Where to go after 1Password 8?

After this week’s news on 1Password forcing users to the crappy experience of being an Electron app, I started to look for alternatives. I haven’t decided yet, but I’m considering the following options.

  1. Elpass: subscription-based, native iOS and macOS apps, looks good.
  2. Secrets: one-time payment, native iOS, and macOS apps, also look good.
  3. iCloud Keychain: free, built-in to iOS and macOS; also, it will have a couple of new features this autumn, like two-factor authentication.
  4. Update on 2021-08-14: Minimalist: I got this recommended in the comments, looks pretty cool as well.

I’m leaning toward iCloud Keychain because, nowadays, I like to use the built-in tools of the Apple ecosystem.

The only question I have with iCloud Keychain is where to store passwords of my servers and a couple of app licenses? I think the built-in Keychain app on macOS will be OK for this. It can store arbitrary username/password pairs (great for servers), and it has secure notes which can hold the small number of serial numbers I have.

Right now, the next step is to clean out my old passwords from my 1Password and iCloud Keychain databases before starting the migration process.


Testing app subscriptions on the long-term

Many people don’t like app subscriptions, but it provides a way to test these apps long-term.

When I see a potential tool that I’ll likely use long-term, after the initial trial, I subscribe to its monthly plan, and I keep testing it for 2-4 months. While the initial testing phase is happening, I create a new category in my budget and save money for the yearly subscription plan. Usually, annual subscriptions are cheaper than paying every month for a year, so it makes sense to subscribe to them with an app that I will use for a long time.

When I conclude my testing and decide that I’m going to use the app, I’ll have the yearly subscription price already collected in my budget. This way, I can switch my monthly subscription to the annual plan without any problem. I also keep saving money each month for next year’s payment. I use YNAB for keeping a budget which makes this process easier with its Targets feature.

If I decide that I’m not going to use the app, I cancel my monthly subscription, and I move the money I saved for the yearly plan into a different budget category.

By using this system, although I’m going to pay more for the subscription in the first 2-4 months during the testing phase, in the long-term, I’ll save money because I’ll subscribe to apps and services that I actually use.