Update: I use 1Password to keep track of passwords, and have for a long time now; this is a very old post. I have a Mac Tools page which shows the software that I currently use.
Since I purchased my iPhone a few months ago I have been continually trying to find ways to get more value out of it. They are fairly expensive devices, and I want to make sure that I get all that I can for my money. It obviously replace my old cell phone and to some extent my iPod, but the iPhone has also been a good substitute for the personal sub-compact laptop that I used to use. Now, there is only two electronic devices that I carry with me regularly, the iPhone and my memory stick.
At first I wanted to be able to use my iPhone for a mass storage device, and directly replace my thumb drive. This is possible with iPods, but not with the iPhone. So, since I could not use my iPhone as an external storage device I started looking at the applications that I use on my memory stick. There are two applications that I use nearly everyday: KeePass and EverNote. If I can find iPhone applications to replace these, then I wouldn’t be stuck on the days when I leave my memory stick at home.
I started looking for a KeePass replacement first, and came up with a variety of options such as: 1Password, Firebox Password, Mecrets Password Manager, Saphir, eWallet, Passwords, Passwd, Memengo Wallet, Simple Vault, Keeper, and SplashID. In researching these applications I heavily weighted reliability. Reliability of the software is important because I need to know that I can get my passwords when I need them. I also want to know that I will be able to continue to use the product that I choose, so reliability of the company that produces it is also key. The second major consideration was the ability to sync back to a desktop version. I currently use Windows XP, but I am planning on purchasing a Mac in the future, so I want to be sure that I can sync with either operating system. Based on my research I decided upon SplashID.
I originally down loaded version 4.05 of SplashID, which reliably kept my passwords, but it had an awkward interface and crashed a lot. I almost regretted buying this software. But, this weekend they updated SplashID to 4.5, and it was a tremendous improvement. The interface has been simplified so that as soon as you unlock the database you see the list of items. The interface is very much like the native iPhone contacts application in that it shows every item alphabetically and gives an index on the right side of the screen. It allows you to either filter the view or search. And you are only two clicks away from the synchronization screen.
The synchronization function of SplashID is excellent. I downloaded the trial version of the desktop application so that I could import my data from KeePass, and that worked wonderfully. I had to go through my KeePass information and restructure it simply because KeePass was really designed for capturing passwords, where SplashID uses templates to make it easy to track other types of information as well. Once I had readjusted my data the way that I liked I opened up the application on my Phone and synchronized the data. Under the tools menu there is a Sync option, and as long as the desktop software is running will automatically locate your PC, then it’s as easy as clicking the sync button.
Now, I just need a replacement to EverNote, then I can simply use my memory stick for transferring files. I am so pleased with SplashID that I hope SplashData begins work on bringing a note application to the iPhone.
I know that Evernote is available for the iPhone, but it is based on the online version, which I am not really crazy about. That’s just my preference. Instead of posting items to Evernote, I now try to post interesting items to my blog. And, for small notes, I am waiting for iPhone OS 3.0 which should have note synchronization.
As for the password manager, I am still using SplashID. It works great, I have not had any problems with it. My trial version of the desktop software ran out, and I didn’t want to spend an extra $20 for it. But, after the initial upload of data I don’t think that I need it anymore.
If I was interested in using my iPhone software in conjunction with a desktop application I might try out mSecure. The developer is offering a free synchronization tool, called mBackup, for the Mac and PC. From the documentation, I don’t see the ability in mSecure to click on a number to dial it, which SplashId can do. Also, SplashId gives you the ability to change field descriptions and layout on a per entry basis, I don’t think mSecure does. I am kicking around the idea of spending the $3 to try out mSecure, I like how it displays the data better than SplashId. I hesitate only because I already have something that works.
As far as iKeePass, it seems to be vaporware (I’m not linking to the page for that reason). It is a great concept, but there must be some limitations to actually putting it into practice. It is even listed on the main KeePass download page, but the developer has not produced anything tangible (no source code on sourceforge even, where his project is listed) and has not updated his site in some time. Even if the developer did finally produce some software, I would personally not use it at this point. The lack of activity and status updates would most likely persist with the “production” versions. I would not want to use a security software that is not updated or cared for on a regular basis. That seems like a huge risk to me.