Backing Up Your Data File

Regular backups are important for all data, but they are critical for your Logins, Credit Cards, Secure Notes, and other information stored in 1Password. When starting over after a catastrophe, having easy access to your 1Password Agile Keychain file on a current backup up will allow you to get back up and running fast.

Backing up the 1Password application is not enough to back up your 1Password data, however. Like most Mac applications, your 1Password data is stored separately from the application itself. Read on to learn what you need to know about properly backing up your 1Password data, where it is stored, and how to customize your backup options.

What to Back up?

The most important thing to back up is your Agile Keychain file, the file that holds the encrypted copies of all your 1Password information. By default, 1Password creates your first data file in the ~/Library/Application Support/1Password folder (the ’~’ symbol represents your Home user folder). Also by default, your backups are stored in that same location, except under the /1Password/Backups folder. You can adjust some backup settings, such as the location and frequency of your backups, in the 1Password > Preferences > Backup window:

1p Backup Preferences

You may also want to back up your settings and license information:

You can copy these files to backups that you store on an external hard drive or USB Flash drive. Most backup services and applications that cover your entire Home folder, such as Mac OS X’s Time Machine, should also backup these files by default unless you adjust their settings to avoid them.

Local Backups

At this time, 1Password does not support creating backups on external or remote drives like USB flash drives, Time Capsules, or FTP servers, in order to ensure the integrity and reliability of your backups. 1Password’s built-in backup feature must be pointed at your local hard drive. In order to backup these files to a safer location like an external drive or a Time Capsule, we highly recommend using an official backup application or service like Apple’s Time Machine, CrashPlan, or ChronoSync. Many of our recommended sync solutions for keeping your Agile Keychain in sync between two or more Macs also double as backup solutions.

Remote Backups

While important, local backups do not provide any protection from catastrophe such as a hard disk failure. To protect from data loss in such a situation, please perform regular backups to a remote drive.

Some users backup regularly to an external hard drive and then store that drive in a safe place. Sometimes this is an actual safe outside the house in the garage, sometimes it is a safety deposit box at the Post Office.

Web-based backup services like CrashPlan and Backblaze are another option. For a small monthly fee, these services can install a software client on your Mac that encrypts the files you want to backup, then transmits them to secure data centers for safe keeping. The backup systems typically run continuously (or at intervals of your choosing), and much like Mac OS X’s Time Machine feature, they employ “versioning.” This means they retain a few backups of your backups for an extra layer of redundancy.

Restoring a Keychain from Backup

To replace your current data file with a backup, run the main 1Password application and click File > Restore Keychain from Backup. A window displaying your saved backups will appear; select one and click the Restore Backup button.