Some Parting Thoughts...

Dear 1Password team,

As a satisfied and long-time customer of 1Password, I have made the decision to move on, quite simply because the way you envision 1Password heading towards the future, keeps moving further and further away from my needs with each decision you make.

Ever since I decided to purchase 1Password, I have had nothing but good things to say about the product, its integration and most importantly, the courtesy with which I was treated, the few times I asked for help on these very same forums. Heck, you even went as far as to issue me a free upgrade license for the Windows version of the app since I technically wasn't eligible for a free upgrade, having missed the free upgrade period by a couple of days!

Having been treated more than fairly for giving you my hard-earned money over the years, I decided that the least I can do is draft this open letter to offer you guys some insight to why I made this decision, in the hope that if I am not alone or in the vast minority of users who feel similarly (and therefore insignificant from a business/financial perspective); a hopefully constructive post can maybe make you guys think twice about the future direction of this amazing product.

In the course of the past five years or so, I happily paid the licenses for 1Password for my Mac, Windows and iOS clients. Although I never felt comfortable with the idea of having sensitive information stored on a cloud service, I begrudgingly had to live with it for the sake of simplicity (sync between multiple OS platforms is a must for me). During the years, I even posted at these very forums inquiring about the possibility of releasing a version that would allow the sync of vaults stored on a local NAS but although your answer was friendly (as always), I was left with the impression that this was something that you were not interested in pursuing.

During the last year, you introduced a subscription-based model (like many of your competitors) and the concept of the account. Although admittedly no one forced me to upgrade and my current versions still work for all platforms, it became evident that at some point, support for things still lacking (Edge support in Windows), future product enhancements, etc would make me reconsider my options. During the weekend, I thought about what my absolute must have requirements were, in that following order:

  1. Multi OS support (MacOS, Win, iOS) and browser extensions.
  2. No monthly/yearly subscription.
  3. No dependence on centralised ".com" account to access, manage or sync your vault or your settings.
  4. Locally stored vault and the ability to have all my desktop and mobile clients sync from that location once in LAN range.

Please note that when I mention "no monthly or yearly subscription", I don't mean free. I happily purchased 1Password and would do the same for an upgrade every couple of years provided I saw the value offered for the new version. It's just the idea of a subscription that I find off-putting. When I pay for something, I want to be able to use it for ever. This is why I haven't upgraded to v6 and will never do. This is why I chose to move on from other amazing products as well (such as Parallels Desktop), to other solutions. Yes, I know that IaaS is all the rage right now in the corporate world but I'm not so sure that this translates in the consumer market just as well. A recurring subscription makes the end user (at least me), feel like a hostage. Yes, I know I can opt out at any time. Yes, I understand that this business model potentially generates a lot more revenue for you (and more importantly, it does that on a yearly basis), but bottom line, I don't like being held hostage. Listen to your customers, make an amazing product which you renew with awesome new must-have features every couple of years and you'll be sure that you'll have my money and support for the next version!

Finally, regarding the switch to the ".com" account that you decided to actively market, this is also a deal-breaker for me. iCloud or Dropbox (although both have been hacked over the years) is one thing, but creating a ".com" account? It's not that I don't trust YOU guys. It's the thought that my personal info is out there. Yes, I know you'll try to defend that decision with technical white papers, two-step authentication options, the fact that the vault is encrypted so even if someone manages to break-in they still need access to the master password etc. The fact remains that my personal info, my passwords, credit cards etc are on a cloud or a third-party server. Please give me the option to store my vault locally for all platforms.

I hope that from the way I communicated my thoughts and arguments, it is clear that the only thing I want to do is to offer some constructive criticism and maybe give you guys some thoughts on the future direction you're willing to take with 1Password. Although I haven't been a very active member of the community (the product worked so well, I seldom had the need to visit the support forums), I absolutely love 1Password and would be happy to come back at a later date, once/if your business model comes closer to meeting my needs.

Please forgive the length of my post, but given the level of service you have provided me over the years, it's the least I can do for you guys.

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


  • I have to admit that the subscription service is a turn off for me. Like yourself I don't mind paying for the software as and when needed but unless I stop using the application its month after month, year after year and if you have other applications like Parallels which you mentioned they do start to add up - even when your not using them.

  • I strongly concur with the comments about the subscription service. Having used 1Password for very many years, and having been a loyal supporter of a respected company, I view with more than a little dismay the clear and apparently unstoppable shift away from the standalone apps (in spite of posts from AgileBits at the time the subscription service was introduced assuring us that there was no such intention).

    We are told that the subscription is cheap for what is offered but, as so often, that's really not the full story. I'm in the UK and have a "family" of two of us. That's effectively $60 per year (billed annually)—plus 20% value added tax and a foreign exchange fee: so just over $72 a year for two people...with the prospect, no doubt, of rising prices in the years to come. While that might conceivably represent good value for a large family it certainly does not for me. Add that to the fact that, as other apps follow the subscription route, the total annual spend rapidly increases and you end up with some serious decisions to be made as to the best way to prioritise retirement income.

    Yes, I'm well aware of "four free months" offers and the fact that the subscription service does not lock in your data if you stop paying. I'm afraid none of that attracts me to bite that rather expensive bullet. I'm also reasonably technically competent and, like others, much prefer keeping my vaults local so far as possible.

    It is a little sad to see things at AgileBits going the way they apparently are.


  • dancodanco Senior Member Community Moderator

    While I am not as opposed to subscriptions as some people, I too wish AgileBits were still selling a stand-alone licence upfront, rather than hiding it and only selling to those who specifically ask.

    But there is one cost aspect that I do not think @Stephen_C (and others) have properly taken into account. That is the cost of upgrades. If there were a major paid upgrade very year (which isn't unreasonable to assume) then the cost of this is about the same as the cost of a subscription. VAT and foreign exchange fees would apply for upgrades just as for subscriptions, and two purchased upgrades could probably be more than a family sub. Of course upgrades might well be only once very couple of years, which alters the balance. And AgileBits (unlike most other developers) have until now been very kind in not charging for upgrades, but they cannot be expected to continue this policy even if they sold stand-alone licences completely in parallel with the sub.

  • rickfillionrickfillion Junior Member

    Team Member
    edited May 2017

    Thank you (the 4 of you so far) for voicing these concerns with an amazing amount of kindness.

    I remember feeling very similar things during the switch from 1Password 2 to 1Password 3. I think that was the one (I was user back then and my memory's a little fuzzy). This was when 1Password said goodbye to using the OS X keychain for storage and instead introduced its own "agilekeychain" concept/file. I was perfectly happy using the OS X keychain. I trusted the OS X keychain. And here I'm being told to go and put my most sensitive of data in this new format... and then put it in dropbox?! Honestly, it was scary for me. I read all of the posts about how AgileKeychain could sync better, etc... but it really didn't do much to make me feel better. I put off doing that upgrade for a while.

    So what changed in that case? The biggest thing is that time elapsed and this AgileKeychain thing got to start building trust on its own. Trust takes time. During that time other things started to come out that supported AgileKeychain being the future. 1PasswordAnywhere is a nice example of that, it was simply amazing for its time. I don't think I ever once used 1PasswordAnywhere for anything real, but it represented future possibilities. As a user I started to understand why this change made sense. It wasn't just a storage change, it was a broader change and a bet on the future.

    I won't address every point raised here... there are discussions all over about specific points. Even if each individual point is addressed, it won't necessarily change the overall impression. Just like my hesitance with AgileKeychain.

    I think that 1Password Teams/Families/Individuals is still in the "earning trust" phase. It's slowly proving itself technologically and that's cool... but one area that I think it's been weaker at is showing the future potential. It needs its 1PasswordAnywhere (and I don't mean that literally... cause the webapp's vault viewer is so much cooler than 1PasswordAnywhere). Being inside the company and working on this stuff, it's often easy for us to make assumptions that everyone can see what we see.

    There's an important difference between what's happening now and the move to AgileKeychain. In the case of the OS X keychain, it was decided that it was unworkable... that a complete switchover was needed (and looking back, they were right, the OS X keychain is a usability nightmare). This time, it's different. OPVault and iCloud/CloudKit sync are still really good for a bunch of cases. If someone's having a good time with them, we want them to continue doing so. Some features simply won't be possible to do without a centralized server, but there's still a lot that we can do without.

    I really hope that over time we can re-gain some of that trust that we've pretty clearly lost.


  • Rick, @rickfillion, I appreciate, as always, the considered and courteous response on behalf of AgileBits. It's things like that which perhaps sustain my otherwise somewhat weakened loyalty!

    @danco while I understand your comment I'd not discounted upgrade costs but, perhaps unfairly, had taken the history of paid upgrades as some sort of indicator of future payment probability.

    Thanks to both of you.


  • rickfillionrickfillion Junior Member

    Team Member

    No no... thank YOU, Stephen. You're a big part of why this forum is a great resource for 1Password users. :)


  • dfuerpodfuerpo Junior Member

    I was going to leave this comment somewhere on the forum and saw this thread and thought this might be a good place for it. I have been using 1Password since version 2 on Mac as well as on Windows and iOS. I can honestly say that it has become the most useful and indespensible application I use. When I first read about the subscription model, I too was a little leery, having just been stung by the Adobe Creative Cloud plan. Nevertheless, I can see some advantages and could justify the additional cost to include family members.

    My biggest concern is the robustness of your cloud. Dropbox is very robust and secure. They originally were hosted by Amazon's AWS data center and then they got big enough to build their own robust cloud system. The big dogs in cloud data centers are Amazon, Google and Microsoft, with Apple a distant fourth. As a small company, I am worried about how robust your cloud system would be. If I knew you were using one of the big three to host your cloud, I would feel a lot better about switching to the subscription plan. What happens to the availability of my data if your cloud system goes down for three days?

  • BenBen AWS Team

    Team Member
    edited May 2017

    Hi @dfuerpo

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    1Password Teams (and our other offerings) presently stores all database information using an Amazon Web Services Aurora database instance. You can read more about how the service is designed here:

    1Password Security Design White Paper



  • dfuerpodfuerpo Junior Member

    That is very helpful! Thanks!

  • brentybrenty

    Team Member
    edited May 2017

    @dfuerpo: Believe it or not, it's even a pretty fun read. Lots of good info there, and if you have any questions, just let us know. :sunglasses:

    But I did also want to mention that you can still access your data offline with a membership using the app. You won't be able to login to in your browser in that case, but the app caches your data locally so you can get at it without an internet connection or if the service is down for brief maintenance. Cheers! :)

  • primeprime
    edited May 2017

    Pricing.... This was an issue with me, but it wasn't really holding me back. I was more worried about the security. Once I read all I needed, a deal came up for 1Password for families and I jumped on it. My wife reminds me how much we spend on useless crap, and this is just a great tool. I'm not saying I waste money, but I don't need to go out for lunch as often. Just going out to lunch 1 time less a month more than pays for this, and it's healthier haha.

    I think we have ourselves to blame at times with all these subscriptions. People just started using hacked/illegal copies of stuff and companies weren't making money. It makes me so mad when I hear people downloading a hacked copy of a program, but yet they complain about how much something else was. It's like supporting the musician to me. I won't download music illegally because I want to support the artist. If that band I like doesn't show sales, they don't have a contact. If they don't have a contract, no more new music.

    I know companies need to make money to stay in business, or we won't have a product to use anymore. I think we all got spoiled because AgileBits didn't charge us all the time for updates. I think I started with 1Password 4 (2 years ago last month I got it) and got all the way until the subscription without paying for any updates.

    I love the support here. I know I've been a total jerk at times and they were always so professional and calm with things.

    For people who don't need all the slots in a family account, added your kids, parents, or others family member... and charge them $1-$2a month. This will offset the cost :)

  • brentybrenty

    Team Member

    @prime: Well...I waste money, just not on 1Password. I'll keep trying to improve where I can (baby steps), but life is too short to give up all of the simple (or not-so-simple, expensive...) pleasures. :wink:

    You make a great point about adding additional members. We don't decide whom you count as family, and frankly every trusted member you add is potentially someone who could bail you out in a pinch. It's totally up to you. :)

  • @brenty 1Password is actually one of the things I don't feel like I'm wasting my money. It's funny, because before I came to 1Password, I was looking at other password managers. Dashlane was nice, but it was a subscription.... how things change in 2 years. I think it's because I feel like I'm getting my money's worth with 1Password. In the 2 years I feel that this is worth it with easy to use, support, and just great all around.

    I think it annoyes me that people have no problem spending money on such stupid things, but when it comes to something that's worth it, they all cry. I don't even see value in cable tv anymore, and why I don't have it.

    Now that I have today off, where should I go out to eat for lunch? Maybe the local bar for a nice burger :)
    (Wasting money hahahaha)

  • After using 1password for about 3 years, I just recently moved back to LastPass. I decided that I wanted to get away from Dropbox syncing, so going with or another service were the options. The deal breaker for me wasn't the subscription model or the cloud syncing, it was the Windows app.

    Half of my time is spent in front of a Windows machine. 1Password on Windows, whether it's the old standalone version, or the cloud version, feels half-baked compared to the macOS version. The new cloud-only app is barely functional, in my opinion.

    I just couldn't pay a premium for a service that has a half-baked Windows app. LastPass, despite having some downfalls, does have fully functioning apps on all platforms. When you guys get the Windows app comparable to the macOS app, I'll definitely be back.

  • BenBen AWS Team

    Team Member

    Thanks for the feedback @attrapereves. The Windows team has made great strides, but the Mac team has a few years worth of a head start on them. It'll take a bit to catch up. They are making steady progress, though. :)


  • Strange, the 1Password on Windows is the only good thing about Windows haha

    My wife uses it a lot on her work computer and loves the 1Password 6 for windows a lot. She said it's a big improvement over 1Password 4 and very easy to use.

  • brentybrenty

    Team Member
    edited May 2017

    Glad to hear it! If someone had tried it a month ago, it was not as good as it is now. To someone who tried it six months ago, it would be unrecognizable. And in another few months it will be much closer to where we are on the Mac. We're getting there. :)

  • @brenty if it wasn't working good, I would hear about it.
    Happy wife, happy life!

  • JacobJacob

    Team Member

    True true! :lol:

  • I was unsure about moving to subscription based service, but decided to try it out starting with just a single user account, Im finding it much the same, but also much prefer not having to worry about syncing to services like iCloud or dropbox.

    For me I don't mind paying the sub, I much prefer how the synching is done and not having to worry about future paid for updates.

  • So - if someone i know wants the same version of 1Password as me, which is the latest non cloud (standalone) version how do they purchase it ? Can someone post the url ?

  • Another idea which might have some mileage as a compromise solution would be if AgileBits offered a one off lifetime subscription. This is something which I've done for the Plex media server.

  • brentybrenty

    Team Member

    @telUK: Glad to hear you're enjoying your new membership! Honestly while there are plenty of other benefits and reasons we built this service, having seamless sync is just really, really nice. Cheers! :)

  • brentybrenty

    Team Member

    So - if someone i know wants the same version of 1Password as me, which is the latest non cloud (standalone) version how do they purchase it ? Can someone post the url ?

    @davegarratt: We're not marketing standalone licenses anymore, but feel free to shoot us an email at [email protected] and post your Support ID here if you'd like to discuss your situation further.

    Another idea which might have some mileage as a compromise solution would be if AgileBits offered a one off lifetime subscription. This is something which I've done for the Plex media server.

    It's certainly an appealing idea on the surface. I've purchased similar "lifetime" licenses and subscriptions myself. Unfortunately this generally isn't sustainable. I'm down to 2 left out of the 5 I paid for, as the companies have since folded and are no longer developing or supporting these products. I feel like I still got a good value, because frankly I took this possibility into account when deciding to spend the money in the first place. I got two or 3 years out of each of them, and that was sufficient for what I paid. Of course, I'd prefer that they were still around, but they probably needed to find a more stable source of income. That's why we're charging sustainable prices for memberships. We want to make sure we can continue to improve it and that we're around to help our customers for many years to come...because honestly I'd not only hate to have to find other work, but also switch to something else if we were to close up shop and kill 1Password. I hate even just writing those words, so I'm glad we're committed and love what we do. Cheers! :)

  • Well I understand your position even though I'm not convinced. I think it's a self fulfilling prophecy. Once you reach a certain size you need a known regular income which you can't get with just regular sales unless you have a very short release cycle with paid updates. Maybe your a victim of your own success. However the more you grow the higher the subscription until a new kid on the block comes along and everyone defects to it. As a open source developer with a project which has been around on the net for 10 years I'm used to not getting an revenue but do it purely for the love of it.

  • brentybrenty

    Team Member

    @davegarratt: I get what you mean, but the reality is different. We can't count on subscription revenue any more than we could license sales, as we're on the hook to continually provide value to customers or they'll simply cancel their subscriptions — we've made this really easy to do, because we hate having to jump through hoops for this stuff too.

    If we think of it only in terms of "one-time purchase" versus "recurring revenue", the latter sounds much better. But in fact customers have many more opportunities to decide to not pay us any longer with subscriptions. And for someone on a monthly plan, this is roughly every four weeks that someone can make that call. For example, if Joe signs up for a subscription, Bob purchases a license, and both decide that 1Password isn't for them after 3 months, we've gotten money from both; but Joe's "contribution" is roughly one quarter of Bob's outlay. We still had to build the app for both of them to use, but Joe "cost" us more without putting in as much. The only way subscriptions work is if people are satisfied enough to continue, so we're banking on hard work and dedication (and a lot of love) to make 1Password indispensable enough to justify our customers' hard-earned dollars.

    If subscriptions were as sure a thing as many people seem to think, I'd have many, many more personally. But in practice I've canceled more than I've kept, even though I often have to dig through Google search results and make phone calls to do so. And there is plenty of competition in this space. So we're going to keep working hard to provide a premium product and service to keep people coming back. We love what we do, and we want to keep on doing it. :)

  • Well I guess we will have to agree to disagree, If and when you no longer support the standalone version I think we will be parting company.

  • To be fair I will (have) just signed up to a 30 day trial to see if you can convince me :-)

  • BenBen AWS Team

    Team Member

    Great! Hopefully we can do that. If not, I hope you're able to find a solution that works for you. I split your other question off into its own thread so that 1) It gets the attention it deserves, and 2) we're not cluttering up this thread with an off-topic conversation. One of us will respond to your question in the new thread shortly.



This discussion has been closed.