Security and privacy

About Face ID security in 1Password for iOS

Learn how 1Password protects your data when you use Face ID on your iPhone or iPad Pro.

When you turn on Face ID on your iPhone or iPad Pro, you can unlock 1Password with a simple glance. Because you can unlock 1Password so easily, you can use a longer and more secure password for your 1Password account than you might otherwise have chosen, and you can use 1Password more often and in more places.

Your facial data is not stored in 1Password

1Password never scans your face or stores any representation of it. Face ID is provided by iOS, which only tells 1Password if your face was recognized or not.

Learn more about Face ID advanced technology.  

Your Master Password still protects your data

Apple hasn’t designed Face ID as a replacement for your device passcode. In the same way, using Face ID in 1Password doesn’t replace your Master Password or undermine the security of 1Password. Your data is encrypted with your Master Password, and that remains true even with Face ID turned on.

At any time, you can manually lock 1Password to make sure that your Master Password will be required instead of Face ID. In 1Password, tap Settings > Security > Lock Now.

You can also tell 1Password to require your Master Password after restarting your device or after a specific amount of time. Go to Settings > Advanced > Security and change the Require Master Password setting.

Your Master Password is stored securely

When you turn on Face ID, 1Password stores in the iOS Keychain an obfuscated version of a secret that is equivalent to your Master Password. The secret is used to unlock 1Password when your face is recognized.

It’s important to understand that the iOS Keychain is not the same thing as iCloud Keychain. Indeed, the secret is stored in a way that makes sure it will never leave your iOS device, not even for backups. 1Password uses the kSecAttrAccessibleWhenPasscodeSetThisDeviceOnly attribute to store the secret, which means that:

  • Your device must be unlocked for the secret to be accessible.
  • Your device must have a device passcode set. If you turn off your device passcode, the secret is deleted.
  • The secret cannot be restored to a different device.
  • The secret is not included in iCloud backups.
  • Only 1Password can access the secret.

1Password removes the secret from the iOS Keychain:

  • When your face isn’t recognized five times in a row
  • When you tap Settings > Security > Lock Now
  • When Require Master Password is set to After Device Restart in Settings > Advanced > Security, and you open 1Password after restarting your device
  • When the amount of time in Settings > Advanced > Security > Require Master Password has elapsed and 1Password is open

Protect yourself when using Face ID

The advantages of using Face ID far outweigh the risks. Follow these tips to stay safe with Face ID:

  • Remember your Master Password. If you use Face ID frequently, it may be easier to forget your Master Password because you’re not regularly typing it.

  • If you’re concerned you may be compelled to unlock 1Password without your consent, manually lock 1Password. Retrieving your Master Password from your mind is still in the realm of science fiction. However, someone may try to compel you to glance at your phone to unlock 1Password. If you anticipate such a situation, you can manually lock 1Password to make sure that your Master Password will be required instead of Face ID. In 1Password, tap Settings > Security > Lock Now.

  • Don’t jailbreak your device. Someone with physical access to your device could theoretically access the secret that 1Password stored in the iOS Keychain. However, that would require unlocking the device, jailbreaking the device (so that something other than 1Password can read the iOS Keychain data that belongs to 1Password), and defeating the obfuscation of the Master Password. If you jailbreak your device, you are willingly defeating one of the strongest defenses against such an attack.

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