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1Password and iOS 8 Videos Show Keys to Safer iPhones



There are a couple of new videos that show how the new Extensions APIs in iOS 8 show how password managers like 1Password could allow users to take advantage of Touch ID and Share Sheets to more easily facilitate the use of harder to crack passwords for protecting their data. Watching the videos one gets the impression that this is the way we’ve always imagined that password security should work on mobile devices. The videos, courtesy of Gabriel Nevado and AppAdvice, make it apparent that users could more quickly enter a password into any website or form from 1Password. This should help create an environment where iOS device users feel more comfortable creating unique and stronger passwords to protect their data. To put it bluntly, it’s about damned time.

IMG_2062Now that Apple is opening up the next version of its mobile OS, allowing developers closer access into the operating system via extensions, it looks like we’ll see what is currently a hard line between convenience and security blur a little. Our mobile devices promise a more convenient lifestyle allowing us to access just about anything on the web while on the go. Any form of security, including passwords, are a step away from convenience, slowing down that access for the sake of keeping the data we send to the web secure. But that’s the way security is designed to work. To be safe you tradeoff convenience for security. But at least as far as password management for our mobile lives is concerned that looks to possibly change for the better with iOS 8.

The essence of how this works as shown in the two videos looks simple for 1Password and iOS 8.  1Password will have access to Touch ID. To access your 1Password vault in iOS 8, a user places a registered finger on the Home Button and Touch ID opens up 1Password. This simplifies the current process of having to enter your master password or a PIN each time you need to visit 1Password. Obviously you can still use a passcode or PIN to unlock 1Password if Touch ID fails.

If you can’t see the video above follow this link.

More intriguing though is that the new API extensions might make trips to the 1Password App less of a necessity using Share Sheets. As you can see in the second video, if you come to a field or form requiring a password, you can access 1Password through a Share Sheet, which enters your password into the form, again using Touch ID.

If you can’t see the video above follow this link.

In theory this type of behavior should remove one of the obstacles that many mobile device users complain about when it comes to creating more difficult to remember (and crack) passwords. Previously iOS device users who wanted to take advantage of the password generation features of 1Password (and other password  Apps) would have to open the App, copy the password, then return to the App or website they were attempting to access and paste the password in. The process was as cumbersome as filling out an IRS tax form. It is no wonder that many users resisted some of the keys to good password management by creating a separate and unguessable password for each site they transacted with.

Now, whether a user relies on 1Password’s password generator or creates their own, the procedure looks to be simpler, which should, in theory, allow users to better control their password management and more easily take advantage of powerful tools like 1Password on iPhones and iPads.

Keep in mind that iOS 8 is still in Beta and so too is the early 1Password functionality we’re seeing in these videos and others posted on 9to5Mac. So, things could change going forward in how this works and how the UI looks. Here’s hoping that the general principles behind what we’re now seeing don’t change though. Simply touching a finger or thumb to your iPhone to enter a password to access a mobile website seems as natural as falling off a log. Perhaps the logjam we’ve had in the system up until now will begin to break up a bit.

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