I’m : a web and mobile developer based in the Manning Valley, Australia.

1Password Subscriptions

A lot has been said since a recent Motherboard article revealed that 1Password has plans to move users to the cloud via a subscription service but I might as well get my 2 cents in.

While many apps are moving to subscription services it might not be entirely right for a portion of the existing userbase. I don't need to have the latest and greatest version of all apps and will purchase upgrades as and when I need them. If there are annual updates it isn't uncommon to forgo an upgrade for a year (or more) until there's a feature I need.

Subscription pricing assumes that I want to always be on the bleeding edge making use of all features and that just isn't how I use certain types of software. I'm happy to subscribe to software and services that I feel provide ongoing value (such as Cloud Storage or Movies) but for others I'd much rather purchase a license, as I have with 1Password many times in the past and for multiple platforms, to use the software. I'm not saying that those apps don't provide value but I just see a different use case which doesn't include added/ongoing payments until I'm ready to upgrade.

In a blog post Dave Teare tried to reassure users that the sky isn't falling but has, I think, done the exact opposite. While they will be "nudging people towards 1Password memberships" he goes on to say that existing 1Password 6 for Mac users can continue to use their licensed copy. Which is fine up until x years from now when a macOS upgrade prevents those copies of 1Password from running.

When that time comes newer versions of 1Password might very well no longer support local vaults leaving you forced to shell out for a subscription or move on elsewhere. Don't forget that users of 1Password 6 for Windows were promised local vault syncing which no longer seems to be the case. See (emphasis mine):

Designed specifically for our hosted services, 1Password 6 enables you to use your 1Password account on Windows 7, 8.1 and 10. Full support for standalone licenses and local vaults will come in future releases.

Sadly Rene's piece, Don't believe the 1Password FUD — here's what's really happening, seems to miss the point blaming users on not liking change and expecting everything for free. While I don't dispute that change is scary existing users are well aware that 1Password isn't free. Single licenses have been around the AUD100 mark for quite some time and we've been happy to pay.

At the end of the day existing standalone 1Password users just want to know where they stand. For how much longer will future versions of 1Password support local vault syncing? Without that information users can't make an informed decision on what to do. Switching services or software is a chore but uncertainty like this is worse.

If AgileBits see a future where all they'll support are subscriptions then say as much. Don't treat your loyal users like idiots by saying how they're not actively removing features. That's obvious but it's the future versions of 1Password that we're worried about.

No doubt the current version of 1Password 6 will run fine in macOS 10.13 or even 10.14. But with every macOS release comes the very real chance that 1Password 6 will no longer function. And then, if 1Password 7 or 8 doesn't support local vault syncing, that'll not be a fun position to be in.