1Password 8 for Mac came out of beta and into public release on Tuesday, bringing a more modern redesign and a number of new features to the popular password manager. But there’s one thing about the app that might be a game-changer for Mac users: a new Universal Autofill feature that means you can automatically enter passwords into apps the same as you can in browser tabs.
Previously, like with most password managers, everything was seamless enough in the browser: load the webpage, click the icon, and it fills your password. But if you’re in a native app, you have to open your password manager, search for the account, and copy and paste your info into the app. With Universal Autofill, which 1Password assigns to a global ⌘ keyboard shortcut, you can open a new overlaid menu that will fill passwords in apps just like you’d expect. (1Password 8 has been out for Windows for months but doesn’t have a feature like Universal Autofill.) In my brief testing, it works well, and it’s impressively fast especially if you also have Touch ID turned on.
This new version has been a long-time coming. 1Password 8 has been in public beta for months — the company said 40,000 people have been testing it — and the company has promised it would fix practically everything that ailed previous versions: a strange Chrome memory bug, the app’s occasional slowness and confusing interface, everything. I’ve been one of those beta testers for the last few months, and it is in fact a massively better experience — fewer instances of 1Password taking forever to load or not loading at all, fewer memory-hog problems, and an interface that belongs in this decade.
But features like Universal Autofill are really what make or break password managers. Because even though it’s an unequivocal, no-question, easy-choice good idea to use a password manager, most people don’t. Password managers are a pain! On iOS and Android, where typing your long hexadecimal password is a hassle, password managers are an easy win, and both OSes have done a good job turning them into a two-tap process. On desktop, though, it’s both easier to type and more annoying to hunt through your password manager. 1Password is trying to solve that and give you even fewer reasons not to use it.
Universal Autofill is also one of those features that 1Password could use for many more things. The service has been branching out from “password manager” to “important-info-of-all-kinds manager” that also stores your crypto wallets, hides your email, and more. A feature like Universal Autofill could train users to use 1Password more and eventually use it to store more stuff.