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1Password App Extension API and time-based, one-time passwords

The App Extension API was released as a companion to 1Password 5 for iOS last year. Now that 1Password 6 is out, I’m sure some of you are curious to learn about what’s new in the API. To celebrate the App Extension API’s first anniversary, I’d like to tell you about one of its best-kept secrets: Time-based, One-time Passwords (TOTPs).

TOTP + 1Password extension = 🔐

Did you know that our App Extension API supports one-time passwords? In fact, it’s been there since version 1.5 of the API. If you haven’t already, I recommend that you upgrade to the latest version, 1.6.1. Not only can your users fill their usernames and passwords in your app with a few simple taps, their one-time passwords can be filled just as easily.

Best of all, it’s an absolute cinch to implement: simply check whether the one-time password exists in the login dictionary from findLoginsForURLString:

@IBAction func findLoginFrom1Password(sender:AnyObject) -> Void {
        OnePasswordExtension.sharedExtension().findLoginForURLString("", forViewController: self, sender: sender, completion: { (loginDictionary, error) -> Void in
            // Fill the username and password into the fields
            self.usernameTextField.text = loginDictionary?[AppExtensionUsernameKey] as? String
            self.passwordTextField.text = loginDictionary?[AppExtensionPasswordKey] as? String

            // Check if the user has a One-Time Password for the selected 1Password Login
            if let generatedOneTimePassword = loginDictionary?[AppExtensionTOTPKey] as? String {
                self.oneTimePasswordTextField.text = generatedOneTimePassword

                // Important: It is recommended that you submit the TOTP to your validation server as soon as you receive it, otherwise it may expire.

That’s all it takes to make your users’ lives much simpler.

1Password ❤ App Developers

If you have already added the 1Password app extension to your iOS app, thank you; you’re awesome! This new functionality gives you the ability to make security even more convenient for your users, and I can’t wait to see how you use it. Please don’t forget to submit your app to our Apps ❤ 1Password directory.

A newsletter just for you

You can also subscribe to our 1Password App Extension Developers newsletter. We’ll send you an occasional newsletter containing 1Password App Extension news, updates, and tricks, to help you realize the full potential of the 1Password Extension API in your iOS apps.

If you have any questions, you can comment on our GitHub project or email I look forward to talking to you!

1Password tips

Quick Tip: iOS 9 Spotlight search and 1Password

Some of the geekiest arguments I’ve ever heard have been over the way people organize apps on their iPhones and iPads. I keep my most heavily used apps on my main screen, then shove almost everything else into folders on my other screens.

The reason I can do this is because of the wonders of Spotlight search. It’s easy for me to search for and launch the app I want to use, so I don’t have to spend my mental energy trying to remember where I’ve put things.

Apple opened up Spotlight to third-party developers like us in iOS 9. My searches are now supercharged! I’ve gotta say, I love being able to find my 1Password items right from my iPhone’s home screen. I enabled Spotlight search in 1Password by going to Settings > General > Enable Spotlight Search. Now I can just pull down, type in part of the item’s title, then tap on its name in the search results. 1Password opens right to that item.

iOS 9 Spotlight search

You might have questions about the new Spotlight search and how it works with 1Password, so I put together some answers for you. If your question isn’t addressed, please let me know; I’ll be sure to update it in response to your feedback.

I’m also curious: what are your favorite iOS 9 features? Let me know in the comments!

1Password tips

Quick Tip: 1Password 6 and Slide Over

Slide Over Happy Chris

It’s been just over a week since I received my delightfully thin and light iPad mini 4. I got the orange Smart Cover, and it looks fantastic. The primary reason I decided to upgrade my iPad mini this year was to take full advantage of everything iOS 9 has to offer.

iOS 9 has a metric ton of new features, but by far my favorite is Slide Over. Combining 1Password with Slide Over is a game changer for saving time and using every bit of power 1Password has to offer.

Logging into third-party apps doesn’t get any easier than using the 1Password Extension, which is supported by many apps. However, there is the occasional app that doesn’t (yet) support the extension, and this is where Slide Over shines.

Slide Over is a new iOS 9 feature for the iPad1 that lets you swipe from the right edge of the display to bring up another app on top of the one you are currently using. Multitasking has never been faster or easier.

Let’s say I’m using my banking app, which sadly hasn’t added the 1Password extension. In iOS 8, my workflow would have looked like this: close the banking app, launch 1Password, copy the password, switch back to the banking app, and then paste.

With the combined power of iOS 9, Slide Over, and 1Password 6, I can simplify the process.

Swipe left to right in your item list to reveal the Copy Password option

Swipe left to right in your item list to reveal the Copy Password option

While in my banking app, I can swipe in from the right, unlock 1Password, slide from left to right on the bank’s Login item in the list to copy the password, and slide 1Password away. It’s that simple.

If you have an iPad that supports Slide Over, give it a shot the next time you find yourself in an app without 1Password support. And then be sure to write a nice note to the developer of that app and ask them to integrate the 1Password app extension for iOS.

We always love hearing from you. Start a conversation with us on our Support Forums, Twitter, or Facebook.

1 Supported on iPad mini 2, 3, and 4; iPad Air and Air 2; iPad Pro


Everything you need to know about 1Password and XcodeGhost

Over the past few days, security researchers from Palo Alto Networks discovered that 39 apps infected with malware found their way into the Apple App Store in China. Since the news broke, the malicious apps have been pulled from the App Store— and we’ve had a few questions about what this might mean for 1Password and password managers in general. To put your mind (and your passwords!) at ease, we’re answering some of the most common questions and concerns that iOS users have had about malware, compromised apps, and the security of 1Password.

So wait… what happened? How did this get in the App Store?

It’s kind of a long story, but we’ll make it short. In software development, there are many, many tools that can be used to build an app, and iOS developers rely on a compiler called Xcode as part of that process. A compromised version of that compiler made its way to the web in China, and was downloaded from an untrusted source. In this case, all apps built using the malicious compiler, XcodeGhost, were modified to sneak malicious code into the App Store. Though Apple works to review and screen apps for malware before they reach the App Store, in this case Apple confirmed that the attackers were able to make it through the review process without raising any red flags.

What does this malware do?

In general, most malware is designed to capture personal information and/or user credentials, and send them back home to the attacker who compromised your device. While XcodeGhost does not directly affect the 1Password application, it indirectly affects those who use the application through your device’s clipboard. In a post outlining the malware’s capabilities, senior malware researcher Claud Xaio noted that this particular strain could:

  • Prompt a fake alert dialog to phish user credentials
  • Hijack opening specific URLs based on their scheme, which could allow for exploitation of vulnerabilities in the iOS system or other iOS apps
  • Read and write data in the user’s clipboard, which could be used to read the user’s password if that password is copied from a password management tool.

Additionally, according to one developer’s report, XcodeGhost has already launched phishing attacks to prompt a dialog asking victims to input their iCloud passwords.

Should I be worried? Does this affect me?

There are a few very specific factors that determine whether your device is at risk, but overall, this vulnerability is a rare occurrence for the App Store.

  • At present, this issue mostly affects devices using the Chinese App Store, though researchers have found compromised apps in the Canadian App Store as well.
  • The malware is only in applications built using a compromised code compiler. A list of affected apps can be found on the Palo Alto Networks blog, but security researchers believe that as many as 344 apps may be vulnerable to the attack.

Will 1Password protect my data if an app on my iPhone or iPad has been infected by XcodeGhost?

We have designed 1Password with your privacy in mind at all times. We use strong, reliable encryption and take many, many measures to make our application breach-resistant. Combined, the many layers of security we’ve implemented work together to secure your passwords and protect your most sensitive data— but if your device has been compromised, there’s almost nothing that 1Password can do to defend it. As previously stated in a post on malware by Jeffrey Goldberg, our Chief Defender Against the Dark Arts:

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: 1Password […] cannot provide complete protection against a compromised operating system. There is a saying […] “Once an attacker has broken into your computer […], it is no longer your computer.” So in principle, there is nothing that 1Password can do to protect you if your computer is compromised.

Eek! My phone is infected with this— what should I do?!

First (and most importantly): don’t panic! There are a few simple things you can do to to return things to normal. If you’re positive that you’re using an app that was affected, here’s what you can do immediately to protect your data:

  1. Delete the compromised app(s) from your phone. If you are uncertain about whether an app has been compromised, it’s okay to delete it out of an abundance of caution.
  2. Change any passwords that you think may have been compromised through your device’s clipboard. Any passwords that you may have accessed through the 1Password extension are safe from this strain of malware, and do not need to be changed.
  3. Avoid redownloading or reinstalling any of the compromised apps until they have been updated. When an update has been released, be sure to download it from a trusted source once the developer has officially confirmed that a new, secure version is ready for you to use. If you’re uncertain of this, you can visit the developer’s site or check with their support team for help.

The XcodeGhost vulnerability doesn’t directly affect 1Password— we have not used the malicious version of Xcode, and the malware it injects into applications was not designed to directly compromise or target our application. Though the malware in compromised apps on any platform has the potential to put any user’s credentials at risk, especially when it can access a device’s clipboard, all technology users benefit from the work security researchers do to find vulnerabilities like this.

If you’ve made it this far down the post and still have questions or concerns, please leave a comment here or start a conversation with us in our discussion forums. You can also reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter.

iOS app update

1Password 6 for iOS: The Extreme Makeover Edition is here!

We all have a ton of passwords and important information to keep track of, and 1Password is the best place to keep it all safe and sound. Whether it’s your passwords, passport number, or credit card information, 1Password makes it convenient for you to stay secure, because we love you. 💙

Over the years, as our data has moved from our desks to our pockets to our wrists, we’ve built (and rebuilt) 1Password to have the strongest defenses and the easiest usability. With iOS 9 we’ve created some amazing new additions and we’re finally ready for the big reveal.

Meet 1Password 6 for iOS.

1Password 6 Hero

A lovely shade of #1A8CFF

One of the first things we noticed when starting this project was that 1Password was looking a little, well, monochrome. Our designers spent hours holding up paint chips under different lights and finally settled on #1A8CFF to make everything pop. We affectionately call it Bits Blue. We’ve also pushed around the pixels of the category icons to make them more delightful, and beautified 1Browser. Don’t worry, everything you know and love is still in a familiar spot; it just looks shiny, new, and wonderful.

Rolling around new passwords

A password’s greatest strengths are its length and its randomness. But let’s be honest, sometimes you need to type in a password by hand and typing ErymQd3svcqM3BPYKWh is hard.

With our new Wordlist Password Generator, you can create long passwords out of randomly chosen real words: cellist-dander-signify-esteem-elver is easy to read, easy to type, and super secure. The new generator is inspired by Arnold Reinhold’s Diceware. We think it’s an amazing concept and aligns perfectly with our goal of making it simple and convenient for you to secure your digital life.

Pro tip: Diceware passwords make terrific answers to security questions! To have 1Password remember them for you, add a custom section with a custom password field to the Login item (Pro Features required for custom fields).

Installing a Spotlight

Spotlight search has always been a handy tool in iOS, helping you find things very quickly on your iOS device: a friend’s phone number, directions to a restaurant, or that important email that is somewhere in your inbox.

Spotlight is supercharged in iOS 9, and we’re taking advantage of it. New in 1Password 6 for iOS, Spotlight can search your 1Password data from the iOS home screen and take you straight to the desired item! It’s never been faster to find an item, and 1Password doesn’t even need to be open to do it.

To start using Spotlight with 1Password, enable the feature in 1Password > Settings > General.

Landscaping improvements

1Password has always been a portrait of amazingly convenient security, but its landscape mode has been limited to the larger screen of the iPad. We’ve made some significant improvements to landscape view support on iPad, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6s Plus.

On supported iPad models, 1Password will take advantage of the new Slide Over and Split View features in iOS 9, automatically scaling to the view size you set. On iPhone 6 Plus and 6s Plus, 1Password will now use that extra space to stretch out in landscape mode, displaying your categories and items in a column alongside the detail view.

1Password 6 Landscape Hero

A more watchful security companion

You’ve been telling us how convenient it is to look up Logins, Credit Cards, Secure Notes, and Passwords on your Apple Watch, but you’ve also told us you wanted more. By popular demand, 1Password for Apple Watch now supports more category types.

Say hello to Passports, Wireless Routers, Driver’s Licenses, Social Security Numbers, and Bank Accounts right on your wrist! To add items from these categories, open the item in the iPhone app and tap Add to Apple Watch.

We’ve also added a convenient way to manually lock 1Password for Apple Watch: simply Force Touch the screen and tap the Lock button.

How much does this extreme makeover cost?

Given the fantastic new features and improvements, you might be thinking 1Password 6 is a paid upgrade, which makes what I’m about to tell you even more incredible. Basic features are still free for everyone, and if you’ve already purchased the Pro features in 1Password 5, you still have them in 1Password 6 for no additional cost. 1Password 6 is available on the App Store.

If you find 1Password useful, please take a couple of moments to leave a rating and review on the App Store. It makes a huge difference to us. Thank you very much! Remember that we can’t reply to App Store reviews, so please post requests for technical support on our forums, or email

We always love hearing from you. Start a conversation with us on our Support Forums, Twitter, or Facebook.

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Web View Filling ups the awesome factor of the 1Password App Extension

App Developers, this one’s for you!

Since the introduction of the 1Password App Extension API, support for the extension has been added to over 200 apps. We are so excited by this show of support from the development community that we decided to add functionality to the App Extension API to make it even more useful for you and more powerful for your users.

Version 1.5 = (Web View Filling)^2

As most of you already know, the 1Password Extension was originally designed to fill login details (usernames and passwords) in Safari and third-party applications. Thus far, the primary use of 1Password in third-party apps has been to sign in, which means that users likely invoke 1Password only once, right after installing your app.

In the latest update, we’ve made the app extension more powerful and more versatile. I am happy to introduce you to the redesigned Web View Filling capability of the 1Password App Extension API, which will enable your users to use 1Password to fill not only Logins, but also Credit Cards and Identities in any of your app’s web views.

From a technical point of view, this updated capability works in a similar fashion to the original Web View Filling: it can fill 1Password items in web views. However, to get the best user experience from the 1Password Extension, we should treat it as two distinct capabilities. Let’s take a quick look at what makes these two options unique, so that you can determine the best choice for your use case.

Scenario 1: Authentication

Let’s say users have to sign in to a service before they can use your app. When the user opens your app, they are presented with a web view in which they can enter their username and password to log in. In this case, you do not want the user to be distracted or confused by Credit Card and Identity items. You only want the Login for the service to show up in the 1Password Extension so the user can log in quickly.

Login selection screen using app extension API 1.5

Scenario 2: Web Browsing

  • Can your users purchase items from your web store?
  • Can your users sign up for a service by entering their information in to a web view?
  • Does your app have a built-in browser?
  • Does your app have billing and/or shipping forms for users to fill?
  • Would you like the 1Password Extension to show in the share sheet?

If you answered “yes” to at least one of the above questions, consider adding support for 1Password using the wonderful new Web View Filling capability, which will enable you to permit the filling of Credit Cards and Identities. You will also benefit from the fantastic new Brain filling logic we use in 1Browser and Safari.

This capability will help make your users’ browsing experience simple and secure by filling Login details, Credit Card items and Identities.

Fill Login, Credit Card, and Identity info when using app extension API 1.5

The Code

Choosing between the two scenarios is very easy: simply decide whether you want to show the Credit Cards and Identities that the user has stored in 1Password. To show only 1Password Login items in the 1Password app extension, pass YES as the parameter for showOnlyLogins. To unlock the full awesomeness of the 1Password app extension and take advantage of the new Web View Filling of Logins, Credit Cards and Identities, pass NO. That’s really all there is to it!

- (IBAction)fillUsing1Password:(id)sender {
    [[OnePasswordExtension sharedExtension] fillItemIntoWebView:self.webView forViewController:self sender:sender showOnlyLogins:NO completion:^(BOOL success, NSError *error) {
        if (!success) {
            NSLog(@"Failed to fill into webview: <%@>", error);

1Password ❤ App Developers

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you app developers who have already added the 1Password app extension to your apps; you’re awesome! This new functionality gives you the chance to make security even more convenient for your users, and I can’t wait to see how you use it. Please don’t forget to submit your app to our Apps ❤ 1Password directory.

A newsletter just for you

You can also subscribe to our 1Password App Extension Developers newsletter. We’ll send you an occasional newsletter containing 1Password App Extension news, updates, and tricks, to help you realize the full potential of the 1Password Extension API in your iOS apps.

If you have any questions, you can comment on our GitHub project or email I look forward to talking to you!

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Improved locking in 1Password 5.5 for iOS

Security and convenience

One of the coolest features in 1Password for iOS is the extension. For nearly a year, it’s been really easy to log in to participating apps without having to copy and paste usernames and passwords. Shopping in Safari is also a breeze, now that you can add items to your cart, then fill in your credit card and address with just a couple of taps. The icing on this cake is that you can log in to 1Password using Touch ID instead of tapping out a PIN or your entire Master Password over and over again.

Integral to the extension is the 1Password Lock Service, which determines how often you’re prompted to unlock the app and whether you’re prompted to use quick unlock (Touch ID or PIN Code) or your full Master Password. Thanks to the feedback you’ve provided, the Lock Service has gone through a couple of transformations since iOS 8 was released last fall. The latest update to 1Password is no exception and includes some major improvements that we’re sure you’ll love!

Touch ID: The star of the show

When Apple announced Touch ID on the iPhone 5s in 2013, we knew it would be the perfect way to unlock 1Password for iOS quickly and securely. It took a year before we were able to integrate it, but it was definitely worth the wait!

1Password for iOS Touch ID lock screen

In previous versions of 1Password, cancelling the Touch ID prompt cleared your Master Password from the iOS Keychain, which meant that you would have to enter your Master Password before you could use Touch ID again. This was inconvenient, especially when your goal was just to dismiss the Touch ID prompt without unlocking 1Password.

In version 5.1, we decided to force quit the main app and dismiss the extension when the Touch ID prompt was canceled. It seemed like a good idea, but it was confusing because it looked like the app was crashing. So we went back to the drawing board.

In 1Password 5.5, canceling Touch ID will cause 1Password to display the Master Password prompt, but your password won’t be cleared from the iOS Keychain. This means that you will be able to use Touch ID the next time you open 1Password without typing your Master Password; all you need to do is to tap the fingerprint icon to bring up the prompt.

1Password 5.5 for iOS Master Password lock screen with Touch ID icon

Lock Service: Centralized and better than ever

In 1Password 5.5 for iOS, we have created a “central” Lock Service that is shared between 1Password and its extension. The extension will now use the settings you have specified in the main app. Additionally, when you unlock the 1Password extension, you will also unlock the main app (and vice versa). Those of you who use 1Password on Mac will probably notice that this is similar to the way 1Password and 1Password mini lock and unlock in unison.

As long as you have Lock on Exit disabled, you will no longer be prompted to unlock 1Password moments after you unlock the extension in Safari. Depending upon your Auto-Lock settings, it may be as long as an hour before you’re prompted to unlock 1Password again.

1Password 5 for iOS security settings

iOS Keychain + 1Password Extension = ❤️

In previous versions of 1Password, the extension never saved the Master Password to the iOS keychain. This meant that if your Master Password were cleared from the iOS keychain (like when you restart your iPhone or iPad), you would have to launch the main 1Password app and enter your Master Password before you’d be able to use quick unlock. Entering your Master Password in the extension would allow you to access your vault, but you’d have to keep reentering your Master Password until you finally unlocked the main 1Password app.

Now it doesn’t matter if your Master Password is cleared from the iOS keychain! If you have quick unlock enabled, you’ll just need to enter your Master Password in either the extension or main app—once. After that, you’ll be able to use quick unlock until the next time your Master Password is wiped from the keychain.

It’s taken some time and experimentation to get the main 1Password app and the extension working together just so, but we think our latest changes offer a balance of security and convenience. We hope you’re as happy with this update as we are! We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments and in our discussion forums.

1Pi icon 1024

1Password 5.5 for iOS: The Fun in the Sun Edition

While all the AgileBits kids have been having a fun- & sun-filled summer vacation, our development, docs, and support teams have been toiling away in our air-conditioned nerd caves to bring you the best 1Password for iOS release since the last one!

Our focus for this release was keeping your security as convenient & refreshing as an ice-cold drink on a hot summer day. Let’s take a sip from the improvements to Vaults, Touch ID, the Extension, and the Apple Watch app.

Switching it up

Multiple vaults are the best way to keep different parts of your life secure, without a ton of clutter. We all have our personal data, family vaults, and even work accounts to keep safe & organized.

We’ve made switching between these roles of your life super simple with an all-new vault switcher. Simply tap the new Vault icon in the upper left to get the quick switcher. Select a vault and you are instantly switched to it.


Touchable on demand

In the olden days (meaning yesterday), if you opened 1Password and then tapped Cancel on the Touch ID prompt, 1Password would switch to the Master Password prompt. For your security and convenience, the new Master Password prompt is more flexible: now when you tap Cancel, there is a fingerprint icon on the Master Password screen. Simply tap this icon to immediately restore Touch ID.

Note: If you restart your device, or the Master Password timeout is reached, this new icon will not appear, as the Master Password will still be needed in those situations.


Improved short-term memory

The extension and the main app now share unlock settings, so when you unlock the main app, the extension will remember this and use Touch ID.

Again, restarting the device or reaching a Master Password timeout will still require you to enter your Master Password.

Never drop a PIN again

Unique passwords are great for your logins, and unique PINs for your credit cards are also fantastic. Remembering them? Not so much.

Credit Card items on Apple Watch will now show the PIN field. The next time you buy chips & salsa with your credit card you can take a quick look at your wrist for your purchasing needs.

Closing the Vault

There are many more improvements and fixes in 1Password 5.5 for iOS, and you can check them all out in the release notes or in the in-app Message Center, located in Settings.

While I need to close up the vault for this release, the team can’t wait to show you all the great things we’re working on for the next one! In the meantime, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave your comment here, in our discussion forums, on Twitter/ADN, or on Facebook.

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Accessibility in 1Password for iOS

At AgileBits we believe that everyone should be secure online. That means we want 1Password to be usable by as many people as possible. We have worked hard to implement many features that make 1Password more accessible. In this post I will explain some of the technologies we’ve taken advantage of to improve accessibility in 1Password for iOS.

What We Have Done

While our efforts are ongoing, here are some of the areas in 1Password where we offer accessibility features.

Colour Vision Deficiency and Password Readability

You may have noticed that when viewing a password, 1Password colours numbers and symbols differently. This is not only for convenience. We have carefully chosen colours easily seen by those who have trouble distinguishing different shades of a colour. We have tested for deficiencies related to protan, deutan, and tritan.

Those with achromatopsia (no ability to distinguish colour) must rely on character shapes to tell them apart. 1Password therefore offers a choice of fonts to make it easy to distinguish between the letter o and the number zero; and between lowercase l, capital I, and the number one.


Large Type

Sometimes you have to enter a password on another device that cannot run 1Password (e.g. a combination lock, employer’s computer, etc.). For this reason, we provide the large type feature that, when activated, displays the password as large as possible for easy reading when entering it elsewhere.


Dynamic Type

iOS provides a great feature called dynamic type. This allows apps to dynamically adjust the size of text to user settings. You can experiment with dynamic type in the iOS Settings app in General > Accessibility > Larger Text.

As a developer, it’d be too easy just to turn the feature on and leave it at that. But that would result in text that grows too large for the screen and ends up getting truncated to the point that it is unreadable, or it would push interface elements so far out of the way that they are unusable. Less important text could also crowd out more important text.

We’ve taken care to limit text size where necessary and ensure inevitable truncation happens such that the most important part of the text is still shown. We’re even looking at ways to rework the UI when the text is too large to fit.



Apple has a fantastically comprehensive voice-over system in iOS. In 1Password we take advantage of that by ensuring all of our interface elements and data values are properly labeled for accessibility so VoiceOver can read them aloud in a context that makes the app more usable. We have also minimized redundancies in describing the interface to make sure relevant interface elements are described quickly and effectively. To keep your passwords secure, 1Password will not read your passwords aloud unless you explicitly request it.

Work in Progress

As interfaces in software change and new features get added, accessibility support can change too. If there’s an accessibility feature you would like to have, or something you feel is not implemented as well as it could be, please let us know! We welcome feedback and want to make 1Password more usable for all of our awesome users!

1Password for Mac logo

Adventures in beta testing: 1Password, El Capitan, and iOS 9

Let’s talk about betas. Specifically, let’s talk about Apple’s operating system betas. It used to be that you had to be an active member of the Apple Developer Program to get access to the betas. Last year, Apple launched a beta software program that enables anyone to sign up to test-drive pre-release versions of OS X. This year, for the first time, anyone can sign up to evaluate iOS 9 beta in addition to OS X 10.11 El Capitan beta.


There’s something thrilling about using beta software. It’s exciting to experience the software development process, with frequent updates that fix and improve things before our very eyes. It’s gratifying to participate in that process, seeing our bug reports get resolved and change requests considered and sometimes implemented. I don’t know about you, but I love feeling like I’ve helped make an improvement from which everyone using the software will benefit.

Hark, the cheers from developers far and wide

One of the most difficult things for software developers is getting the feedback they need before an application version goes public. This is because the pool of beta testers is generally so small. We could think everything is just fine, and then it gets out there and—BOOM—suddenly there are all these edge cases that never came up during the beta, because there are so many more people using it.

Public betas can be a real boon to developers, in that they help to increase the size of the beta pool and the degree to which the beta application is tested.

Hard hats required

under construction

Perhaps you remember those “Under construction” images from the early days of web publishing? It’s a very real metaphor for beta software. The most important thing to remember1 is that beta software is incomplete. Some things will not be implemented yet, some will be broken, and some may cause unexpected system kerfufflery.

Here are a few tips to help make your beta experience safe and enjoyable:

Spare a square

Ideally, beta software should be installed on spare hardware. If you have only one Mac, you can install El Capitan beta on separate partition of your Mac’s hard drive. If the iPhone you use every day is your only iOS device, it’s probably best not to install iOS 9 beta. If you have a non-critical iPad or an iPod touch, that would be a good place to install the beta.

Back that thang up

I know some of you are going to ignore me completely and install the betas on your mission-critical devices. Before you do that, please make sure to create a reliable backup!

We hear you

Your feedback is indispensable. If you notice anything wonky, be sure to report it to developers. I’ve seen beta issues reported in App Store reviews. While developers certainly read those and learn from them, they have no way of reaching out to the customer to help. It is best to contact developers directly with your beta feedback.

If you’re using 1Password beta, we have dedicated beta discussion forums. The beta forums are monitored by our developers and our support team is around to help you seven days a week!

If something you report isn’t immediately addressed, don’t worry. Developers may not be able to do anything about it just yet. Rest assured that the issue will be resolved as quickly as possible.

1Password 5, El Capitan, and iOS 9

I’m happy to tell you that we have thus far encountered no major issues in our testing. I have noticed a couple of graphical and layout issues in El Capitan beta, but it’s too early to tell whether the issues are in 1Password 5 for Mac or in El Capitan beta. We don’t want to spend time fixing something that may not actually be broken on our end, so for the moment we’re waiting to see how things pan out. We’ve documented the issues so we don’t lose track of them.

How to test 1Password beta for Mac

You are warmly invited to join our family of beta testers. The more, the merrier! 1Password 5.4 beta for Mac doesn’t require El Capitan beta, but it does require that you use the AgileBits Store version of 1Password, not the Mac App Store version. It’s very easy to switch over, but you will not be able to sync with iCloud.

How to test 1Password beta for iOS

Apple’s TestFlight Beta Testing program enables developers to extend a limited number of invitations to customers. There has been a great deal of interest in 1Password beta for iOS, and we are not looking for additional testers at this time. You can be the first to hear about opportunities to join our beta family for iOS by following @1PasswordBeta on Twitter.

1Password beta for Mac does not require 1Password beta for iOS.

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Have fun!

I lied earlier. The most important thing is to have fun, but keeping in mind the foibles of beta software and protecting yourself against them are a close second. =)