We always like a good utility here at WWD. But we like it even better when two of our favorite utilities start working well together. That’s the case with 1Password and Dropbox: if you’re storing your passwords (and other confidential information) in 1Password, you can now use Dropbox to keep those passwords synchronized across multiple computers. Here’s how.
The first thing you need to do is install 1Password on all the computers where you want to keep the same passwords. (Yes, this only applies to OS X users at the moment – though it seems that you can at least view the password file contents on a Windows box if you know the master password). Next, you need to step up to the most recent beta version of 1Password: open Preferences, go to the Updates tab, and turn on “Include Beta versions”. Then click the “Check Now” button and upgrade your copy of 1Password to the current beta. Remember to do this on all of the computers where you’re running 1Password.
After installing the update, you need to turn on the new Agile Keychain format in 1Password. Open a command prompt and run the command “defaults write com.1passwd EnableAgileKeychain -bool YES” (without the quotes, of course). Now reopen the 1Password Preferences and go to the Keychain tab. Click the “Switch to Agile Keychain Format” button. 1Password will take all of your existing data out of the Apple Keychain and put it in their own data format.
This is where Dropbox comes in. Click “Change Location” in 1Password preferences and move your new agile keychain into your dropbox (you can also use other sharing utilities like SugarSync or FolderShare – the key is to pick something that does automatic bidirectional synchronization).
Now, move to your other computer. Make sure that 1Password is upgraded to the beta version and that the agile keychain is enabled. Then open your dropbox in Finder and double-click on the synchronized keychain file. Confirm to 1Password that you want to load this file, and voila!: all of the passwords from computer #1 will be available on computer #2. If either one adds a new password, it will synchronize to the other via Dropbox.
There are, as we’ve pointed out before, many options for password management. To my way of thinking, this setup – using a native client-side password manager with encrypted synchronization over the web – is one of the slickest ways to set things up.