Remembering a different password for each site is an impossible task. If you use the same login credentials at most every site you are just asking for trouble that will eventually catch up to you. I started with a text file that had passwords that were partly obscured with a clever formula that was actually too easy to figure out. Eventually someone will steal your laptop or hack into your computer and do an automatic search across all your files to find that goldmine of passwords.
Encrypting a text file as a Word doc is a step above. Using a Google doc is an interesting option since Google docs are encrypted in the browser but still doesn’t offer many features compared to a real password manager.
A password manager is a simple concept. It is software that stores all your usernames and passwords to web sites, applications, and more in a local encrypted database. That database is protected by a single “master” password.
Let me tell you about both and why I prefer 1passwd.
1Password Review: The Mac OS X Password Manager
Here’s the key list of features:
- Stores logins to all online accounts. Logins are available in all browsers on all your different computers (Mac and PC) and smart phones (iPhone and Android). DropBox sync lets you edit your data in one place and it becomes updated in all the other locations.
- Stores “secure notes” (any text information that you want to save securely). I really like this feature – in fact I put my old password text file in here so I can mine it for old data that I have not yet manually added as individual logins.
- There are special areas to store software licenses, serial numbers and product codes.
- There is also a “wallet” area to store credit cards and passport and other information – you can even save a scan of those kinds of documents.
- The real power of 1Password comes when you put the database itself in a shared environment like DropBox.com. that allows you to sync all your logins in all your browsers on all machines (laptop and desktop) as well as all mobile devices. It’s all backed up and synced all the time. Welcome to the future – now if they had a workable biometric option in the iPhone i would not have to enter my long master password so often and that would smooth out the process.
This software works really well. I can’t really say if RoboForm or 1Password is better for your unique situation but I think 1Password is more actively maintained and provides broader support and a wider range of features. They both get the job done without having to think about them.
Password Manager Pricing
I learned about RoboForm years ago but they didn’t have a Mac version. My brother used it and I was really impressed. RoboForm is free for up to 10 saved logins – then you need to by a license for each Mac/PC you use. Now it’s $10/year – not alot of money but of course you have to keep paying. See below for more options. 1Password starts at $31.99 $49.99but that’s a one time payment and you get a regular stream of free updates that give you access to lots of new features.
- RoboForm Desktop for Mac: $29.95 one time fee. Well, after years of only being made for the PC now Roboform is available for the Mac.
- RoboForm Desktop 7: $29.95 one time fee. This is for WIndows 7.
- RoboForm2Go 7: $39.95 one time fee. An interesting option – store your Roboform data on a USB stick.
- RoboForm Everywhere:$9.95 yearly subscription. If you want to use Roboform on your iPhone/iPad/Andriod then you need this version. The mobile apps are free but you must use the desktop app to create content (Logins, Identities, Safenotes). RoboForm for iPhone/iPad cannot Save or Edit Logins
- 1Password (direct link to Agile Software) Mac + Windows Bundle: $69.99 Single user license, $99.99 Family license
- 1Password 3 for Mac (iTunes store link): $49.99 Single user license, $69.99 Family license (Family license=5 family members living in the same household – iOS apps must be purchased separately through the iTunes App Store and are not included in the family license)
- 1Password for Windows: $49.99 Single user license, $69.99 Family license
- 1Password for iOS: iPhone & iPad (iTunes store link): $17.99
1Password is available for Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad, and Android. 1Password is totally compatible with OS X 10.7 Lion and the 10.8 Mountain Lion as well as 10.6.
The team at Agile that makes 1Password is very active about staying on top of all the changes in operating systems and browsers so everything works everywhere all the time.
Make sure and search Google for the terms 1Password Coupon — you can sometimes find significant discount coupon codes (Desktop apps or bundles only, generally these are not available for iPhone/iOS apps)
Bottom Line: Review of 1Password and Roboform
- RoboForm is less expensive but not as fully featured as 1Password
- Some users out there might want both – one for sharing work passwords with a work group and one for sharing personal passwords with family. At this point neither product allows for separating logins into groups.
- If you have one of these tools it’s worth upgrading to sync the various versions together