1Password upsets long-time fans with big version 8 update for Mac

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1Password 8 for Mac
The update has not gone down well.
Photo: 1Password

1Password today rolled out its big version 8 update on Mac, and a lot of users are less than pleased. The release introduces a significant design revamp and improvements to Watchtower, the feature that helps you weed out weak passwords.

Version 8 also promises performance improvements, but fans aren’t happy that it has been completely rewritten as an Electron app, and it’s now a subscription-only service, with no option to buy a one-off license.

On the face of it, 1Password 8 looks like a pretty stellar update. Creator AgileBits calls it “our best Mac app to date.” Its user interface has been reworked to make it easier to use, with more information at your fingertips.

A new Quick Find feature makes it easier to find the usernames and passwords you’re looking for, and you can now create collections that put associated accounts or vaults together in one place.

1Password’s dark mode has also been improved, as has item editing. Then there are the enhancements to Watchtower, which rates your passwords based on strength, making it easy to weed out weak or reused items that need to be updated.

So, what’s the problem? Well, it’s what’s going on in 1Password 8 under the hood that has long-time users so upset.

1Password 8 switches to Electron

In the interests of unity across platforms, 1Password 8 has been rebuilt as an Electron app. This makes it easier for AgileBits to provide a more seamless experience across all desktop platforms — Mac, Windows and Linux. But it means 1Password is no longer a completely native app on macOS, and early testers report that it is consuming more processing power and RAM.

“This makes me sad,” tweeted Curtis Herbert. “1PW7 had some annoying UX regressions, and now this in 1PW8 … This is the kind of shit I knew was going to happen when they raised money and entered the VC rat race … Things we original users loved, like great apps, would be less of a priority.”

1Password 8 for Mac
Its new look isn’t pleasing everyone.
Photo: 1Password

“This feels like a betrayal of your original macOS customers,” wrote Snorlax_Returns on Reddit. “I support 1PW using its money to grow in enterprise and on other platforms, but not at the expense of the customers who made 1PW successful in the first place.”

“This is a huge step back in all aspects sadly,” added xmanuw. “after trying the app out for 5 minutes I uninstalled it again … this rewrite looks and feels like cheap non native crap and doesn’t improve on any pain points but introduced loads more new ones.”

“I agree that moving to Electron is not a guarantee that an application will be slower than it is before,” wrote cytzol on the Hacker News forum. “Unfortunately, though, I tried it out and 1Password 8 is laggy — noticeably, awkwardly laggy — compared to 1Password 7.

And there’s more

It’s not just that 1Password is an Electron app now. Fans are also unhappy that the update removes local vaults and the ability to sync with iCloud or Dropbox, and that it’s now a subscription-only service, with no option to pay a one-off license fee like you could with previous versions of the app.

1Password 8 for Mac
Watchtower will help you eliminate poor passwords.
Photo: 1Password

Many 1Password users claim they will now consider switching to other password management solutions. Others say they will give AgileBits the benefit of the doubt and try out 1Password 8 a little more extensively before decided whether or not they will continue there subscriptions.

And, of course, there are users who support the move to Electron, and appreciate that it could lead to a more unified experience across desktop platforms. It’s also worth noting that 1Password 8 isn’t completely finished yet. It’s currently available in early access, but there’s still work to be done.

If you do try out the update and you have feedback for AgileBits, you are encouraged to submit it in the early access forum, where the 1Password team “will be hanging out, answering your questions, and incorporating your feedback into the official release.”

And if you’re adamant you’re giving up on 1Password, allow us to recommend Dashlane, the official password manager of Cult of Mac. It works across all platforms, just like 1Password, and it’s packed full of useful features. It also includes its very own VPN to bolster your online security.