.

      We hope you see the value of the features in 1Password 4 and decide to upgrade. If you decide not to upgrade at this time, that’s fine too. You are not forced to upgrade. We continue to support 1Password 3 and you’re welcome to continue using it.

      I hope that helps explains why 1Password 4 is a paid upgrade and demonstrates how much we love supporting our customers. We wouldn’t be here with out you.


      Megan O’Brien
      AgileBits Support

  10. Bill Smells says:

    Don’t forget the mention the Family Pack pricing. Works on 5 computers and they have a multi-platform price too (Mac and PC, 5 machines). This is a HUGE help if you have a Mac and virtualize Windows and want to share passwords between the two.

    • I just don’t get it, why do you guys keep putting forward pricing? At every price point 1password gets killed by LastPast. For 12$/y I currently have it installed on 1x Mac (including in a Parallels VM), 1x PC, an iPhone, an iPad and an Android phone. Why would I want to buy a $100 Mac + Windows bundle ??? and BTW where the Mac + Windows + iOS bundle ? That would be something between $125 and $150 !

      And getting back to the initial reviewer’s comments – i.e. “I have used 1Password for years and I cannot imagine trying to manage my passwords without it.”

      You obviously haven’t tried that hard.

  11. Been a client since 2007, bought over time the Windows and iPhone versions as well, but I’m disappointed as you got greedy and priced yourself out of the market. 36€ for the Mac version, 16 for the iPhone, that’s 52€ without even the Windows version. Not even taking into account the weaker $ vs. €, I can get over *4 years* of LastPass premium, enjoy all the updates for free (unlike your next update), and use it over all my computers and mobile devices.

  12. I hope they fix printing a password list from 1Password 4.

    • megsobrien says:

      Hey John,

      Our developers are working to get the print feature back online for 1Password 4. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a timeframe, but it is definitely on our to-do list :)

      Megan O’Brien
      AgileBits Support

  13. You really have no choice but to buy this so your security is up to date. Nevertheless, the changes were not worth a new version. Looks nice, and there are a few things like Favorites which are useful, as the Favorites function is in the iOS v4, but the app was not re-thought like a new version should be.

    For instance, one problem with compatibility with OSX: OSX does not permit you to copy and paste into the Administrator’s login dialog box. Why not provide a Reveal function on the 1Password mini so you can type in your password in the login box? Or in each 1Password 4 file you have to click on a dropdown menu to select reveal, and then click on reveal. Redundant! If there are only two options: copy or reveal, why not just toggle reveal and copy? Moreover, when your data is imported from v3 to v4, ALL THE ATTACHMENTS ARE DELETED. I sent AgileBits a question about this days ago and they have yet to answer. AgileBits has always had very slow support turnaround times.

    Furthermore, they deleted useful functions from v3 such as printing a file. That’s not a new version! That is an old version with new graphics.

    Moreover, there are pretty substantial bugs in iOS v4, e.g. the iOS v4 app will unilaterally switch files so that you are suddenly not looking at the file you selected. Why not sort out the bugs in iOS 4 before doing a new OSX version? Of course the answer is obvious: $$$. Unfortunately, in the rush for profits, they made some graphical changes, and did not bother to think they had to make a decent app. At the very least they could have left in the functions from the last version.

    Finally, I have read some professional reviews praising v4. Don’t believe the hype. I don’t think the reviewers are very independent.

    • megsobrien says:

      Hi Steven,

      I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been having difficulties with 1Password 4. You’re right, our support times are currently a lot slower we would like. Please note that our developers have fixed the attachment issue – updating 1Password should help set things right. However, if you are still having trouble, or have any further questions, I’d like to offer my personal support. If you send your email to support@ agilebits .com and include ‘Attn: Megan’ in the subject line, I’ll keep an eye out for it and be sure we get this sorted out. :)


      Megan O’Brien
      AgileBits Support

  14. I will echo what many already have said: nice piece of software, but way too expensive compared to LastPass, and I don’t have nice (or even polite) words for the v4 pricing.

    I have been a 1password customer for many years, and paid for the Mac, Windows and iOS versions, but LastPass is better in several ways, and now I just 12$/y for all my devices, with no hidden upgrade fees.

    As a bonus, I can ditch Dropbox for syncing, which I was using nowadays only for 1password. Like many have noticed, SkyDrive is as good as Dropbox now, and much cheaper per Gb.

    In both cases, you guys sat on your laurels too long, and got greedy – a classic.

    Schumpeterian creative destruction in effect.

  15. Just bought 1password for Mac. Do I have to purchase 1password for iPad/iPhone? I paid 50$ for the Mac version and I have to pay $17 more???

    • megsobrien says:

      Hi Paul,
      1Password licenses are sold on a per-user, per platform basis, which means that a license for 1Password 4 for Mac will allow you to install 1Password 4 on as many Macs as you personally use, but 1Password 4 for iOS is a separate purchase.

      We have our software available individually on each platform to make it easier to meet each customer’s unique needs without charging them for software that they don’t need. Because we offer 1Password on such a variety of platforms, we have found this method allows the most flexibility for our users.

      Now, I know that paying full price for software isn’t fun. So, please email your purchase receipt for 1Password 4 for Mac in to support+social@ agilebits .com and we’ll see what we can do. ;)


      Megan O’Brien
      AgileBits Support

  16. riverboatmike says:

    After trying to use 1Password for Mac 4 for the last month or so, I have to say that overall I am very disappointed. Sure it works well when it works, but for me that has only been about half the logons that I have. There is no pattern that I can discern. It seems I have paid a lot of money for something which has no trouble devising a secure password, but can only occasionally remember what it was!

    • riverboatmike says:

      Actually, just checked the actual numbers. 1Password has only worked for 6 out of 22 logins!

      • megsobrien says:

        Hi Mike,

        Thanks for taking the time to write your thoughts here. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re disappointed with 1Password! 6 out of 22 is not a good success ratio for Logins at all, so I certainly don’t blame you for feeling frustrated. I’d love to help get 1Password behaving better for you. Could you please send me an email at support+social@ agilebits .com with a few of the URLs that are giving you trouble? I’d be happy to do some testing and see where things are getting tangled up.

        I’m confident that we can get this sorted out for you!

        Megan O’Brien
        AgileBits Support