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Feature request for 1Password — Provide PIN opening on TouchID enabled devices

The passcode to unlock my 1Password keychain is long—very long—and typing that in on an iOS device is time consuming and error-prone.

Fortunately, Agilebits provides two short-cuts:

  1. For iOS devices that support TouchID, you can open 1Password simply through recognition of your fingerprint, in the same way you unlock the device itself.
  2. For iOS devices that do not support TouchID, 1Password allows you to set a four-digit PIN that can be used to unlock 1Password after you’ve initially authenticated once with your passphrase. This option remains secure, in that you only get one chance to enter your PIN; if entered incorrectly, the app again requires full authentication with your passphrase.

Either from having naturally sweaty fingers, or living in a humid, costal environment—or a combination of both—TouchID does not reliability work for me. In fact, it only works about 10% of the time I try to use it. From scan-setup of the same finger multiple times, to complete resets, I’ve tried every recommended approach to improve TouchID—but all to no avail; it simply doesn’t work for me.

As a consequence, while 1Password is usable for me on my iPad mini via the PIN mechanism, it’s awful to use on my TouchID-enabled iPhone 6. Every time I need to open 1Password, I have to type in that very long passphrase.

For that reason, I wish that 1Password would offer the PIN access mechanism on TouchID devices, as an option.

Speaking with the support staff at Agilebits, they’ve communicated that this isn’t possible, because the current implementation is to offer TouchID on supported devices, and fall back to offering PIN access on devices that don’t. But that’s just the way it’s currently implemented; there shouldn’t be any technical reason why 1Password couldn’t offer both options on TouchID devices.

I understand that I’m in the minority, and that for most people, TouchID works just fine. And I know that many product decisions are made considering trade-offs related to the size of affected groups. My hope, however, is that the people at Agilebits can consider that the cost in usability of this particular problem, for those in the minority like myself, is huge, and creates a situation encouraging the use of a shorter, less-safe, passphrase.

And perhaps considered in that light, they’ll add both options to 1Password running on TouchID devices as well.

Published inTechnology

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