1Password 3 and switching to the Agile Keychain

The Age of the Agile Keychain will arrive when 1Password 3 officially ships, as support for the Mac OS X Keychain has been dropped in what will be our largest upgrade ever. 1Password was originally built with the OS X Keychain as its foundation, but as 1Password matured, support requests piled up, and as we shaped our vision for 1Password 3, it became regrettably clear that the OS X Keychain could no longer handle the needs of our users.

We have previously covered some of the general reasons for why our Agile Keychain format, which began life nearly two years ago, is the future of 1Password. If you care to read even more, we have also gone quite in-depth on the differences from the OS X Keychain. But the issue bears another visit, especially in anticipation of the release of version 3.

As you may have deduced by now, we’re obsessed with making your digital life both more secure and convenient. This is why 1Password integrates directly with a broad range of browsers and offers unique features like customizable, time-based keychain locking to protect your sensitive data on your own terms. As 1Password has grown over the years, our users have asked for even more unique features and stronger security, and the only way to answer this call was to switch to the Agile Keychain.

Security and performance

As far as sheer security is concerned, the Agile Keychain uses AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with 128-bit encryption keys, as well as OpenSSL for all encryption and key generation needs. Translated, this means that the Agile Keychain is even more secure than the OS X Keychain, and it uses technology that is compliant with Federal Information Processing Standards.

When it comes to performance, 1Password users are increasingly storing hundreds, if not thousands, of Logins, Wallet Items, Secure Notes, and Software Licenses. Agile Keychain is designed to provide fast access to these growing storage demands right now, as well as scale into the future when your databases grow even larger.

New features and more power

Of course, what would our largest upgrade ever be without some new features, most of which are made possible by the Agile Keychain? With this new keychain format, we are finally able to support one of our most popular feature requests since 1Password debuted: attachments. Thanks to the Agile Keychain, 1Password 3 users can add file attachments to every type of item – Secure Notes can protect that important Word document, and Software Licenses can include the file-based license that you previously had to store elsewhere.

Syncing between multiple Macs is much more flexible and compatible now too, offering support for a broader range of services. In the near future, MobileMe members will be able to use their iDisk again for syncing, too, thanks to support for WebDAV coming in a later (free) update.

The Agile Keychain will also not throw endless security authorization prompts when we add support for more browsers in the future. Yes, you can feel free to run wild with this statement, because it is all we will say on the topic of more browser support for now.

Parting on good terms

It was a very difficult decision to move away from the OS X Keychain, especially after launching 1Password 1.0 (er, sorry: 1Passwd 1.0) with it and spending so much time trying to make it do what our users need. But 1Password’s future lies on a different path, and this was a decision that ultimately needed to be made for the benefit of our users. This post describes only a few of the security improvements, performance gains, and major 1Password 3 features that are enabled by the Agile Keychain and 1Password 3. There’s a lot more to talk about here, so stay tuned on the blog for future posts.