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The agony of mobile logins

Can you guess how long it takes an engineer to type a 60 character password into an iPhone?

Too damn long.

Good password practices are a key part of both personal and professional data security, but actually typing a large number of variable-case letters, numbers and symbols into a password field on a mobile phone is a time-consuming and error-prone process. We are simply spending far too much of our lives just logging into things.

Logging in to things is agonizing on mobile, and it is even more painful if you use good passwords. To help ease this pain we have added two new features to our iPhone app.

1Password Integration

One way we have eased the pain is through our integration with the 1Password Extension for iOS 8. Because strong passwords are difficult to remember in large numbers, a lot of people use password managers to generate and store strong passphrases. At Opbeat the most popular password manager in use is AgileBits’ 1Password.

So as of Opbeat iOS v3.2, users with the 1Password app installed on iOS 8 will see a new icon when logging in with GitHub. Tapping this icon will present 1Password and allow the user to unlock the password vault and select a login item. Once selected, the GitHub form will fill automatically.

1Password integration

While 1Password is popular on our team, it is not the only password manager represented. Yet, because 1Password’s app extension makes use of a vendor-neutral invocation scheme, any current or future password manager following the scheme can be used to quickly log into Opbeat.

Two-Factor Shortcut

The next step in the login process is also way too long, and usually plays out something like this:

  1. Two-factor form field appears “Shiiiiit.”
  2. User presses home button
  3. Authenticator is definitely not on this screen
  4. Swipe left
  5. “No, wait…” swipe right twice
  6. “There!” open authenticator app
  7. Copy code and quick-switch back to original app

Instead, with Opbeat:

Users with the Google Authenticator app installed can simply tap the 2FA button during the GitHub login process, and Opbeat iOS will fast-switch you to Google Authenticator. All you need to do then is copy your code and switch back to Opbeat by double-pressing the home button.

2FA shortcut

Sadly, until newer, faster methods of identity verification become ubiquitous, passwords and the rest of the tortuous login process will remain in force. We hope these features will save you a little time and make your day just a little bit better. We look forward to hearing your feedback – we are listening.

P.S. If you really want to know how long it takes to type that 60 character password, you can ask our engineer Víðir. :)

Opbeat 3.2.1 is available in the Apple App Store now.

Were you looking for Opbeat Android? Sign up for the beta.

Opbeat is now available for Android, more information here.

Need to up your security game?

Get started with 1Password

Start using two-factor authentication with GitHub

Get Google Authenticator on the Apple App Store

About the author
Mark Lloyd Jones is Opbeat's resident Mobile Engineer and all-round party man.
If you have any suggestions or feature requests for our mobile apps you can reach him at jones@opbeat.com.
You can follow him on Twitter or GitHub.