Following Apple's big reveal of iOS 8 at WWDC in June, I said that Apple's expansion of the iPhone 5s's Touch ID feature could be the biggest new feature coming in iOS 8 this fall.
Currently, Touch ID only allows users to unlock their phones with a fingerprint, but when it was launched a year ago, it was obvious that Touch ID could be so much more.
Now, Agilebits has previewed a beta of its new 1Password application, optimized for iOS 8.
1Password is a fantastic application that allows users to create separate ultra-secure passwords for each website and application they use. The app generates nonsense passwords like "b2i9AemxpNUz" but uses browser extensions on OS X and Windows to make it easy to enter the complicated passwords, while the user just remembers a single password to unlock 1Password's "vault."
iOS and Android apps sync with the desktop version but, particularly on iOS, entering a password in an app, like one from your bank, requires several steps -- open the 1Password app, enter your vault password, search for the password you need, copy it, then switch to your bank app and paste the password in.
However, in iOS 8, Apple has created new App Extensibility features that developers can use to share information -- like 1Password's passwords -- between apps.
It's not quite a one-touch solution, thanks to Apple's sandboxing of apps, but that's likely worth the tradeoff because of security concerns. Regardless, using 1Password will be much easier in iOS 8 for several reasons:
- Touch ID: Instead of typing a (possibly complicated) password to unlock the 1Password vault, users will use their fingerprint via the proven Touch ID system.
- App Extensions: In participating apps, users will be able to request passwords from 1Password without ever actually leaving the originating app, much like how users can share things from apps directly to Facebook and Twitter. Extensions may be the most powerful addition to iOS since the launch of the App Store, but we'll have to wait to see how developers use them.
The 1Password beta (see the video above) shows the promise of iOS 8's app extensibility and how useful -- and secure -- 1Password will be in iOS 8. For IT pros, Touch ID and applications like 1Password could make iOS 8 the most easily secured platform on mobile or desktop.
What do you think the 1Password and Touch ID features will mean for security? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.