Figuring out 1Password

Yesterday, after a big annoucement, 1Password seemed at first to be converting to a subscription model.

They weren’t, but it was very hard to tell that from the publicity and their website.

Lets see if we can make sense of where 1Password is now.

1Password comes in a wide variety of app versions, probably one for each mobile device and computer you use. This is both good and bad.

Good because now you can have your passwords right at hand on every device you own.

Bad, because now somehow all these passwords must be kept in sync across all these devices, and who knows whats changing where.

So Agilebits (the author) has two technical tasks in front of it:

  1. Write software for every platform that does the best job they can on that platform of keeping your passwords secret while having them available right when you need them.
  2. Come up with some way of making sure all these passwords stay in sync across both desktops/browsers (almost always connected), notebook (often connected), mobile (more often than notebooks, less often than desktops). Here you must respect both technical people that have a way they want to do it (such as Dropbox), and people that just want it to “work” without them having to set this up.

And a BIG financial task

  1. Price the software and services so that not only can development continue, but also you provide some plumbing to syncronize.

To date, there has been a mixed model in place.

  • You pay a license price that varies (sometimes widely) across platforms.
  • You have the option to purchase a builtin sync solution from 1Password, and pay per month. Or, you can roll your own

Yesterday, in an attempt to simplify the matter, they announced that starting yesterday, you could get the software for free. and just pay a monthly fee to support the ongoing syncronization across devices. Presumably this monthly fee is structured to support ongoing development, plus cover the infrastructure costs associated with ongoing operation of the service.

  • There is a free trial, and presumably this version will operate as long as you pay, then revert to some sort of read-only mode. You can find all the details here at
  • This probably covers a significant segment of their base that just simply wants this to work. However, it didn’t appear to cater to those of us that just wanted to pay once, and had a dropbox solution in place and had no need for another sync solution.

What wasn’t at all clear yesterday, and I would wager still isn’t clear, is that there is another option, not linked to from the 1password site.

  • You can still purchase a license using the old pricing methodology (pay once) over at . Apparantly this site is not linked from the 1password store because of some confusion in their customer based about the service vs. the software.

Whats the bottom line?

  • If you are cool with paying a fee and just want the password support to “just work”, then you probably want to head to the 1password store, and sign up for one of the monthly plans.
  • If you don’t like monthly fees and are happy to set up your sync using dropbox account, then the agilebits store is probably the way for you.

Hopefully I have all of this right, and this helps you if you are trying to work out what your 1password options are.