Some background on the subject:
1Password may complain about the “classic browser extension” requiring an update. 1Password works with our browsers (Safari, Firefox and Chrome) by installing an “extension” – a small piece of software in the browser which lets 1Password and the browser work together to auto-fill usernames and passwords and prompt you to save logins when you sign into a new site. This integration is a vital part of the 1Password experience.
Without going into *too* much technobabble detail, the bottom line is that Firefox and Chrome browsers use an aging “framework” (programming code in the browser), and support of that old code is ending in July. The 1Password extension for Firefox and Chrome both require that framework and without it, 1Password’s extension had to be rewritten.
Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but 1Password’s architecture has also changed. Over a year ago, 1Password was rewritten (to version 8). Prior to version 8, the 1Password programmers had to write and maintain several different versions of the program – one version for Windows, another version for Macs, a third version for iPhones and iPads and a fourth version for Android phone users. This obviously became an unsustainable headache for them as a company, so they rewrote 1Password from the ground up, using a newer programming platform (called “Electron”) which allows them to write the program once and compile it for all the different computer and phone platforms. The efficiency gain for their programmers is enormous.
To keep 1Password users’ data as secure as possible, modernize things and keep our 1Password data reliably synced across our various devices, 1Password 8 made a second change – users must now subscribe to a 1Password account. In previous versions of 1Password, users had an option to keep their 1Password vault file locally (ultra secure), or optionally share it with their other devices via Dropbox or iCloud. Syncing via Dropbox and iCloud is longer an option in 1Password 8.
The good news about 1Password 8:
- 1Password is much better at staying in sync across our various devices.
- 1Password accounts are affordable – a single user account is $2.99/month
- 1Password seems to work across a wider range of sites, as well as some apps (reducing the need to copy/paste passwords into third-party apps).
- If you have the need to share some of your 1Password logins, notes, etc, with another user, 1Password for Families or 1Password for Business accounts are available. This allows you to choose which 1Password data you share and which you keep private.
The iffy/bad news about 1Password 8:
- Because 1Password is now written in a different, cross-platform programming language, it looks and feels a tad different. The new user interface takes a little getting used to.
- The popular “1Password Mini” app (which appears in your menu bar) has been completely redesigned.
- Some features are missing or have moved. One example is the “Password Generator” tool (to create unique and complex passwords). This useful feature is missing entirely in the 1Password app and only available in the browser extension. They say they’re working on it.
- Searching for items is a bit wonky – you now have to click a “Show all matching items” button to see more than 8 search results.
- There is now a monthly/annual fee to use 1Password.
- While most security experts trust the encryption mechanisms on which 1Password is built (our 1Password vault data is encrypted on their servers in the cloud and while in transit across the internet), some ultra-security conscious users absolutely refuse to store their most secure usernames and password data on a server on the internet. The lack of a local-only vault in 1Password 8 has a few users choosing not to continue using 1Password.
I’m still committed to 1Password (even version 8) and they seem to be listening to their users with updated versions. I’m seeing the 1Password support staff actively responding to questions and feature requests on their user forums (https://1password.community/categories/1password-for-mac). But users who click the “upgrade” button and aren’t aware of the changes tend to be a bit surprised when they first launch version 8 and are faced with the new interface, including the requirement to purchase a subscription.
In summary, a password manager is an essential tool and 1Password is still the one I use and recommend. LastPass, a competitor to 1Password, had a security breach in October of 2022, which caused many users to leave the platform and begin using 1Password instead. 1Password still garners excellent reviews from the major tech press, such as:
Tom’s Guide: https://www.tomsguide.com/reviews/1password
One last thing: Safari’s 1Password browser extension isn’t affected by the changes in Firefox or Chrome, so if you’d like to continue using 1Password 7 (in Safari only) for a while, you can do so. You’ll eventually need to upgrade to version 8.
Let me know if you have questions about anything above and/or would like help upgrading to 1Password 8.