We’re in a security and privacy conscious age with our online lives these days, there’s no doubt about it. To underscore the most important part of what that means, we’re each responsible for our our own data security and whatever online privacy level we’re comfortable with. Until someone comes up with a better system for managing our online lives then passwords, a part of being safe and secure online is password management. And where’s there a need there will always be solutions. Password managers like 1Password, LastPass, Dashlane, and a host of others, exist to try and help you create and store passwords for websites and services and other items as well.
1Password has been a favorite of many for quite sometime because of its almost cross-platform nature. The “almost” refers to the fact that until yesterday there wasn’t a full service 1Password App for Android devices. Instead there was 1Password Reader which allowed you to view your stored passwords but not manage them to the full extent that you can on other mobile and desktop platforms.
With the new 1Password 4 for Android App you can now create your own passwords or use the password generator that 1Password offers. That feature suggests a random password for any site you need to create a new one for. The theory is you create one unguessable Master Password and let 1Password do the rest. 1Password protects your sensitive data with military grade 256-bit AES encryption. For those who use 1Password on multiple devices and platforms you can sync any changes you make to other 1Password clients via Dropbox. If you don’t want your encrypted password data stored in the Cloud you can choose to store it locally on your device.
Similar to the iOS version, there’s an integrated web browser that automatically logs you into websites with one tap. You can also create favorites that you need to access most often. And also similar to iOS (at least at the moment) you won’t be able to directly interact with 1Password in another browser for inserting passwords. You still need to copy the password info from 1Password and paste it into the website form you are accessing. In case you are worried about prying eyes looking over your shoulder 1Password allows you to copy that password without revealing it. 1Password also allows you to reveal the password if you need to. Hints suggest that Apple’s iOS 8 may allow that interoperability when it releases this fall.
1Password can be a storage vault for more than just passwords if that’s your druthers. You can store passport info, secure notes, server info, your social security number, software license information, and a host of other different categories of data, making 1Password your digital storage locker for information you might need to get to frequently or infrequently. For information you need to access infrequently that functionality can come in really handy. As long as you don’t forget your Master Password of course.
Here’s an interesting security feature difference between the iOS and Android versions of 1Password. On iOS you (or someone else) can take a screen shot of any screen, even one with a revealed password. In the Android version any attempt to take a screen shot brings up a message that says “Unable to capture screen. DRM protected image.” So, that’s a layer of security the Android version has that iOS does not.
1Password for Android is available for free until August 1, 2014 on the Google Play Store for users to try out all of the features. On August 1, Agilebits, the creator of 1Password will flip the switch on an in-app purchase that will unlock all of those features going forward. If you don’t want all of the features, the new App will simply become read only. That means you won’t be able to fully manage the features on your Android device, but for some that might be enough. Agilebits hasn’t named a price for the in-app purchase yet.