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1Password now lets you ditch the master password in favor of a passkey

You no longer have to create or memorize a master password or secret key to access your account.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
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1Password is now making it easier for anyone to set up an account by using a passkey. In a blog post, 1Password product director Mitch Cohen announced the expansion of the passkey beta program from private to public. This means that anyone creating a new individual account can secure it with a passkey instead of a master password or secret key.

However, Cohen noted, "the ability to unlock 1Password with a passkey is currently for new accounts only. Next year, we'll make this feature available to anyone with an existing 1Password account."

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Password managers have long been considered a convenient and secure way to protect all of your website accounts. However, securing your access typically requires a master password or secret key. Make that password too long and complex, and it's a hassle to remember and use it. Make it too simple, and you're inviting hackers to figure it out.

The passkey method, now gaining traction among more companies, offers a safer and easier way to safeguard your account and all your login credentials.

In his post, Cohen explained how passkeys work in general and with 1Password. Passkeys take advantage of a security technology called public-key cryptography. As such, every passkey contains two aspects: a private key and a public key.

When setting up a 1Password account with a passkey, the private key is kept secure and encrypted and never shared with 1Password itself. The public key is stored on the company's servers and is used to authenticate your login attempts. But that public key is of no use without the corresponding private key. So even if the bad guys hacked into 1Password's servers and somehow gained access to the key, they wouldn't be able to sign into your account.

The ability to unlock 1Password with a passkey is currently for new accounts only. Next year, we'll make this feature available to anyone with an existing 1Password account.  

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To set up a 1Password account with a passkey, download and install the iOS or Android app. Open the app and browse to the sign-up page for the public beta. Start setting up your account. At some point, you'll be prompted to create your passkey.

When asked to enter an email address, pick one that isn't already connected to a 1Password account. You should then be prompted to create your passkey, which you can save to iCloud Keychain on an iPhone and Google Password Manager on an Android device.

To access 1Password on a different device, open the app or head to the sign-in page. Follow the steps to add another account and choose the option to sign in with passkey. Enter your email address and again select the option to Sign in with passkey. You may need to use a QR code on your device or authenticate it with a passcode or facial or fingerprint recognition. You'll receive a verification code that you then enter on your other device.

Also: What are passkeys? Experience the life-changing magic of going passwordless

The steps for creating an account with a passkey and using that passkey on a different device are also described on 1Password's website in "Unlock 1Password with a passkey (beta)." And any 1Password account you create through the new public beta will give you an extended free trial good until the beta ends.

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