On Wednesday, Agilebits is releasing a long-awaited update to its 1Password app for iOS(s AAPL). The new app has been completely rewritten and has major upgrades, including the addition of cloud-based syncing, tabbed browsing, and an overall simpler user interface.
A little over a year ago, I took an in-depth look at password apps for iOS and OS X devices. At that time I found the simplicity of mSecure’s user interface to be exactly what I was looking for. Back then, most password manager apps offered Wi-Fi sync and a few offered synchronization through Dropbox. Having a way to keep all of my data in sync across all of my devices was becoming more of a priority. Since then I have come to appreciate the seamless data integration across all of my devices with other iCloud Sync enabled apps. So when 1Password was updated with iCloud sync, I just had to give it a try.
The first thing you will notice with the latest update of 1Password on iOS is that the user interface has been completely redesigned. One of the confusing bits in the last version was that you had to know what type of password you were looking for — was it a login, an account, an identity or a note? There was no unified search that could find your secure information across all of the different data vaults you stored your passwords within. That has all changed, and not only can you now search across all of your data stored in 1Password, you can also see all of your stored items listed in a global “All Items” category. In addition to enhancing the way that categories are accessed, Folders and Favorites have been added to help you quickly find the information you are looking for.
Another major improvement is the addition of tabbed browsing. It use to be that you had to first locate your account information, then tap on the URL in order to enter into a hidden browser mode. Now you can actually use 1Password as a replacement for Safari and go to your favorite websites first. It then knows which passwords are associated with that site and presents you an option to log in with the credentials you have stored.
And that brings me back to the iCloud Sync, the main reason that I decided to take a look at the new version in the first place. What can one say, it just works. The account information I created on my iPad showed up on my iPhone, and since I had already configured all of my iOS devices to use iCloud Sync, I did not have to do any additional configuration or log on to any account. Overall I am very impressed with the redesign of 1Password 4 for iOS. It has turned a powerful yet complicated app into a utility that just about anyone will find easy to use.