Earlier this month, LoopInsight sponsored Secrets, a password manager from an indie company named Outer Corner. Jim wrote:

Version 2.0 is the culmination of months of testing in the real world. Bugs have been squashed, important features have been added and polish has been applied throughout. With this new version you can use Secrets and all of its features for Free with up to 10 items.

I’ve been using 1Password for years but I decided to give Secrets a go. A few weeks later, it’s become my official password manager. I haven’t used 1Password much this month, nor do I plan to in the future. There are certain apps that are mired in the past no matter how badly they try to redesign themselves, and 1Password feels like one after 5 minutes with Secrets.1

Migrating from 1Password was very easy. All I had to do was export and import a .1pif file. Secrets has all of the keyboard shortcuts you’d expect from an app like this; you can open it up, copy your username or password for a service, and leave, all without ever touching your mouse. I highly recommend that you go to View -> Hide Detail Pane. It keeps the app small and elegant, in portrait mode.

Of course, design is the second priority when it comes to a good password system. Privacy comes first. I’m glad to say that just like 1Password, if you lose your Secrets passphrase, you can’t reset it, and all your data is lost. Here’s the encryption method Secrets uses.

I only had one serious complaint when I made the switch, and that was the fact that Secrets didn’t have icons for the vast majority of my saved sites. I was accustomed to 1Password’s method of taking the favicon of the saved site and using that for its icon. The problem with this approach is that most websites don’t have favicons any larger than 32x32 pixels, and as a result, they appear very pixelated in 1Password.2 Secrets cares too much about design to make that kind of compromise. Instead, it requires hi-res image resources bundled with the app itself. The cool part is that Paulo, its primary developer, has put together a GitHub repository where other developers can contribute logos as they have need. To date, I’ve added more than 90 new logos this way, and it’s fleshed out my instance of Secrets quite nicely.3 It took me about 4.5 hours to collate the images but it was worth every minute. The end result is that Secrets’ interface is light years ahead of 1Password’s at every level.

Secrets costs $19.99 for macOS and $9.99 for iOS, which seems like the right price.4 1Password is $50 by comparison. If you’re looking for a better designed password manager, you should check out Secrets.

  1. Always judge a book by the cover and an app by its icon. When you do, you immediately know that Secrets is better than 1Password. Here’s what they look like side by side. ↩︎
  2. I don’t yet see a compelling reason to have a favicon any larger than 32x32 pixels, unless it’s to accommodate apps like 1Password that scrape them for other purposes. 32 pixels is twice that of 16, the default favicon size on a non-retina device. ↩︎
  3. One interesting side effect of contributing to a repository like this is that it’s a public admission, more or less, that you own accounts to the sites in your pull request. I don’t have a problem with that since my accounts are all to fairly common sites, but I could see that being an obstacle to someone who wouldn’t want to be identified. I suppose you could always use a dummy GitHub account, or just privately contact Outer Corner and give it a list of sites you’d like it to add. ↩︎
  4. In my experience, buying the $19.99 macOS copy unlocked the full iOS version for no additional charge. ↩︎