Getting 1Password 7 ready for the Mac App Store

1Password 7 has been in beta for 6 weeks now and the feedback has been fantastic. We are getting close to the official release date and have begun final preparations, including submitting 1Password 7 to the Mac App Store. 🎉

When 1Password 7 is released it will be available from the Mac App Store as well as our website, and will be available as both a subscription and a standalone license.

When adding 1Password 7 to the Mac App Store we needed to answer the following two questions:

  • Should it be a new app?
  • Should it support both subscriptions and licenses?

Ultimately we decided that 1Password 7 will be a new app in the Mac App Store, and available only as a subscription. I know that many of you will be curious about this, so I wanted to share with you why we decided on this approach.

Mac App Store and upgrades

The Mac App Store is one of the most convenient ways to purchase apps for your Mac. You can purchase with confidence, pay quickly in your local currency, and updates happen automatically. Overall it is a pretty sweet experience.

The App Store, for all it does well, struggles mightily when a paid upgrade is introduced because it does not allow developers to charge for an update to an existing app.

When considering a paid upgrade, developers have two choices: they can re-use their existing app or submit a new one. Both have their pros and cons.

Re-using an existing app

Developers are very creative and one approach that some have used to introduce paid upgrades is to re-use their existing app and offer an In-App Purchase to make the upgraded features available.

We actually went ahead and gave this an honest, if short-lived, try. Very quickly it became apparent that this would lead to a complete mess of spaghetti code as we tried to encapsulate new features. Worse yet, any significant UI updates (including the many we have in 1Password 7) were next to impossible to add as we’d have to keep the old UI around as well. Ultimately this proved infeasible and all my devs threatened to mutiny. 🙂

Submitting a new app

A new app avoids these issues, allowing us to keep our code base clean and my developers happy. It comes at a price though.

Introducing a new app means that everyone who wants the upgraded version needs to go back to the Mac App Store, find this new version, and download it.

We’ve done this before with 1Password 4 for iOS, and have the scars to prove it. Thousands of customers were confused when trying to update because their 1Password 3 app claimed to be up-to-date. To this day we have customers on 1Password 3 who do not realize a new version is out.

To be quite honest, one of the main reasons we haven’t had a paid upgrade on the Mac side for all these years is that we were dreading the pain this would cause us and our customers. However the time has come to bite the bullet and have a paid upgrade.

To avoid this pain in the future, this will be the last time we will be submitting a new app to the App Store. To make that possible, 1Password 7 will only be available as a subscription in the Mac App Store.

Mac App Store for subscriptions only

1Password subscriptions are eligible for free upgrades, meaning we can keep the same app in the App Store and seamlessly upgrade everyone to the new version as it comes out. This is just one of many the reasons why we love memberships.

If we were to sell standalone licenses in the Mac App Store we would have these same problems all over again when 1Password 8 is released. Ultimately this is why we decided not to sell licenses through the Mac App Store.

While still tough, this decision was easier to make as people looking for licenses will be able to download 1Password 7 directly from our website. I know this isn’t ideal for those who love the Mac App Store and prefer to purchase standalone licenses and I apologize for that. But overall I believe this was the correct decision to make.

I’ll be out at WWDC in a few weeks and would be more than happy to talk further if you have questions or are facing similar decisions with your own apps.

146 replies
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  1. Ebbet G.
    Ebbet G. says:

    Will the Mac App Store version of 1Password 7 allow syncing via iCloud, or will it only sync via your proprietary service? What about the website version?

    I don’t love subscriptions, but can live with them if the pricing is reasonable. I won’t accept being required to use your sync service (no matter how secure it is).

    Reply
    • Kate Sebald
      Kate Sebald says:

      Edit: We had some concerns about using a 1Password membership specifically to enable standalone vaults due to how memberships have been designed. Dave discusses this in more detail here, but in short a 1Password membership will allow you to also use standalone vaults in 1Password 7.

      Hey Ebbet! 1Password 7 from the Mac App Store will only support our hosted service, as that’s what you’re purchasing with a 1Password membership. If you install from our website, you’ll have to option to use a standalone vault synced via iCloud if you purchase a standalone license, or use our hosted service if you purchase a 1Password membership. 👍

      Talking about standalone licenses and 1Password memberships in isolation is kind of tough, because you’re not alone in potentially being okay with a subscription if it provides the features you want. It’s easy for us to cause some confusion if we’re not careful. How you pay for 1Password and where you store your vaults are different issues from y’all’s perspective and we do understand that even if we don’t always make it very clear ourselves. As it stands, though, how you purchase 1Password is intrinsically tied to where you store your vaults and how you sync them. Still, I do really appreciate your feedback as knowing that having a standalone vault option specifically is what’s most important to you helps us plan for the future. So thank you for sharing and I’ll be sure to pass your thoughts along to the team. 🙂

    • John Mc
      John Mc says:

      Sorry Kate, your answer has confused me still. Will there be a ‘purchasable’ copy of 1P7?

    • Kate Sebald
      Kate Sebald says:

      Hey, John! Sorry! See what I mean about it being hard to talk about? 🙈Short this time. Yes, if you purchase 1Password 7 from our website once it’s released, you will be able to buy a standalone license and sync via iCloud.

    • Tim Snoots
      Tim Snoots says:

      Kate,

      I just want to add yet another comment (from a long time user) to emphasize the importance of crystal clear communication about the upcoming differences in 1Password 7 with respect to: 1) where you purchase it, 2) the purchasing model (subscription vs standalone), 3) the valult storage locations available, and 4) what devices and OSs the license purchase includes. You really must make an exceptionally clear grid available of all of these permutations or you absolutely WILL anger your loyal and long-time customers.

      I am yet another experienced user that am fine with the subscription model, yet unwavering that it MUST continue to support standalone vaults and flexibility in storage locations such as iCloud, Dropbox, and local storage. I simply cannot understand why you are slowly making standalone vaults and alternate sync methods second hand features. This decision is exceptionally short-sighted as vault storage and sync flexibility are one of the critical distinguishing factors that still (for now) makes 1Password far more attractive to technology and security professionals.

      AgileBits is really undersetimating the importantance of continuing to make quality software that has the flexibility that technically savvy users require, instead of catering just to the masses (because that is easyier). Understand that technically savvy users are the ones that review and recommend products to friends, family, and businesses. Please continue to provide full product feature support to your long-time and technically advanced users. I’m currently feeling quite brushed aside even after being a faithful user and recommending 1Password to thousands of other users over the years. I’m waiting cautiously until the release of 1Password 7 to see if I, and those that count on me for IT advice, will be moving forward with 1Password, or not.

    • Kate Sebald
      Kate Sebald says:

      Hey, Tim! Let me first apologize that I wasn’t clearer about this out of the gate. I’ve mentioned on a number of occasions that this is a tough topic to discuss because how you pay for 1Password and how you store your vaults really are separate concerns, but they’re still related in practice and this is a great example of how . When making decisions like that discussed in this post, we do our best to anticipate the types of questions we might get and have answers ready, but oftentimes a decision we make invites questions we never thought of and we’ll find ourselves reconsidering decisions we though we’d made as a result. This turned out to be one of those cases.

      Dave talks about this here, but the short version is that a 1Password membership will allow you to use standalone vaults in 1Password 7 installed from the Mac App Store and I’ve added an edit to my original reply to Ebbet reflecting this. To expand on Dave’s comment, when you purchase a 1Password membership your apps are “licensed” by signing in with your 1Password account. This necessarily adds vaults to your app that can only be synced via our hosted service. Given avoiding this is paramount for many, it worried me, particularly given more folks might make this choice with licenses being unavailable on the Mac App Store. Discussions were had and we thought limiting this would be a good solution, but then folks using both 1Password.com and standalone vaults came along and it became quickly apparent such limitations would do more harm than good, so we returned to the drawing board and landed here.

      I often tell folks that allowing our customers to choose how they use 1Password, both how you pay and how you sync your vaults, is really important to us. Offering these choices does sometimes lead to some confusion and while that can be frustrating to you and us alike, we’ve long held that the choice itself is the most important. Dealing with that confusion is on us, whether through software or just being available to lend a hand, and we’re always working on ways we can better avoid that confusion. This shouldn’t be any different.

      I don’t think WordPress will allow me to make a nicely formatted grid, but I can address all of your points in one place at least. You can buy a license from us, if you’d like, or purchase a 1Password membership either from us directly or through the Mac App Store. If you buy a license, you’ll need to install 1Password 7 from our website. No matter how you purchase 1Password 7, you can create standalone vaults and sync them via iCloud, Dropbox or to a local folder. A 1Password membership also includes our hosted service and all the features that come along with it for any 1Password.om synced vaults. If you purchase a license, that’s a one-time payment that covers 1Password 7 for you personally on all of your devices running the OS you purchased it for (Mac and Windows are separate). The mobile apps are “freemium” this way, so you can use the basic features for free with the option to purchase the Pro Features via in-app purchase if you want. A 1Password membership, on the other hand, allows you to use 1Password 7 across all of your devices, including any Pro Features and, yes, standalone vaults should you choose to use them. 🙂

    • Trent Lloyd
      Trent Lloyd says:

      It confuses me that the paid mac app store option wouldn’t allow iCloud syncing as an option (even if a bit hidden away)

      Please consider adding this option, some people are happy to pay for the app but would prefer a different syncing option.

    • Kate Sebald
      Kate Sebald says:

      Hey, Trent! We had thought limiting 1Password 7’s abilities when installed from the Mac App Store might help to avoid some confusion, but it’s become quickly apparent that it creates as much as it avoids (if not more), so we’re just not going to do it. Thankfully, that means there’s nothing to add in at all, we just have to not remove an already existing option. If you purchase a 1Password membership when you upgrade to 1Password 7, you can enable standalone vaults in 1Password > Preferences > Advanced after signing into your 1Password account and sync up as needed. Do keep our original source of confusion in mind if you choose this path, though: Signing into a 1Password account necessarily adds vaults that can only be synced via our hosted service to your app. If you don’t want to use them at all, make sure you move any items there to your standalone vault(s) and set your vault for saving to Primary (or whatever standalone vault you choose). And, of course, if a license is your preference, then you can purchase 1Password 7 from us directly and install from our website to go that route. 🙂

  2. Tangible
    Tangible says:

    Please excuse the tldr, but I need a simple answer: What does this mean for current non-membership license holders?

    Reply
    • Kate Sebald
      Kate Sebald says:

      Hey, Tangible! It just means that you’ll need to install 1Password 7 from our website and purchase a license directly from us if you’d like to stick with your standalone vault. 👍

    • Kate Sebald
      Kate Sebald says:

      I’m sorry you’re disappointed, John. 😞 As Jeff mentioned, this wasn’t an easy decision and we were disappointed we had to make it ourselves and tried really hard to avoid it, but weren’t happy with any solution we came up with. Ultimately, 1Password 7 needs to make its way to y’all so you can enjoy the new features and improvements, so there needs to be a point where we bite the bullet and make a tough call. We hope you understand and find installing 1Password from our website to serve you well all the same. 💙🙂

  3. Quentin
    Quentin says:

    Can’t wait to try it out!
    But concretely, what’s gonna happen for us all that are paying a yearly subscription to 1Password7?
    If I pay for 1Password8 in the next month, what’s gonna happen to my subscription I’ve already paid upfront for 1Password7? It’s not quite clear in my mind yet!
    Thanks for your hard :)

    Reply
    • Kate Sebald
      Kate Sebald says:

      Hey, Quentin! I’m glad to hear you’re looking forward to 1Password 7! Your 1Password membership includes the 1Password apps across your devices no matter where you install 1Password from. If you’re using 1Password from the Mac App Store right now, when 1Password 7 is released you’ll likely see a notification that you need to install a new app this time around, but you won’t need to pay anything more. Your 1Password membership has you covered. With this change Jeff discussed, the plan is that whenever 1Password 8 does come along, you’ll not have to take that step again and will just be seamlessly updated to the new version. I hope this helps you plan ahead, but if you have additional questions, we’re here for you. 🙂

  4. Amy
    Amy says:

    Thanks for your obvious hard work and efforts to provide the best customer experience. I’m not techie, though, so…am I going to be automatically upgraded to 1Password 7 through the App Store? Do I need to download it? Do I need to pay more? I renewed my annual subscription this past March.

    Reply
    • Kate Sebald
      Kate Sebald says:

      Hey, Amy! Thank you so much for your kind words, especially when we weren’t able to make things quite as seamless as we’d like this go. Your understanding means a lot. 💙 Since you have a 1Password membership, you’ll need to download a new app when 1Password 7 is ready to go. We understand this is a bit more complicated than the typical App Store experience, so I’m sure you’ll see a notification that the upgrade is available in 1Password 6 and we’ll do our best to guide you through what you need to do. And, of course, if you do need help when the time comes, we’re always here for you. 🙂

    • Kate Sebald
      Kate Sebald says:

      Oh! And I forget to mention – you won’t need to pay anything more. Your 1Password membership has you all covered. 👍

  5. Cody Cooper
    Cody Cooper says:

    All of this seems completely fair. The Mac App Store is a mess, so I understand trying to avoid additional stress. I look forward to purchasing when it’s released!

    Reply
    • Kate Sebald
      Kate Sebald says:

      Hey, Cody! Thanks so much for your understanding. 💙 This was a difficult decision as, despite these sorts of difficulties, we really do love the App Store and understand fully why many folks prefer to purchase their apps there. We always prefer to give our customers a choice wherever possible, so we’re disappointed to be taking one away, but after taking as much time as we reasonably could to think about it and consider possible solutions, a decision had to be made. Nothing was going to make everyone happy and this seemed the best way to give the most people the best experience we can. I’m looking forward to 1Password 7’s official debut as well, and I hope you love using it as much as we’ve loved building it for you. 🙂

  6. Jeff Laing
    Jeff Laing says:

    I think you need to be a little clearer as to the mechanics of it all. I have family members spread across the country that will get confused by this.

    My mother is going to download a new app (1Password 7) and at that time, it will charge her nothing.

    She will then enter her 1Password Families password (somehow?) and she will automatically get all her 1Password features back without having to set up a subscription on the App Store. I assume 1Password will prevent her from accidentally subscribing again?

    (Then, repeat for my wife’s mother, on the other other side of the country)

    As a side note, how come Apple is ok with you doing this? This sort of “purchase a subscription externally” is the sort of thing that gets your app rejected…

    Reply
    • Kate Sebald
      Kate Sebald says:

      Hey, Jeff! We’re definitely going to do all we can to guide folks through this process. Such confusion is one of the reasons it was really important to us to make this a one-time thing. Having to install a new app for an upgrade is not the seamless experience folks expect from the App Store and not having to do this again was a major reason behind this decision.

      That said, you’ve got it about right. I haven’t had a chance to specifically go through the upgrade process from the App Store (because 1Password 7 doesn’t exist there just yet), but we will likely show a notification in 1Password 6 noting that an update is available and letting folks know how to get it, which is how we’ve handled this process in the past. She would have to go well out of her way to subscribe again and won’t see any prompts to do so or options to subscribe in the app. Because we cannot affect Apple’s billing system, we can’t completely disable that option, but in order to purchase an additional subscription, she’d have to hunt it down in the app store itself. 1Password 7 won’t let her do so in the app itself. 👍🏻

      As for how she’ll enter her Master Password, her 1Password data (and yours) is stored separately from the app and 1Password 7 can pick it right up where 1Password 6 left off. She’ll see a lock screen after she’s installed 1Password 7 requesting her Master Password as though this is an update like any other. That lock screen will look a bit different and things will look much different once she unlocks, but the general process is the same and should look very familiar. 🙂

      As for why Apple allows this, they do so precisely because we also offer in-app subscriptions. 1Password works across platforms, like many other apps, so I’d imagine Apple understands that external subscriptions are necessary for this to work well. After all, if I sign up and subscribe to 1Password via our website on Windows, then later try to use 1Password from the App Store on my Mac, I’d have to go through the hassle of canceling my subscription and starting it again through the App Store. It would be horribly confusing. We wouldn’t want to ask our customers to do this and likely other developers would feel the same. Apps like Netflix do the same, so we’re not alone here.

      I hope the upgrade process goes smoothly for you and your family when the time comes, but if by chance any of y’all do run into trouble, we’re ready and waiting and always happy to help. 💙

  7. Stephen Spector
    Stephen Spector says:

    Good day … not sure if this is me or a problem … 1Password 7 beta 12 works well, but Safari it will not install the extension … v 4.7.1… is there a newer one? Firefox installs OK

    Stephen

    Reply
    • Kate Sebald
      Kate Sebald says:

      Hey, Stephen! Sorry for the trouble! If you’re attempting to install the extension from our website, you can sometimes run into trouble. Most commonly, anti-virus programs can object to your installing an extension from anywhere other than the Safari Extension Gallery. Thankfully, the 1Password extension is available there as well. You can find it here. Give that a try and see if it gets you up and running in Safari again. 🙂

  8. Stephen Spector
    Stephen Spector says:

    Yiu are correct. I installled from the gallery and it worked. But in the FWIW department, it installed v4.7.0

    Reply
    • Kate Sebald
      Kate Sebald says:

      Glad to hear it worked, Stephen! You’re correct the Gallery is a version behind. We can publish to our website whenever we’d like and as quickly as we’d like, so it can get a bit ahead of what’s in the Gallery at times. Not to worry, though, give it a bit and it’ll catch up and get you updated. 🙂

  9. Hurley White
    Hurley White says:

    You should have a one-time discounted offer for people to switch from standalone to subscription models (including Family/Teams) that if adopted within a reasonable timeframe will grandfather people in to a an attractive subscription price (like some already are) that lasts as long as one maintains the subscription.

    You guys have been doing a pretty good job of tap dancing around the questions about all the past promises to the standalone license holders who got you off of the ground.

    It’s pretty clear that the strategy to convert people to subscriptions is to still offer standalone licenses but to a) slowly increase the difference in features to make subscription customers get more and b) make pricing for standalone licenses so steep that it becomes very difficult for a family or team to stick with licenses even though y’all are technically still offering them (it would be like apple offering an iPhone X model with a headphone jack to appease the complainers but for a cost of $10,000 and with 32GB of memory).

    Well, one way to get people over the hurdle while minimizing heartburn is to offer a perpetual financial benefit for switching over now. Think of it as the reverse jerk maneuver of “keeping your promise” but making it prohibitively expensive for people to take you up on said promise.

    You guys still make a fantastic product, but I think the happy cheery tone and promises over time have painted you into a corner and there’s unfortunately few honorable ways out of. No matter how you sugar coat it, it’s a dang bitter pill for standalone license holders to swallow….

    Reply
    • Kate Sebald
      Kate Sebald says:

      Hey, Hurley! We actually did offer a fairly significant and permanent early adopter discount for Families and Teams when 1Password memberships were first released nearly two years ago that, like you mentioned, many of our customers did take advantage of. We still do offer some permanent discounts from time to time as well. Right now, $125 gift cards for 1Password memberships are available for $99, for example. It’s not exactly a permanent discount and does have a higher up-front cost, but you can buy as many as you like for savings overtime.

      As for feature differences, it’s actually much easier for us to offer features to both standalone and membership customers nine times out of ten. Actively hiding a function of the apps when you aren’t signed into a 1Password account is extra work, so unless a given feature relies on our hosted service to get the job done, chances are it’s available whether you have a membership or license. Take checking your passwords against data from Troy Hunt’s Pwned Passwords service, for example. This only relies on your local data and Troy’s API, so it’s availale in 1Password 7 for Mac whether you bought a membership or a standalone license. Travel Mode, on the other hand, relies on your encrypted data being stored on our servers, so it’s only available to those with a 1Password membership. We’re not going to stop building cool features that rely on our hosted service because we can’t offer them to standalone customers, but we’re not setting out to cut y’all off from new features either.

      As for the price of licenses, they have varied quite a bit. $64.99 has been the price of 1Password 6 for Mac for quite some time, but sales, bundles and the like have resulted in cheaper (and more expensive) pricing depending on when and how you purchased your license. We also haven’t asked for a paid upgrade since the switch from 1Password 3 to 1Password 4 several years ago, so if you’ve been a customer for a while, it may well have been some time since you paid for an upgrade at all. All of this is to say that we likely have done ourselves a disservice by making it so easy to have paid far less than list price for licenses over the years. It’s not too difficult to have purchased every paid upgrade at a discount and feel $39.99 during the beta period (or $64.99 later) is steep.

      All the same, standalone licenses remain available and the standalone apps are continuing to improve and get updates right alongside 1Password memberships. Paid upgrades in general are a tough pill to swallow for customers, which is one reason many developers (and, yes even some customers) prefer a subscription model. Still, we know that memberships aren’t for everyone, so we’ve continued to offer standalone licenses. If we’re going to continue developing the standalone apps and offer standalone licenses, paid upgrades are going to be a necessary evil.

    • Jeff Laing
      Jeff Laing says:

      They did offer a good deal and I am super glad I jumped on it at the time, and I am constantly astonished at people who can’t see that even writing off the sunk cost today and subscribing is still the smartest investment in security you could possibly make.

      Anyone that doesn’t want to subscribe gets the features that don’t involve a recurring cost to AgileBits – that makes business sense and they are a business.

      I am not aware of anything that stopped working with my previous versions but I could see the extra value I was paying for with the subscription model.

      I didn’t complain, perhaps because I have happily paid three times to upgrade 1Password and not once did I think it was a ripoff.

      Does Honda keep coming around improving your car for you because you paid them once? Does Nike come and resole your shoes? If you take a one time purchase, you can’t expect any supplier to improve your purchase for free.

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