Developing software in the Real World

Using a separate master password in 1Password for Mac

I really like the 1Password password manager and recently switched to using the subscription based account. This allows access to my passwords via the web so, as you can imagine, I have a very strong 35 character master password set.

On my Mac, I use the 1Password app and that requires me to enter my master password reasonably frequently, so this very long password is not so desirable here. I’m comfortable that a 12 character password is enough locally as you have to log in to the Mac first.

To persuade 1Password for Mac to allow you to use a different master password to the 1password.com master password, you need a standalone vault that is created before you add your 1password.com account. Getting this right took a little bit of playing with and reading around, so I’ve written down the steps for when I next set it up.

The steps

  1. Log into your 1password.com account on the web and download the Mac app.
  2. Install the Mac app and start it.
  3. Choose to create a standalone vault. This is hidden under a more options section.
  4. Enter a master password for the standalone vault. This will be your shorter Mac app-only password.
  5. Add your 1password.com account to the Mac app. This requires your long 1password.com master password.
  6. Ensure that you only use the 1password.com vaults. In Preferences -> Vaults:
    • Ensure that the Vault for Saving is set to your vault in the 1password.com account
    • Uncheck your “Primary” standalone vault

That’s it. We can now log into the 1Password Mac app using a shorter password than our very secure master 1password.com password.

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