Yesterday, the team at 1Password launched a feature called Masked Email, and I really like the look of it for one very specific reason.

This really is one of those ‘why on earth didn’t I realise it was needed?!’ features (or me, at least).

I’ll get to why this is the case in a moment, but, first, let’s answer your burning question.

What is Masked Email?

Masked Email is a collaboration between 1Password and Fastmail. It enables users to create random email addresses which forward to their real email address.

Why have 1Password bothered with this? It’s simple: email addresses are a source of identification. They represent a single route to an individual (you), and a definitive destination (your inbox).

That means they’re one of the most prized possessions for shitty marketing campaigns, hackers, and people who want to steal your identity. Email addresses are also regularly leaked, bought, or inadvertently placed into the wrong hands.

All of our inboxes are plagued with junk email and nefarious communications for this very reason. It’s a pain in the backside and can cause serious harm.

The ability to create an email address that masks your real email address is therefore highly desirable – if not a particularly widespread practice. Yet.

Isn’t this the same as Hide My Email?

iCloud has enjoyed its own slew of updates this year – one of which is called Hide My Email.

Sounds spookily familiar, right?

1Password’s Masked Email performs pretty much the exact same function as Apple’s Hide My Email. They both enable users to create unique, one-time email addresses which forward to their regular inbox.

But there’s one massive difference if you’re a 1Password user.

Masked Email is baked right into 1Password. This means that when you sign up for a new service online and need to provide your email address, 1Password will ask if you want to generate a random email address.

That’s right – just like the process of generating a new, unique, strong password.

As you’d expect, 1Password obviously stores both the random email address and corresponding password in your vault, enabling you to pop in and delete the email address quickly if it ever becomes compromised.

This is such an obvious feature we’ve been missing – and I, for one, didn’t realise I was missing it. The ability to generate a set of entirely unique, random login credentials which still link to your real email account is super reassuring. The fact it can be done during the sign-up process adds that all-important convenience factor.

The downside of Masked Email is that you of course need a subscription to both 1Password and Fastmail, whereas Hide My Email is now included as standard with iCloud. But for existing users of 1Password, the addition of Fastmail won’t break the bank (plans start from $3 per month and you can grab 25% off your first year, thanks to the partnership). For a killer privacy feature, that isn’t too much to ask, in my book.

An update on my transition to 1Password

Masked Email couldn’t have arrived at a better time.

Earlier this month, I revealed that I was switching from iCloud Keychain to 1Password, and I’m happy to report that I’ve completed the transition.

I’ve had my eye on Apple’s Hide My Email feature, but have thus far resisted the urge to dive in, simply because it requires a significant amount of time and effort in terms of setting up my random email addresses and linking them to the various online accounts I use each day.

Now that I’m a 1Password user, the Masked Email feature appears to solve that problem. That’s why I’ll be diving in wholeheartedly.

What about you? Are you tempted to give Masked Email a try? Or do you have a different solution? Get involved in the comments!

Main image courtesy of 1Password