Account Key and Account Recovery

invalidptrinvalidptr Junior Member

I’m overseas and have lost everything. No laptop. No phone. No wallet. No money.

This is my worst-case scenario. The question I'm looking to answer is: How can I get to my digital life?

Up until now, my plan has been: know my email password; know my dropbox password (where my vault is stored); and know my 1Password password.

1Password Account Key make this scenario more difficult. Would like to hear how other users deal with this scenario. I’ve seen topics in the forum about changing the account key. Is that the answer? Change my account key to something long and memorable?a

1Password Version: Not Provided
Extension Version: Not Provided
OS Version: Not Provided
Sync Type: Not Provided


  • BenBen AWS Team

    Team Member

    Hi @invalidptr

    I hope this is a hypothetical scenario? :( If not I'm very sorry to hear about the circumstances you've encountered and the loss of your possessions.

    The account key is not user settable. A new one can be generated, by going through account recovery, but they are always system generated.

    The answer is gaining access to your emergency kit. You should have a physical copy of your emergency kit somewhere. You'll want to get your hands on that. Alternatively, if you know your email account password, you can have another organizer on the account initiate account recovery for you so that you can reset your credentials for 1Password and login that way.

    I hope that helps!


  • invalidptrinvalidptr Junior Member

    Thanks Ben. Yes, this is a hypothetical scenario. Sorry if that wasn't clear. My mail provider is on the verge of converting to 2FA too so this all seems to be coming to a head on a number of different fronts. Good point about another organizer initiating account recovery. Let me think about that.

  • PilarPilar

    Team Member

    Hi @invalidptr

    On behalf of Ben you are welcome. It's always a good idea to plan ahead how to recover from a worst case scenario, I agree with you. If you have any other questions about the account recovery or anything else, please don't hesitate to ask :chuffed:

  • I would love to be able to turn off the Account Key feature for exactly this reason.

    As things stand, the Account Key has to be stored somewhere separate from one's devices - at a friend's home, in a friend's electronic data, etc. It can't be stored at home if one's devices are also kept there, and it can't be stored in any account for which you are unwilling to memorize the password. It's a bit of a hassle.

    I also doubt the Account Key adds much security for anyone who uses a good master password. The weak point of the system isn't the master password, it's the Touch ID mechanism and the temporary storage of one's master password in iCloud Keychain.

  • MeganMegan

    Team Member

    Hi @mrparanoid,

    Have you read any of our documentation on the importance of the Account Key? I think you might find it interesting. Our white paper also goes into fascinating detail about the way we designed the security for 1Password accounts.

    The Account Key is an important part of the security architecture that we’ve built here, and there are no plans to disable it or make it optional. If you have more questions about this, I’d be happy to bring a member of our security team into the conversation to provide a bit more detail. :)

  • Thanks for the response.

    I have read the URLs and even the white paper. It's great that you put all of that together. It's just that for me, the Account Key is more trouble than it's worth, because:

    1. For me, data availability is even more important than security. I'd hate to get hacked, but I'd hate even more to lose access to my own data.
    2. My master password is very strong.
    3. I use Touch ID on my iPhone and iPad and I am pretty sure that this mechanism (where the master password is moved into iCloud Keychain) is the weak link in the security chain. The best way for someone to get access to my data is to steal my iPhone or iPad and hack through the Touch ID mechanism, not to crack my master password, and the Account Key wouldn't help in this scenario. The Touch ID mechanism is great, I am willing to accept a reduction in security for the incredible convenience, but it does reduce the need for an Account Key.

    Also, last fall there was the following discussion here about this issue:

    I agree with what dteare wrote back then (in that discussion):

    I love the Account Key in 1Password for Teams, and in many ways, I agree with you that it would be a great addition to 1Password itself. After all, having an extra 128 bits of entropy available to combat brute force attacks is pretty awesome! The thing is, we worry a lot about data availability around here. While it doesn't happen every day, we do talk to quite a few customers who have forgotten their Master Password and it's not a fun experience. Our fear is adding the Account Key into the mix will cause a lot more people to become locked out.

    One of the main reasons 1Password for Teams is able to have an Account Key is because of the Recovery Group. When an end user forgets their Master Password or loses their Account Key, they can talk to their Recovery Admin and have access restored. This is a really great feature, and the way it is done ensures that only your Recovery Admin can do this (just like in 1Password, AgileBits has no way to reset your Master Password in 1Password for Teams). This recovery is only possible in a team environment.

    So while bringing the concept of Account Key to 1Password is possible, the concept of the Recovery Group is not. This curbs my enthusiasm for this feature greatly, and so at this time it is not something we're considering adding.

    Anyway, this is just my two cents. I love 1Password, it's a great program. Yesterday I switched from "regular" 1Password (synced via iCloud) to the new 1Password for Individuals plan. This allows me to not have to remember my iCloud authentication (which is great), but it adds the Account Key inconvenience.

  • BenBen AWS Team

    Team Member

    Thanks for taking the time to share your perspective on this @mrparanoid.

    One correction I'd like to make though is that we never store your Master Password in iCloud Keychain. We use the iOS keychain, which is unfortunately similarly named but an entirely different service that is local to the device (never sent to Apple or other devices).


  • Ben,

    Can you expand on what you meant by this?

    "Alternatively, if you know your email account password, you can have another organizer on the account initiate account recovery for you so that you can reset your credentials for 1Password and login that way."

  • PilarPilar

    Team Member
    edited September 2016

    Hi @slacker074

    You can read every detail about recovery here:

    If you're curious about the security behind this, at the end of the article you'll find the link to our White Paper, and detailed explanations of how this works :chuffed:

  • @Pilar

    Got it. Thank you.

  • JacobJacob

    Team Member

    On behalf of Pilar, you're welcome. :)

This discussion has been closed.