Pragmatism 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 master password, you need a standalone vault that is created before you add your 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 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:

    Screenshot of 1Password's welcome page

  4. Enter a master password for the standalone vault. This will be your shorter Mac app-only password.
  5. Add your account to the Mac app. This requires your long master password.
  6. Ensure that you only use the vaults. In Preferences -> Vaults:
    • Ensure that the Vault for Saving is set to your vault in the 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 password.

3 thoughts on “Using a separate master password in 1Password for Mac

  1. i’m also disappointed to have to enter my master password frequently since I got a family account. i tried your steps. First I removed the already working program from my Mac. Then steps 1 and 2. Can you give more details for step 3 because I didn’t find a more options section so it was impossible to create a standalone vault.

    1. I'm sorry, but I don't have a spare Mac to check it on. I vaguely remember the there was a welcome type screen with a list on it and the last item allowed you to see more items and it was on that second list where create standalone vault could be found.

    2. I recently installed 1Password on a new machine, so was able to take a screenshot of the welcome page. Note that I downloaded 1Password from the website; it's possible that this option isn't available from the Mac App Store version of 1Password.

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