Price: Free (requires $39.95 1Password Desktop for full functionality)
Version Reviewed: 1.4
iPhone Integration [rating:4/5]
User Interface [rating:5/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:5/5]
About two years ago, when someone hacked my ebay account and posted fifty designer sunglass auctions, I got a lot more serious about the strength of my passwords. I had always used strong passwords for work, but formed some bad habits with my personal accounts. There are a lot of tools and methodologies out there that promise to help, but none really worked for me until I tried 1Password on my Mac.
1Password is a identity and password management system. It is nicely customized to handle addresses, credit cards, logins/passwords, notes, other cards or memberships you keep in your wallet, and any other little things that you might want to keep available on your computer. The data is easy to export, so you don't have to worry about being locked into the application forever. 1Password for the iPhone extends most of this functionality into the mobile arena. This review begins with the caveat that even the developer states that 1Password is much more powerful when used with its desktop counterpart.
1Password for the iPhone syncs with the desktop client via a short setup process. Once this is done, the user may access most info on the client with the exception of identities (e.g. work and home addresses). The user may then use 1Password's built in browser to surf to the sites they wish to access. In most cases the app will populate username and password fields immediately. If there is a site that's more difficult (such as banks with multiple authentication pages) 1Password will display the login information in a semi-transparent drop-down for easy entry. The user can also access secured notes, wallet items like credit cards or gym membership numbers when they need them. Users may enter secure notes, logins or generate passwords from the app and sync them back to the desktop.
There's a lot to like about 1Password for the iPhone. It provides quick access to most any site I might need on the go. That ease of use assures that I'll actually use the product. At the same time, security is not sacrificed to provide this. If you use a passcode lock on your iPhone, 1Password provides 3 layers of security by adding a second passcode and a primary password. The password may be disabled for quick access to less sensitive data like gym membership numbers. The interface is simple, clean and doesn't really need any eyecandy. The best part of this app is simply knowing that you have the information with you anywhere that you go.
For some, the need to buy the desktop application may be a deal breaker (though there's a free trial). The fact that it's Mac only will also frustrate some. For the application itself, there are few shortcomings. The occasional site with strange authentication pages will slow you down by making you type your information on the iPhone keyboard. This and any other lack should be resolved when Apple releases the 3.0 update allowing cut and paste. At that point 1Password will become significantly more powerful.
If you're on the Mac and perform lots of online financial transactions or manage websites with secure data, I believe 1Password can simplify your life while enhancing your security. Grab the free iPhone app, the free desktop trial, and give it a try.