I love Keychain. For years, it has been a massive timesaver when it comes to setting and recalling passwords and keeping my credit card details just a click away.
However, I’m acutely aware that it is neither the only nor the best password manager out there. It certainly isn’t the most flexible or feature-packed.
It had been on my mind to expand my horizons a little in this area – particularly as I start to take more comprehensive steps into the world of Windows and, consequently, a cross-platform life.
Then, news of 1Password 8 for the Mac dropped, and the internet went a little bit mad – including the portion of it I’ve carved out for my own ramblings.
So, I’ve decided to switch to 1Password. I want to see what the fuss is all about and what I’ve been missing out on during my time with Keychain.
Why I stopped using 1Password
I was actually a 1Password user many years ago. Although, not for long.
Again, it was Keychain’s fault. Once I went Apple-only with all of my devices, I realised that their built-in password manager was by far the most convenient. So, 1Password was unceremoniously dropped.
I’d argue that Keychain remains the most convenient for many people in my position. This is mainly because it is baked so deeply into an ecosystem over which Apple has ultimate control. There are no additional apps to download, and nothing more than a simple switch to flick ‘on’ if you want to use it.
This isn’t the case with third-party password managers like 1Password. By their very nature, they require a dedicated app to be installed on each of your devices, followed by a browser extension. It’s yet another little icon in your menu bar and something else that needs installing on each new device.
For me, Keychain’s convenience subsequently won the day.
But convenience doesn’t always result in the best solution.
Heading towards 1Password 8
I’ve been lucky enough for AgileBits (the team behind 1Password) to provide me with a licence to try out. And I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I’m diving in wholeheartedly.
More importantly, I want to see how 1Password 8 compares to the current version. Will the transition to Electron result in the issues that have been predicted by 1Password’s legion of Mac fans? Or is it nothing more than hot air?
I already use several Electron apps, including Discord, Teams, and Zoom. All three run daily on my M1 MacBook Air, whose battery life remains stellar. I don’t really notice or care for the various Electron shortcomings noted by others, therefore I’m fascinated to see if there’s any measurable difference when 1Password 8 arrives.
Transferring from Keychain to 1Password
I won’t lie – I certainly wasn’t relishing the idea of switching password managers.
The thought of transferring all of my passwords from Keychain to 1Password was a little daunting. Obviously, there isn’t a batch export/import feature (that would be hilariously insecure, given the data we’re dealing with here), therefore it was always going to be a manual affair.
Thankfully, I’ve discovered a neat trick, which is making the process more bearable – if a little long-winded.
By leaving Keychain switched on and having installed 1Password, I’ve discovered that I can keep the former as my primary password input method (via Touch ID), and allow 1Password to store the details after I’ve logged in. It’s pretty seamless and means I’m gradually populating my 1Password database throughout the week as I log into each website and web app.
This does mean I’m a couple of weeks away from the full switch, but I really can’t be bothered to sit down and transfer all of my passwords in one hit. So, for the time being, my MacBook Air is the transition device.
Once all passwords (and credit card details) are in 1Password, I’ll then install it on every other device, switch off Keychain… and head into a brand-new world!
I’m looking forward to trying out 1Password and will, obviously, keep you guys updated with my progress and thoughts.
But I’m curious – what password manager are you using, and why?