Sunday, February 20, 2022

1Password WiFi broke with my new iPhone - how I fixed it (for now)

I pay about $4 or so every month to 1Password because I have not yet been able to replace it. Reason enough to dislike them, but there's worse. 

We use 1Password's legacy WiFi sync with 1Password 7. It dates from the days that 1PW was merely mediocre. It was flaky and annoying but it mostly worked. We didn't have to put our lives into the hands of company that could be hacked or acquired at any time (China, Russian ... who wouldn't want those yummy credentials?). Even now that we pay monthly (not yearly, because I plan to leave) we still use WiFi sync.

Every so often we get this:

WiFi sync is deprecated and unsupported now, but there is still a troubleshooting page. Check WiFi, restart everything, restart router, toggle WiFi sync on/off, etc. That usually works, but this time was different. Nothing worked.

I'd just replaced my iPhone 8 with an iPhone 13 Pro, so I had a hunch what was wrong. [1] There was something broken in the authentication process between my phone and the MacBook running the desktop version of 1Password. I needed a button that said "reset authentication" -- but that doesn't exist. I could delete 1Password and reinstall, but it had been a few weeks since my last sync. Who knows what I'd changed. I didn't want to lose everything.

This is what I did:
  1. I saved copies of things I knew I'd changed to a local text file
  2. I discovered iOS 1Password has a backup/restore feature and I could transfer that to a Mac by iTunes. You can actually unzip the backup and browse it in SQLite, including the database schema (I think passwords are encrypted though).
  3. After I saved my backup to my Mac I deleted and reinstalled 1Password. As I'd guessed this allowed me to sync again. (Bad Bug 1Password Inc. But you don't care.)
  4. I then went back to my Mac, copied the backup using iTunes back to my iPhone, then did a restore on the iPhone
  5. I then did sync again.
It's not quite as simple as that. I had to quit and restart 1Password a few times. At one point 1PW for iOS was only showing me sync options for Dropbox! Somehow, after some restarts and tweaks it seemed to sync. Did it all sync properly? I have no idea. For now it's no worse than it ever was.

Once Apple Passwords get the notes feature (holds secret questions) we'll migrate to a hacked together approach of Apple Passwords and a shared Secure Note and I'll finally be done with 1Password.

Update: looks like the process lost my authenticator codes.

[1] I dread iPhone swaps. I try to do them no more than every 5 years. All kinds of pain happens.

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