1Password password manager review

Best for Mac users, and maybe for everyone else too

1Password review
Editor's Choice
(Image: © 1Password)

Tom's Guide Verdict

1Password is a strong choice for users across all platforms, and its pricing and features are right in line with competitors that previously offered more for less.

Pros

  • +

    Extra layer of security via Secret Key

  • +

    Robust vault organizational features

  • +

    Great support and how-to resources

Cons

  • -

    No free version

  • -

    Very basic mobile apps

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1Password: Specs

Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD
Free version: No
2FA: Yes
Browser extensions: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Brave, and Edge
Form filling: Yes
Biometric login: Face ID, Touch ID on iOS & macOS, Windows Hello, Linux fingerprint, fingerprint & face unlock on Android
PIN code: Yes
Killer feature: Travel Mode

1Password, once the favorite password manager of Apple users, has been improving its user experience on other platforms. Feature updates included in 1Password's recently launched Linux app were rolled out for Windows users in the fall of 2021, bringing those platforms up to parity with the Mac app, which will itself soon undergo a makeover.

As far as features go, 1Password makes a strong showing, with lots of ways to organize and share your vaults. There's also a unique Travel Mode that lets you temporarily hide logins from prying eyes at international borders. 

1Password is alone among the best password managers by not offering a free tier, although recent limitations on no-cost plans  from Keeper, LastPass and Dashlane have narrowed this gap. 1Password is competitively priced at $36 per year for an individual and $60 for families — no additional tiers needed. 

If you don't want to pay anything for password management, Bitwarden, NordPass and Myki all have decent-to-strong showings in the free category. 

Read on for the rest of our 1Password review.

1Password: Costs and what's covered

1Password costs $35.88 per year for a single user and $59.88 per year for a family of up to five, and you can add additional users to the family for $1 per person per month. Unlike its competitors, 1Password has no free version, but it does offer a 14-day trial to new users. 

With a 1Password personal plan, you get unlimited password syncing across an unlimited number of devices, two-factor authentication, 1GB of document storage, a one-year history of deleted passwords, premium support and security monitoring and alerts. The family plan includes sharing functions and account recovery for connected users who are locked out of their vaults. 

On the desktop, 1Password supports macOS 10.13 High Sierra or later, 64-bit versions of Windows 10 or Windows 11, Chrome OS and several Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Debian, Mint, Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise, openSUSE, Arch and CentOS. (Users of 32-bit Windows 10 can install 1Password 7, but it will receive only security updates, not feature updates.) 

There's even a command-line interface for Windows, Mac, Linux and the Unix derivatives FreeBSD and OpenBSD.

Browser extensions are available for Chrome, Firefox and Edge on Windows, Mac and Linux, plus Brave on Windows and Mac. The Safari extension comes with the Mac desktop app. Opera, Vivaldi and other Chrome-based browsers can use the Chrome app. The iOS mobile app requires iOS 12.0 or later, while the Android app supports Android 5.0 Lollipop and later. Finally, you can always access your vault on the web. 

I tested 1Password on a 2020 MacBook Air running macOS 10.15.7 Catalina, an iPhone XR and Google Chrome. 

1Password: Setup

To get started with 1Password, you first create an account at 1Password.com. You'll have to verify your email address and create a strong master password for accessing your vault. 

(Image credit: 1Password)

During the setup process, 1Password will also generate your Emergency Kit. This is a PDF containing your vault address, email address, Secret Key (more on that below) and a place to write down your master password.

Your Emergency Kit ensures you (or someone you trust) always has the necessary information to access your 1Password account, so you should print out and securely store at least one copy. If you need to access the Emergency Kit later, you can find it in your account profile or settings, depending on which device you're using.

Next, download the desktop and mobile apps (opens in new tab). You can use 1Password solely via the web vault and a browser extension, but the desktop app has biometric unlocking so you won't have to enter your master password every time you want to access your vault.

(Image credit: 1Password)

The app-downloading process is a little bit different depending on your device and operating system, but you'll find all app options and steps in your web vault by clicking your profile icon in the upper-right corner and clicking Get the Apps. Pairing devices is especially easy if you scan your setup (QR) code, which you'll find in your web vault or your Emergency Kit.

Once you've entered your master password on the desktop or mobile app, you can enable supported biometrics like Face ID, Touch ID, Windows Hello or face or fingerprint unlock. On mobile, go to Settings > Security and toggle on your biometric option. On Windows, settings are found under 1Password > Settings > Security and on macOS under 1Password > Preferences > Security.

(Image credit: 1Password)

Finally, grab the relevant 1Password browser extensions (opens in new tab) for quick access to your vault as well as autofill, saving and updating logins, password generation and more features in your browser.

(Image credit: 1Password)

Importing passwords works on either the web vault or the desktop app (found by tapping your name icon in the web vault or File > Import on desktop). 1Password supports imports from a handful of other password managers as well as CSV files. There are more specific import options on the web than on the desktop.

1Password: Desktop

1Password's interface has some minor differences between the web vault and the desktop app, but the basic navigation is similar enough. There's a left-justified menu bar for toggling between different collapsible sections of your vault, including favorited items, record categories and tags, as well as your archive, which holds onto removed records until you permanently delete them. 

(Image credit: 1Password)

When you click on a record, you can view, copy or open-and-fill the credentials. There's an edit button either in the top or bottom toolbar. To add a record, tap the plus button. 1Password has a long list of pre-built templates, including for passports, medical records, rewards programs and outdoor licenses such as for hunting and fishing.

(Image credit: 1Password)

The menu bar is also where you'll find Watchtower, 1Password's set of security-monitoring tools. This includes lists of your weak, compromised and reused passwords; unsecured websites (logins that are connected to http:// pages that don't use encryption); compromised or breached websites; and logins in your vault that have two-factor authentication available that's not yet enabled.

(Image credit: 1Password)

You can set up 2FA for these accounts right from your 1Password vault when in the desktop app. Interestingly, I got different data about my reused and weak passwords between my web and desktop vaults.

1Password offers the option to create multiple vaults in your individual account so you can organize or share records around specific purposes or projects. For example, you could create a vault with estate-planning documents to share with a partner or spouse, or a vault specific to your social-media accounts. You always have the option to view all your vaults at once or to toggle between them.

1Password also has Psst! (opens in new tab), a secure data-sharing service that lets you send someone who isn't a 1Password subscriber a temporary link to view data saved in your 1Password account. 

So, for example, if you wanted to send your Netflix password to your brother-in-law, you could send him a link that expires after 1 day and displays the password. Links can expire after as little as one view, or last up to 30 days.

You can also create a vault specifically for trips abroad and enable a unique 1Password feature: Travel Mode. This tool hides the vaults you wouldn't want customs and border control agents to see while still allowing you to access vaults you deem safe.

The Travel Mode option can be toggled on in the web vault at 1Password.com under your profile section (the same place you'll find your Emergency Kit and your two-factor authentication set-up) and toggled off once you return home.

The 1Password browser extensions have most of the features you could need: You can view your entire vault, search for records, generate and autofill passwords (just tap the plus icon) and add, view and edit items.

To use autofill, tap the 1Password icon in any form field and select the login you want to use. 1Password will also automatically suggest generated passwords when creating new accounts with a button to save the credential to your vault.

(Image credit: 1Password)

There's also 1Password mini for both Macs and PCs, which is part of the desktop app and similar in form and function to the extension but can be accessed via the icon in your main taskbar.

You can pin this window on your screen as well as resize and move it for constant access to your vault. Both the browser extension and mini also support drag-and-drop of logins into desktop apps.

As part of deal with webmail provider Fastmail, 1Password also offers "masked" email addresses (opens in new tab) that let you can generate random Fastmail addresses when signing up for a new online service. The catch is that you have to pay for a Fastmail account, which starts at $3 per month or $36 per year.

Finally, 1Password has a long list of keyboard shortcuts (opens in new tab) for its apps and extensions for faster access to features and functions.

1Password: Mobile apps

1Password's mobile apps aren't quite as full-featured as its web and desktop versions — for example, you can't view Watchtower reports, though you can enable Watchtower alerts to show up in individual records that have weak or compromised credentials. 

However, the apps are simple to navigate. The main toolbar lets you toggle between your favorites, categories, tags and settings. There's a search bar at the top of each screen, and you can manually add records using the plus icon on the Categories page. Under Settings, you'll find options for enabling or disabling biometrics and PIN codes, setting up auto-lock timers and enabling Watchtower. 

(Image credit: 1Password)

As with most other password-manager apps, you have to enable autofill in your phone settings, after which 1Password will fill and save logins in browsers and apps from your keyboard. 

(Image credit: 1Password)

1Password will either suggest a login or launch for you to select one. It will also give you the option to create and fill a new username and password.

1Password: Passkeys

1Password will be adding passkey support (opens in new tab) next year, allowing its users to sign in without a password. The company has even set up an interactive demo (opens in new tab) for existing users so they can see how the feature will work when it rolls out.

Apple, Google and Microsoft have all announced that they are teaming up to kill off passwords. Unlike passwords, which can be compromised fairly easily through data breaches, passkeys aren’t stored anywhere for malevolent actors to access. Instead, there is a credential stored on your device that nobody can access. This is called a private key.

When you need to log into a site or application, the site will use a public key to request that you authenticate this private key, typically using biometric authentication like Apple’s FaceID. Once authenticated, you are able to log into the site or application just like if you had a password.

1Password says that its version will have a couple of advantages over its competitors. Because it's available on so many platforms, 1Password claims its passkeys are the only ones that support multiple devices and allow for cross-platform sync.

1Password: Security

Like most of its major competitors, 1Password uses AES-256 encryption to secure your data on your devices and on its servers. Only you can unlock your vault locally using your master password.

1Password adds an extra layer of security with your 34-character Secret Key, which is created and stored on your device and prevents hackers from accessing your data outside of your computer, tablet or phone. You do not need to remember or enter your Secret Key to get into your password vault, but you can (and should) save it in your Emergency Kit. 

1Password is also SOC 2 Type 2 certified by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) to securely manage consumer data and ensure privacy. 

Two-factor authentication on 1Password is available using an authenticator app such as Authy or Microsoft Authenticator, or with a U2F hardware key like YubiKey or Google Titan. 

(Image credit: 1Password)

Finally, 1Password supports a handful of biometrics for unlocking your vault, including Face ID on iOS, Touch ID on iOS and macOS, Windows Hello, Linux biometrics and fingerprint and face unlock on Android. You can also log into your macOS desktop app using an Apple Watch.

1Password review: Bottom line

1Password may once have been a niche password management tool beloved only by Apple diehards, but the company has made strides in creating a product that provides a consistent user experience no matter what platform or device you're on. 

Plus, 1Password is available wherever you might prefer to use a password manager: as a desktop app (plus a mini version), a browser extension, a web vault and a mobile app. 

While 1Password does not offer a free plan, $36 per year gets you everything. There's no need to compare multiple tiers or upgrade to premium features. This is right in line with similar paid offerings from Keeper and LastPass, and a lot cheaper than the $60 unlimited plan from Dashlane.

If you want something completely free, you probably won't be considering these brands anyway, as all put significant limitations on their no-cost plans. In that case, Bitwarden may be a worthy choice as it gives you a lot more for nothing. 

If you don't mind paying for password management and you like the 1Password design and organizational features, then this option is one we can highly recommend. 

Emily Long is a Utah-based freelance writer who covers consumer technology, privacy and personal finance for Tom's Guide. She has been reporting and writing for nearly 10 years, and her work has appeared in Wirecutter, Lifehacker, NBC BETTER and CN Traveler, among others. When she's not working, you can find her trail running, teaching and practicing yoga, or studying for grad school — all fueled by coffee, obviously.