How to fix a 1Password sync problem

A popular password safe sometimes disconnects from its vault.

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If you’re a 1Password user, you likely enjoy the ability to make unique, strong passwords for every account you have to manage or create. Unique passwords make it enormously unlikely that a single breach of a site at which you have an account, even a catastrophic breach, would let attackers leverage that information to log into your accounts elsewhere.

However, there’s a problem seen routinely that’s easy to fix: 1Password sometimes loses its connection to a syncing archive. 1Password has a few ways to keep vaults in sync. Some people use the vault for everything, which allows them to access their passwords from a web browser, as well as from end points, like an iPhone (or Android phone) or desktop computer.

You can also opt to sync via Dropbox, which works across all supported platforms; iCloud, for Apple-ecosystem syncing; or even via Wi-Fi over your local network. With Dropbox and iCloud, 1Password stores its heavily protected vault in a special sort of file and tries to put it in a standard location. With Dropbox, that’s Apps > 1Password.

If you find you’re out of date with syncing, launch 1Password in iOS or macOS.

In iOS, follow these steps:

  1. In 1Password, tap Settings > Sync.
  2. The display should show Primary and Dropbox. Tap the field.
  3. The Primary Vault should show Dropbox. Tap Sync Now.
  4. If the sync succeeds, great: you’ll see a display of the last sync below. However, if it fails, tap the Sync Service field.
  5. Tap Change Dropbox.
  6. You may be prompted to disable sync to relink: tap Disable Sync.
  7. In the Sync with Dropbox field, tap your account name. (If it doesn’t appear, use the options to link your account to Dropbox, which requires the Dropbox app to be installed, as you use it to grant permission to 1Password.)
  8. In the Choose a Vault screen, you should see the main vault listed, probably as apps/1Password/1Password.opvault (unless you’d relocated or renamed it). Tap that vault.
  9. You may prompted to approve a Dropbox connection in the Dropbox account. Tap Allow.
  10. You’re returned to the main Settings view. Follow steps 1 and 2 to see if the sync is now up to date.

In macOS, the process is quite a bit easier, as you don’t have to grant permissions.

  1. Select 1Password > Preference > Sync.
  2. The Sync Primary Vault with option should be set to Dropbox.
  3. Beneath that option, you see a file path, which is likely your account name > Dropbox > Apps > 1Password > 1Password.opvault, and a Last Synced status that shows the time of the last sync. If the sync isn’t recent, choose None from the popup menu.
  4. Click Disable Sync, but do not check Delete Data from Dropbox.
  5. Now select Dropbox again from the popup menu.
  6. In the dialog box that appears, click the Choose button to select your Dropbox folder, and navigate to the folder containing your existing vault. Click Open.
  7. The Dropbox Sync screen should now show an option Merge with Existing. Click that button.
  8. In a moment or so, Last Synced should read “a second ago” or a similarly recent message.

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