“Passwords.”  The word alone is enough to make people shudder with fear.  It seems like everything nowadays requires a password; your bank, your email, shopping sites, and on and on and on.  Everyone has their own solution, whether it’s a “master list” printed out on paper or scrawled out on sticky notes below your computer’s screen.  The problem with those is that they’re highly insecure.  Heaven forbid if someone should break into your house, they would have access to your entire digital life.  You could consider putting everything into a text file on your devices, but that’s not easily updated and takes a lot of searching to find the password you need.

There are quite a few password manager apps out there now, but by far the best one I’ve seen is 1Password.  Available for the Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android, the app is able to store all of your passwords in one highly secure “vault.”  All you have to remember is one master password, which unlocks your vault and allows you to view all of your other passwords.  You can also save a lot of other types of information, such as product serial numbers or just generic text notes.  Plus, when you have the app on all your devices, they can sync using iCloud, Dropbox, or Wi-Fi so you know your passwords will always be up to date.

I can understand if you’d be concerned about keeping all your passwords in one place, but you need not fear hacking with 1Password. Unless of course your adversaries are willing to devote a really fast computer to the task for 5,600 years!  Without getting too technical, 1Password uses a special type of encryption that slows down the rate at which criminals can guess your passwords.  As long as you choose a secure master password that has a good mix of letters, numbers, and symbols, you should be just fine.  The company actually put out a blog post on how to choose really secure master passwords.

Once you have 1Password installed and you log into a website on your Mac, you will see a pop-up asking if you would like to save it in your 1Password vault.  After saving it, all you will need to do for future logins is press command + backslash (“\”) on your Mac’s keyboard and the information will auto-fill.  Also, if you’re the proud owner of an Apple device that supports Touch ID, you can also just use your fingerprint to unlock your vault.

1Password Touch ID example

One downside is that the process for adding a login from a mobile device is slightly more complicated.  Since the mobile version of Safari doesn’t have the ability to install browser extensions, it can’t automatically create a pop-up to ask if you want to save a password.  You will have to manually add the login by opening the 1Password app and then clicking the “+” button in the upper-right corner.  The good news is that they have a list of many popular websites which you can choose from if the login you’d like to save is for one of those sites.

I’ve used plenty of other password managers, and I’ve never found something as rock-solid and easy-to-use as 1Password.  So burn your master password list and download the app today!

1Password for the Mac

1Password for iPhone/iPad