How to Unlock 1Password on Mac

Get access to your passwords in a snap with 1Password on your macOS device.

STUTTGART, GERMANY - 08/02/2021: Mobile phone with website of password management company AgileBits Inc.  (1Password) on the screen with the logo.
Image: Wirestock / Adobe Stock

1 Password is a great app for macOS, Windows, Android and iOS that helps manage your passwords and other secure information.

I’ve been using it for years, and the idea is that you only have to remember a single password – hence the name 1Password – which opens up a vault with everything else you need. You can then copy and paste your real password for your Google or Amazon account and you’re good to go.

1Password’s biggest advantage over Notepad documents is that it includes a built-in password generator to generate super secure passwords like 6gAcW@7hkWLhkpqBir or RvWY*vc9z6dAZe6f_A (both of which I just created with 1Password!) are extremely secure and nearly impossible to crack.

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They can’t remember either, and that’s the whole point: You just need to know how to unlock your 1Password vault, and then you can access all your super-secure passwords and use the 1Password browser extension to autofill them in your web browser.

Unlock 1Password on Mac with your password

There are several different ways to access 1Password, and they all share the same locking and unlocking functionality.

Whether you’re using the browser extension in Chrome or Safari, the handy menu icon at the top right of the screen by the clock, or the actual 1Password app, they unlock the same way. All 1Password vaults are password-secured. Enter it and your vault will unlock and give you access to everything inside.

That might be easy if your password is DavidOrtiz34, but some people are now using longer passwords like 4.score.and.7.years.ago that’s annoying to type out. That’s why there are several other ways to unlock the 1Password vault on your Mac.

Unlock 1Password on Mac with Touch ID

The easiest way is Touch ID, something built into recent laptops and some very new Mac desktops. If you’ve configured Touch ID to unlock your computer, you can also use it to unlock 1Password (Picture A).

Picture A

Use TouchID to access your 1Password vault.

When you open a locked 1Password vault, it will automatically ask you to place your finger on the Touch ID sensor to unlock the vault. If you don’t have access to the Touch ID button, such as if you’re using a laptop with an external display and lid closed, it will default back to asking for your password. It will also ask you to enter your account password at least every two weeks.

Most of the time, this makes unlocking your 1Password vault surprisingly easy.

Unlock 1Password with your Apple Watch

In addition to Touch ID, you can use Apple Watch to unlock your Mac and 1Password. I use this a lot, as I frequently use my laptop with an external monitor.

It works similar to Touch ID, only instead of a prompt to use your fingerprint, you get a notification sent to your Apple Watch, asking you to double-click the big button on the side to approve the open request. 1Password key (Figure BUG).

Figure BUG

Use your Apple Watch to unlock your 1Password vault.

Note that using Apple Watch with 1Password on macOS requires Secure Encryption, which is most Apple laptops built since 2018 and most Apple desktops built Built in 2020.

If you have a device that doesn’t support Touch ID or Apple Watch, you’ll need to enter your password whenever you need to unlock 1Password.

However, once you unlock your 1Password account vault, you’ll find it much easier and safer than a manila folder with loads of quick-written, crossed out, and quick-rewritten passwords.

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