1Password Quietly Removes Free-to-Use Option on iOS

1Password has quietly removed the local vault option from the iOS app without alerting users.

According to a new post on the 1Password Support Forum, the Canadian password management service removed the free-to-use local vault option on its iOS app, forcing users to sign up for a membership or a standalone vault created by 1Password for Mac or 1Password for Windows.

User ‘gross’ expressed their frustration with the decision to remove the option:

I have a workflow where I use 1Password on my phone – locally, no sync, do not want sync, can not use sync. Obviously this is not my main way of using 1Password, which I have been using now since 2011, mostly on Mac and iOS.

On that phone, I often remove 1Password and reinstall it. The last time I did this was a few weeks ago, likely running 7.3.1 or 7.3.2.

Today, I needed to urgently do this again, and I reinstalled 1Password to realize the new onboarding screen does not seem to let me configure my local vault at all.

I looked at release notes – all I can see is that 7.3.1 had improvements to standalone vault syncing, which seems to mean standalone vaults still work, and 7.3.3 reduced the size of the app by 27%.

A team member from 1Password responded to the comment, confirming that the company indeed removed the free-to-use option for iOS

“I’m sorry for the trouble. 1Password no longer offers a free-to-use option on iOS,” responded Ben, a 1Password team member. “It can either be used with a 1Password membership account or it can be synced to a standalone vault created by 1Password for Mac or 1Password for Windows. It wouldn’t be possible to create a new standalone vault from 1Password for iOS. Standalone vaults still work, but must be created by a licensed product (1Password for Mac or 1Password for Windows).”

While it does seem somewhat reasonable to disallow free creation of vaults, it also reduces the utility of the app for people who don’t want to use its cloud service, as there’s no longer a way to pay for the app without subscribing to a paid plan.

It’s also concerning that the app was silently updated without mentioning the change in the release notes, and there’s no way to go back or restore from a backup.