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How to Use 1Password: Unlocking Its Full Potential (2023)

With the increasing number of online accounts we have to manage, it’s no surprise that most of us struggle to memorize all our passwords.

If you think using the same password for all your accounts is the solution, we should warn you that it’s not; this can easily lead to a security breach. 

This is where a password manager like 1Password comes in handy. Not only does it help you generate strong passwords for each account, but it also organizes and stores them in a secure location.

Continue reading to find out how to set up 1Password and use its key features!

How Do You Use 1Password – Beginner’s Setup Guide

We’ll start by walking you through the five steps for setting up 1Password on all your devices. This process is pretty straightforward, so it shouldn’t take long.

Step 1: Choose a Plan

1Password isn’t a free password manager; it requires a monthly subscription fee that’s charged annually. Thus, the first thing you should do is select one of its pricing plans. You’ll find two categories: “Personal & Families” and “Team & Business.”

The first category includes two plans, one for individual use and one for multiple family members. Both plans will give you access to all of 1Password’s main features.

On a side note, when the family plan fee is split among users, it’ll cost you less than if you subscribed individually.

The second category contains three plans for various business structures. There, you’ll find extra business-specific features, such as custom groups for team organization and admin controls for managing permissions.

The good news is there’s a 14-day free trial if you’re still unsure whether this password manager is right for you.

Step 2: Create an Account

After you’ve decided on a suitable plan, you’ll create a new account by clicking the “Try Free for 14 Days” button. You’ll be directed to a page where you’ll enter your username and email address. 

When you click the “Create Account” button, you’ll receive a 6-digit verification code on your email account. Once you enter this code, you’ll need to create a strong master password for your 1Password account. Next, you have the option of adding your payment information now or later.

You’ll then receive a message instructing you to download an emergency kit. This PDF file is extremely important, so save it somewhere safe. It contains your account details, like your sign-in address, secret key, and QR code for quick access. 

To clarify, the secret key is used whenever a browser is added to your account and can’t be accessed or recovered by 1Password. That’s why losing it will put you in a tough spot.

This kit also has a blank tab to enter the master password of your account so you don’t forget it.

Step 3: Download the Desktop App

Once you’ve successfully created your account, it’s time to download the desktop app. This password manager has both a Mac and a Windows app available.

To download them, go to your 1Password account and enter your login information. Then, you’ll see a bubble with the heading “Get the Apps,” which you should click on. Following that, you’ll see a list of all the apps available for you to choose from. 

After you download the app, all you have to do is enter the master password, save login details, and you’re done!

On a related note, unlike other password managers, you can manage 1Password from your Apple Watch. You can actually use your Apple Watch to unlock your 1Password account on Mac.

Step 4: Add Browser Extensions

You can use the app’s features more effectively if you download the 1Password browser extension. Browser extensions are available for Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and other browsers. 

After installing the browser extension, you should see the 1Password icon in the top right corner, next to the browser’s search bar. 

Moving forward, whenever you enter credentials for any of your online accounts, 1Password will display pop-ups. It’ll ask you whether you want it to save passwords or generate better alternatives, and then you can save logins. 

Afterward, 1Password will automatically fill in your login details on websites, saving you from having to go through the login process every time. In fact, you can also auto-fill login credentials using a keyboard shortcut:

  • Windows: Ctrl + Backslash (\)
  • Mac: Command + Backslash (\)

Step 5: Install the Mobile App

Lastly, you should install 1Password on your phone to make it easier to save and access all your passwords. The app is available for both iOS and Android mobile devices. 

You can access your 1Password account via the mobile app by scanning the QR code from your emergency kit or entering the secret key. Remember to enable autofill passwords in your phone’s settings to help the app save and fill in your credentials in the future.

What Are 1 Password Vaults?

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Now that you’ve properly set up 1Password, you should learn more about vaults. They’re what make up your account and will help you organize your data.

Your 1Password vaults are similar to folders you create separately for each type of data you want to secure. For example, you can set up a vault for your bank accounts and another to secure notes. 

This brings us to a quite convenient feature of vaults, which is that they can store more than just passwords. Here’s a sample of what you can save:

  • Driver’s license
  • Email accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Software licenses
  • Memberships
  • Passports

Yet, the feature that truly takes the cake is the ability to safely share these vaults with whoever you want. Sending sensitive data via text message or email is risky, which is why creating a secure shared vault is far preferable.

Sharing vaults is available in the basic and business plans, with the latter including additional features for better managing permissions.

How to Create Vaults

Creating 1Password vaults is a breeze; simply follow these 5 steps:

  1. Log in to your 1Password account
  2. Navigate to your homepage
  3. Select “New Vault”
  4. Add a name, description, and icon to your vault (for easier identification)
  5. Click the “Create Vault” button

1Password’s Watchtower: What Is It and How Does It Protect You?

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Think of Watchtower as 1Password’s control panel that’s constantly conducting a security audit. This tool is built into 1Password and offers several useful insights that’ll help you strengthen your passwords, manage your accounts, and much more. 

To fully utilize this tool, we’ll go over some of its main functions:

1. Identifies Potential Threats

Watchtower will reveal and alert you to any potential security threat. First off, it’ll highlight weak passwords so you can modify them. You can also use a suggested password created by the app’s password generator. 

Since using one password for all your logins can lead to privacy issues, Watchtower also detects duplicate passwords and prompts you to change them. 

In all cases, you should save the new logins so that the app can automatically fill in your account details later.

Moreover, this tool will display alerts in your browser whenever you visit compromised or unsecured websites. You can then determine the security level on specific websites and create or input your login details accordingly.

To receive real-time updates on your security status, remember to enable Watchtower notifications.

2. Supports Two-Factor Authentication

This tool detects all accounts that support two-factor authentication, allowing 1Password to manage them for you. In general, two-factor authentication maximizes web safety and reduces breaches. Thus, take the time to configure it on websites to ensure optimal security. 

Don’t forget to save your QR code with the 1Password browser extension. That way, you can continue to use 1Password as your primary authenticator.

3. Highlights Expiring Items

Last but not least, Watchtower will notify you if any of your saved items are about to expire or have already expired. For instance, if your passport’s expiration date approaches, the app will alert you. This will give you plenty of time to schedule its renewal.

Besides, when your credit card expires, you can locate the subscriptions associated with the credit card number. Then, you can change the payment method so that the services aren’t interrupted.

Can 1Password Protect Data While Traveling?

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Yes, you can use 1Password’s Travel Mode to protect any of your login information while traveling. This is one of the features that set this app apart from most password managers.

When traveling, you may be flagged for inspection, which includes agents asking security questions and searching your devices. So, enabling this feature aids in protecting your personal data. 

Open your 1Password account from the web browser, go to “My Profile,” then turn on “Travel Mode.” Once you’ve done that, you can mark the vaults that are travel-safe, i.e., the ones you don’t want to hide. Vaults that weren’t marked will be removed temporarily until you disable this feature.


1Password offers a multitude of functionalities beyond simply substituting weak, old passwords with strong ones. It allows you to save your credit cards, organize your work as well as personal documents, and protect your data. 

It’s comforting to know that all of your information is guarded with advanced AES-256-bit encryption and that you’re the only person who has access to it.

We hope you now have a thorough understanding of how to set up and operate this password manager!


Hey there! I’m a software, blogging and AI enthusiast. I’ve been exploring these topics for years and I get a kick out of sharing my knowledge and insights.

Whether you’re curious about new tech, need fresh tools and tips, or want to stay current with industry trends, I’m here for you. Welcome to my website!

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