1Password customers are finally gaining partial access to the passwordless future we’ve been promised. Starting from June 6th this year, anyone with a 1Password account will be able to use it to save and manage their passkeys — a biometric-based login technology that allows users to ditch passwords in favor of their device’s own authentication. To access the open beta, you’ll need to download the 1Password beta browser extension for Safari, Firefox, or Chromium-based browsers (which include Chrome, Edge, Arc, and Brave). Support for passkeys on mobile is still in development and unavailable at this time.
You won’t be able to replace your 1Password master password with a passkey right away, either; Steve Won, 1Password’s chief product officer has informed The Verge that this feature will arrive sometime in July 2023.
The technology behind passkeys was developed by the FIDO Alliance, whose members include tech giants like Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Using public key cryptography, users can sign into apps and services using their device’s own authentication, such as a laptop with Windows Hello, an Android phone with fingerprint sensor, or an iPhone with Face ID. Passkeys can therefore replace passwords and verification systems like 2FA or SMS entirely, providing better protection against hacking and phishing attacks as there’s no fixed login or transmitted code to be stolen.
Unlike ecosystem-based offerings like Apple’s passkey support (which relies on the iCloud Keychain to sync passkeys across Apple devices) or Google Password Manager, 1Password supports multiple platforms and devices with its Universal Sign On cross-platform syncing which can be more convenient for some. The 1Password open beta for passkeys will also allow users to share their passkeys with trusted friends and family members.
I’ve been testing out some of 1Password’s passkey integrations for a few weeks already as part of a closed beta. Aside from the obvious security benefits, passkeys are a real blessing if you have a habit of resetting your passwords and forgetting to update them within your password manager.
It’s going to take a while for passkey support to be widely adopted, so 1Password isn’t dropping support for traditional passwords any time soon. The password management service initially said that passkey support would arrive by “early 2023” when it announced the feature in November 2022. The June launch isn’t terribly late, though other companies have already launched their own passkey integrations, including rival password manager Dashlane.
1Password has created a directory of websites, apps, and services — which now includes Google accounts — that already allow users to sign in using passkeys, with an option to vote on where support should be added next. 1Password obviously can’t strong-arm the likes of Netflix, YouTube, or Steam to roll out their own passkey support, but it’s a good prompt for these companies to see where there may be demand.
Update: May 16th 2:05 PM ET: Article has been updated to confirm that the ability to replace a 1Password master password with a passkey is not rolling out as part of the June 6th open beta.