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Wrist-based password managers: How 1Password and LastPass for Apple Watch stack up

Brian Beam | June 3, 2015
These popular password managers are now compatible with the Apple Watch, but with very limited features.

In both apps, you can scroll through your vault using the Digital Crown. If you've carefully tagged only a few important 1Password records, then finding any of them on the Watch is a quick and easy task. But since LastPass makes your entire database available on the Apple Watch, those items can be a little slow to appear, and scrolling can take awhile. Luckily, LastPass provides a bit of help: Rather than mixing logins, notes, and profiles into a single list as 1Password does, LastPass segregates them into separate views. LastPass also lets you search your vault using your voice, which I've found works relatively well. But all this takes a few extra steps. 

At the start, I was hoping that I would be able to use my Apple Watch to control 1Password and LastPass on my iPhone, and I was a little disappointed to see that both apps limit you to only viewing your saved logins, profiles, and notes. But this still can be useful for keeping important information handy, in case you should need to log in to an account from an unfamiliar computer, for example.

In my case, I've used LastPass and 1Password's password generators to replace all my passwords with long cryptic ones, and reading those on the Apple Watch's small screen can be challenging, so I appreciate how 1Password helps make these more legible by displaying upper/lower-case, numbers and special characters in different colors. LastPass has a special feature that lets you create secure notes directly from the Apple Watch via voice dictation but I've had some trouble getting this to work reliably.

Bottom line 

I'm an unusual case--I use both 1Password and LastPass on a daily basis. I've been a 1Password user on my Mac and iOS devices for many years, while at my day gig we recently deployed LastPass Enterprise--an enhanced version of the app with business-level security and sharing features. So, I find myself moving between 1Password and LastPass quite frequently on all my devices.

While I can appreciate the convenience of having my entire LastPass database available on my Apple Watch as well as the app's useful filtering and searching tools, I prefer 1Password's simpler (and arguably more secure) approach of displaying only the items that I really want to have available on my Watch.

Regardless, both apps' Apple Watch support is very limited, and I'm hoping this will improve once the Apple Watch's ecosystem starts to grow and the device becomes more powerful. Until then, I don't recommend that anyone choose one app over the other based solely on their Apple Watch features--you really need to evaluate all the very useful benefits of the desktop and iOS versions of LastPass and 1Password to make that decision. (And if it helps, our favorite is 1Password.)


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