1Password for Android Adds Support for Fingerprint Unlock
The Toronto-based password management software company AgileBits has pulled a bit of a Microsoft move with its latest release of 1Password. It's calling the new Android update for its flagship software iPassword 6 -- skipping over "5" completely, as Microsoft did with "9" between Windows 8 and Windows 10.
By jumping from iPassword 4 to 1Password 6, AgileBits is drawing attention to its alignment with Google's latest version of its Android mobile operating system, Marshmallow 6, which was released in October. In addition to supporting Google's "material design" approach for consistent user experience across devices, the updated 1Password also enables fingerprint-activated unlocking on Android phones running Marshmallow.
Announced yesterday, AgileBit's latest update also adds support for 1Password for Teams, the company's password management system for groups of users. 1Password for Teams is currently in public beta, and is available on devices running Android 5.0 and up.
Clearer, 'More Convenient' Experience
With the new integration of Android's material design "visual language," the 1Password update will offer users "cleaner and more spacious layouts, a navigation drawer, toolbars, and umpteen other things, all focused on a simpler, clearer, more convenient user experience," happiness engineer Nik Lal said yesterday in a blog post on the AgileBits Web site.
The addition of support for fingerprint unlocking also allows users to unlock the 1Password application with a subtle and simple motion, Lal noted. "It's really cool to see how this natural motion quickly and securely unlocks 1Password," he said.
Other new features in 1Password 6 for Android include improved syncing for Wi-Fi, refreshed icons for categories and settings, a floating button to add new items and a toolbar "everywhere now," which means that controls don't pop in and out of view, Lal said.
'Huge Release' with Complete UX Redesign
While commenters said they welcomed the latest release from AgileBits, a number questioned why the company has not yet added support for OPVault, a data format the company introduced for iOS and Mac in 2012. OPVault replaced the previous AgileKeychain format that was used to synchronize password data and update across devices, platforms and cloud-based services such as Dropbox.
In response to questions from several users about the lack of OPVault support for Android, co-founder Dave Teare said the company "would have loved" to have added such support, but did not want to delay the release of 1Password 6 any further after making so many other major changes to the software.
"1Password 6 was a huge release already," Teare said in a comment to the blog post. "We completely redesigned the UX and have built an entirely new backend to support 1Password for Teams. Doing both of these (plus Fingerprint Unlock and all the other improvements above) took an incredible amount of time and energy."
However, "we have made some progress towards OPVault already," Teare added. The new 1Password for Teams, for example, uses an encryption format similar to that of OPVault "so the knowledge we gained during implementation will help us down the road," he said.