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1Passwd: Unify Password Support Across All Browsers

Published February 1st, 2007

1Passwd: Password Manager + AutoFill for Mac OS X

1Passwd Unified Password Support AppOriginally downloaded January 31, 2007. If you switch browsers a lot or use applications that don’t natively support Apple’s Keychain, 1Passwd may be just the thing to help you out. It not only provides unified password support—while still utilizing Keychain—but goes beyond that in a number of ways. 1Passwd lets you set up multiple identities for its autofill functionality, through which it can automatically fill in forms on various websites. You can specify how much or how little of the requested information is supplied by picking the appropriate user. There’s more, but at this point I’ve done nothing more than read the website info and watch the developer’s screencast. At the developer’s request, I’ll be trying 1Passwd out myself and will post a review of it here in a couple days, so stay tuned! One other factoid of interest is that you can use 1Passwd for free within certain limits, which is a very nice way of publishing shareware. Without registering ($30 for a single user, $40 for a family license), you can have 1Passwd handle passwords for a single user identity and for up to 12 web forms.

Update 2/2/07. Unlike most reviews here at Software Addicts, this review of 1Passwd is being paid for by the application developer through This explains why I’m getting the review done so quickly rather than waiting months (sometimes)… But I assure readers that 1Passwd is subjected to the same scrutiny that all the Mac software we evaluate is, and I’ve shown the developer no mercy in putting 1Passwd through its paces. Fortunately for me, the developer, and the Mac community at large, 1Passwd is a delightful application that will does a great job of extending the Mac OS X keychain to several web browsers that don’t natively support it.

At first, I was skeptical, mainly because most of the apps I use and care about already support Keychain. But in fact, there are several big ones that don’t. Although I don’t use Firefox, Camino, Flock, or OmniWeb, I do use the nightly WebKit browser, which, like those other apps, doesn’t use the Keychain and doesn’t leverage Safari’s saved forms functionality. So I can see right away that 1Passwd would take away my main misgivings about putting Safari aside: It would let me use WebKit while still getting Safari’s form-filling and password-remembering smarts. The application lets you import all relevant Keychain entries from Safari, thus making them available to the other browsers as well. (I believe 1Passwd also imports Safari’s saved forms, but I wasn’t able to test this.) The only caveat here is that the process requires you to approve 1Passwd’s use of each and every Keychain entry, and if you have hundreds of these (as I do), it could take awhile… longer than you may want to spend, in fact.

1Passwd's Main Password-Management Window

I should note that one thing I didn’t like about 1Passwd is the demo restriction you work under, which limits you to 12 passwords and one identity. This restriction limited my ability to fully test 1Passwd’s scalability, or to see how it would handle import of information from multiple browsers. On the other hand, you can freely use 1Passwd with this restriction if it’s no problem for you… there is no time limit.

Besides its use in enabling Keychain for other web browsers, 1Passwd also has a unique feature that lets you set up multiple identities for yourself. This is useful if you want to set up specific profiles for web logins, or to specify what information you want to provide about yourself to a given website. Using a toolbar icon that 1Passwd places in your browser (different, customizable icons for each browser, by the way…), you can tell the software to log you in as “Bob” on this website and as “Dick” on another. On one website, you can log in with an identity that provides your address details, while using a different one elsewhere that provides only your name and email address.

Like Keychain, 1Passwd runs in the background, and it requires you to authenticate its use of information entered into web forms. If you decide to use 1Passwd, you may want to turn off your browser’s native support for this functionality… otherwise, you’ll end up authenticating several times. Fortunately, 1Passwd appears to have robust export features, so your data won’t be locked inside in case you decide to stop using it at some point. You can export your information to Passport Wallet format, plist format, and for use on a Palm or Treo, for example.

I did run into a few problems while testing 1Passwd, but none that significantly affected usability or functionality. Mostly, the list of Cons in the table below are suggestions for improving the user experience… They’re features I like to see in all A-Class Mac OS X software, so I try to encourage developers to adopt them. Especially for the family license, which covers your household’s use of 1Passwd for $40, this software is a good value. The following is a list of the pros and cons I noted during my evaluation.



  • Very attractive interface for managing identities, passwords, secure notes, and so on.
  • Clear, detailed help pages do a great job explaining all the options and how to enable them.
  • Great integration with the Mac OS X keychain, including advanced options such as .mac synching and import of passwords from other browsers’ keychains (Safari and Camino specifically).
  • Supports smart folders for organizing your passwords and autofill form data.
  • Although I’m a big fan of Apple’s Keychain application, I can see how 1Passwd’s interface would simplify the process of looking up form data you’ve saved.
  • 1Passwd supports multiple identities, which gives users the power to “be” different people for autofill-form purposes in different circumstances. Simply use the button that appears in your browser’s toolbar to switch identities, and from then on 1Passwd will pull only the information authorized for that identity when filling forms etc.
  • Like the Keychain, 1Passwd will fill in forms and password fields when it isn’t running, either automatically or through interaction with the toolbar icon it adds to your browser.
  • The notes functionality supports use of a separate set of “categories”, which correspond to the folders you can set up in the Folders section. When working in Notes, you can set up folders independently from those you set up in Web Forms.
  • I tested 1Passwd with Camino, Firefox, and WebKit (which doesn’t natively use the Mac OS X Keychain, incidentally… a huge difference from its commercial Safari sibling), and it worked great and reliably.
  • Importing keychain passwords from Safari will take forever, since you have to authorize each website individually. This may not be 1Passwd’s fault, but it sure is a hindrance to setting it up if you’ve been using the default Keychain and Safari pretty much exclusively for years… I ended up having to force-quit WebKit because I couldn’t wait while 1Passwd checked with me on all 666 Keychain web passwords (including web form passwords).
  • Apparently, you must have 1Passwd running in order to use its keychain. This isn’t totally intuitive if you’re used to using Keychain itself, which doesn’t have to be running in order to manage your passwords and form data. Update: I must have been mistaken here… perhaps the issue is that 1Passwd must have saved a password using a given browser before it will make itself available via the toolbar icon? In any case, it does now appear even when the application isn’t running.
  • 1Passwd’s 12-form restriction is too restrictive for a reasonable evaluation of the software, since it counts every saved password as a saved form. I was able to get a bit more flexibility by deleting two of the passwords imported from Safari; however, it wasn’t until I emptied the trash that 1Passwd recognized I had only 10 saved passwords instead of the 12 max.
  • The software’s default naming system for autosave forms appears inconsistent. In one case, it saved the form as “Autosave form - username/passwd”, while in the next case, it named it from the HTML page’s Title. Fortunately, it’s easy to rename these in the main 1Passwd window.
  • As with several Mac apps since Tiger, it’s unclear how to set up a smart folder. There’s no function for this in the menubar, and the “+” icon in the status bar just sets up a regular folder by default… doesn’t give you a choice.
  • When I deleted the regular folder I’d made by mistake (see above), 1Passwd crashed.
  • I was fooled into thinking 1Passwd supports smart folders because the application uses the “smart folder” icon… it turns out that you can’t set up smart folders, after all. I think the two folders that have the smart folder icon are indeed “smart” folders… that is, they contain criteria-based lists–one for all passwords and one for all “unassigned” passwords. To “assign” passwords to folders, though, is a manual exercise. Oh well…
  • I’d like more contextual menus… for example, to delete a password from the list, you can’t Ctrl-click (or right-click) and use a delete function. Instead, you have to use either the menubar or the action menu icon in the pane’s status bar. The same is true if you want to edit an item.
  • The developer could also make better use of the application’s toolbar… at the moment, you can’t customize it at all, other than collapsing it with the toolbar icon. Again, there’s no contextual menu associated with the toolbar, nor is there a function in the menubar. There are a number of useful features that could be added to the 1Passwd toolbar, since 1Passwd is a Cocoa app.

Version as tested: 2.3.5.

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