iCloud Changes in the Website Version of 1Password 5

dtearedteare Agile Founder

Team Member
edited October 2014 in Mac

iCloud syncing was disabled in 1Password 5 for all users who were using the Webstore version of 1Password. Here's what changed and why.

Let's start with some background on iCloud and 1Password 4, and discuss what's changed in 1Password 5.

We first introduced iCloud in 1Password 4 for iOS (released December 2012), and later in 1Password 4 for OS X (released October, 2013). During the development of the Mac app, we found iCloud syncing worked both in the Mac App Store version, and in the version from our website, so we decided to take the simpler path (or so we thought!) and leave iCloud available in both versions. We thought it was simpler because it allowed the same code to be used in both versions.

Part of me worried that future updates to iCloud or OS X would prevent the Webstore from working properly with iCloud, so the user guide and purchase guides mentioned that if iCloud was important, the purchase should be made in the Mac App Store to ensure iCloud would continue to work.

Fast forward to 1Password 5 for Mac: 1Password 5 is a major release and one of the significant changes we made in this version was a complete re-write of iCloud syncing. 1Password 5 switched to Apple's new iCloud technology, CloudKit, which is only available on OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, and limited to Mac App Store apps only. After this change we were no longer able to offer iCloud syncing in the Webstore version of 1Password.

Roustem posted a really good blog article on why these changes needed to be made, as well as some history of 1Password and iCloud:

iCloud Changes in 1Password 5

Long story short, if you are using the AgileBits Webstore version of 1Password, iCloud is no longer available. The only way to re-enable iCloud is to re-purchase directly from the Mac App Store.

Thankfully our Webstore version has other syncing options available so it is NOT mandatory to purchase from the Mac App Store. 1Password also supports Wi-Fi as well as Dropbox, so you can continue syncing your data using one of these methods.

For more information on switching to WiFi sync, you can see our guide here:

Switching to Wi-Fi Syncing

For more information on switching to Dropbox sync, you can see our guide here:

Switching to Dropbox Syncing

I understand that this was a confusing transition, and I’m sorry about that. In retrospect we should have never added iCloud syncing to the Webstore version of 1Password. We have learned from this and will do our best to make sure it doesn't happen again.

I'm sure you will still have some questions so I collected the most relevant ones here, as well as their answers, so you didn't have to go digging.

Can you transfer my Webstore license to the Mac App Store?

Unfortunately there is no way for us to transfer your purchase from our store to Apple’s Mac App Store. This is a key feature we’ve been wanting Apple to add to the App Store for years, as it would make transitions like these much simpler.

While we would love Apple to add this feature, I can see from Apple's perspective that it doesn't make financial sense for them to allow purchases from our store to be transferred to theirs. They would have to foot the bill for data transfer costs without having any revenue. It would be like taking your TV to Walmart for a warranty repair when you purchased at Best Buy.

At the end of the day, however, this inflexibility puts us in a very tight spot as we're not able to help transition users to the Mac App Store. All we can do is put 1Password on sale, and we've done that, but it's certainly not ideal by any stretch of the imagination. Hopefully some day Apple will find a solution that works for everyone.

Can I get a refund for my AgileBits Webstore purchase?

If you purchased within the last 30 days, we would be happy to give you a refund from our store. In this case, please send your license key or purchase receipt to our team at [email protected] and we'll process your refund as soon as possible.

You could then purchase directly from the Mac App Store and re-enable iCloud sync.

I use Dropbox (or Wi-Fi) syncing; what changes do I need to make?

There's no changes required. The Webstore version of 1Password continues to support both of these sync methods so you need not switch.

Why did you allow iCloud syncing in the Webstore version?

In retrospect we should have never allowed iCloud syncing in the Webstore version. Hindsight is 20/20, but here is what we were thinking at the time.

First, we really dislike having differences between the Webstore and Mac App Store versions. Each difference requires different code paths, complicates the user guide, and makes it harder to answer customer questions as the answer will vary depending on where they purchased.

As I mentioned above, when we found iCloud syncing worked both in the Mac App Store version, and in the version from our website, we thought it would be simpler to leave iCloud available in both versions.

We did our best to advise users that the iCloud support provided in the webstore version was unofficial: the user guide and purchase guides mentioned that if iCloud was important, the purchase should be made in the Mac App Store to ensure iCloud would continue to work with future versions.

Unfortunately it was easy to miss these warnings so many people were surprised when iCloud was removed from the Webstore version. We've learned from this and will curb our optimism in the future when dealing with technologies we do not have complete control over.

Why didn't you use iCloud Drive?

We looked into using iCloud Drive but CloudKit had several key advantages. From Roustem's blog post:

  • CloudKit stores data as records instead of files. It allows apps to perform partial record fetches and updates that make syncing more efficient and do not force downloading or uploading an entire file.
  • Remote CloudKit database supports queries that allow 1Password perform syncing faster compared to scanning a directory of files.
  • CloudKit supports “server change tokens”. They are used by 1Password to quickly test for changes made on other devices.
  • 1Password on both Mac and iOS uses CloudKit Remote Push Notifications to perform syncing almost instantly when a change made on a remote device or Mac.
  • CloudKit provides a special record asset type (CKAsset) that is used to sync large attachments.

In addition to all these advantages, the move to iCloud Drive would have created problems of its own since iCloud Drive requires iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, which would have caused syncing to break for many users anyway.

In the end we decided that the benefits of CloudKit were too good to pass up and rewrote 1Password's iCloud syncing to use it.

Does this change mean you're abandoning the web store version of 1Password?

Not at all! Apart from iCloud sync, the web store version is every bit as full-featured, supported and secure as the Mac App Store version. We hold both versions to the same standards of design, development and customer service, and we will continue to update the web store version regularly alongside (and sometimes even before) the App Store version.

My question is not listed. Where should I go?

We have a separate set of iCloud Frequently Asked Questions that answer some questions not asked here.

If your question is not covered here, please create a new discussion with as many details as you can provide, so we can better assist you. We are always here to help!

This discussion has been closed.