iPhone Gems: All 22 Wallet Apps, Reviewed | iLounge Article

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iPhone Gems: All 22 Wallet Apps, Reviewed

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Passwords v1.05 (Absolute Apps) from Absolute Apps

Passwords ($4) is an app that is designed to perform the single purpose of storing passwords. No custom item types or fields are supported, with each entry simply being a site name, user name, password, and some free-form notes. Items may be organized into a single level of groups, and initial groups are provided for home, school, work and other. Additional categories may be added, but once added you’re stuck with them—they cannot be removed or renamed.

No integrated browser is provided. Instead clicking on a URL will simply exit Passwords and open the web page in Safari, where of course no password reference or web form filling is available.

As a free app, this one would possibly be worthwhile for those who simply need to organize basic information, but with a $4 price tag the extremely limited functionality it provides is disappointing. iLounge Rating: D.

Passwords v1 (telience) from telience.com

Passwords ($1) is another small app with a non-distinct name that is again designed with the single purpose of storing web site passwords on your iPhone. Like its identically-named counterpart, Passwords contains only fields for a web site URL, username and password.

Further, like the other Passwords app, no integrated browser is included. Instead a rather prominent “Open in Safari” button is provided on the detail screen to allow you to open the present link in the iPhone’s MobileSafari browser. Note as well that there are no fields for notes or even an actual title for each entry—the URL is the title in this case.

At $1 it could almost be considered reasonable except for the rather unpleasant user interface, and the fact that you cannot actually edit existing entries at all—you can only delete them and then re-create them from scratch. iLounge Rating: D.

Saphir - The password manager v1.2 from Prometoys Limited

Saphir ($8) is a slightly more generic attempt at a personal information manager with a couple of moderately interesting twists. Most notably, you can specify either a traditional text-based password or a graphical password.

The text-based password works as expected, and Saphir enforces a minimum length of six characters in this case. A graphical password, on the other hand, involves tapping on a series of at least five images to form your password. When you next want to log in, you simply tap the same series of images again, in the same order.

While this may be an interesting twist for users who have a hard time remembering words or numbers, it does come across as more of a gimmick than a practical feature, particularly when viewed in light of Saphir’s other features—or lack thereof—and its $8 price tag. Specifically, Saphir provides no concept of fields or record types. Everything is a basically a note with a title and a free-form text field. As an added bonus, a picture can be added from your camera or your iPhone photo library to any item, although we’re not entirely sure what practical purpose this serves in a personal information storage app.

At a much lower price tag, Saphir might be an interesting option for users who are looking for something a bit unique, but for $8 we find it substantially overpriced for what it actually offers. iLounge Rating: D.

Coffre Fort v1.0 from tibSys SARL

Coffre Fort ($2) is an application with its documentation and App Store page entirely in the French language, however, the application is actually bilingual and will displays its information in either English or French according to your iPhone’s language setting. Literally translated, Coffre Fort means “strongbox” or “safe,” and the English version of the application actually shows a title of “Private Safe” on your iPhone home screen and within the application itself.

Beyond its dual-language support, however, Coffre Fort is generally unremarkable. The application provides fixed-field support for Internet accounts, Bank accounts, Credit cards and Private notes, but beyond the descriptions, all fields are free-form with no validation of contextually-appropriate data entry (i.e., fields that should be numeric or date fields do not display a numeric keypad or date browser).

About the only unique feature that Coffre Fort offers is the ability to send Bank Account information out via e-mail. Like Cards, once you have set a password it cannot be changed, and there is no intruder lockout feature. Further, your item titles are actually shown at the initial sign on screen even before a password is entered.

The most serious limitation of Coffre Fort is the lack of any encryption of your “secure” data. While encryption is not specifically advertised, this is something that most users of apps advertised as “secure” have come to expect as a core feature. The data stored by Coffre Fort is stored in plain text within an SQLite database which can be read either via direct access to a jailbroken iPhone, or more easily from the iPhone backups maintained by iTunes in a matter of seconds by a user with even a moderate level of iPhone and iTunes experience. This lack of security is a serious enough flaw in an app that is intended to store credit cards and passwords to warrant our lowest possible rating. iLounge Rating: F.

iSecret v1.0.0 from Aziz Uysal

iSecret ($5) is another wallet app that provides relatively basic functionality for the price tag. Login is handled via numeric code PIN rather than a text-based password, and no intruder detection/lockout is provided, though the password can at least be changed.

iSecret supports numerous different item types and provides a number of general templates to get you started in the form of categories. These categories can be further customized, or you can add your own. You can define your own field names for each category, but no actual field types are supported—all fields are generic text with no validation or the ability to hide or mask fields.

iSecret also provides no folder structure at all. Categories are used merely as templates to define field names, and do not appear anywhere else in the user interface as either organizational or search criteria. iSecret does provide a basic search functionality for item titles, but only the actual names/titles of each item can be searched.

As with FireBox, this application does not provide anything significant or distinct for its $5 price tag, and most importantly iSecret does not actually encrypt your data. Thirty seconds with the use of the mdhelper application resulted in access to the iSecret.db file with all confidential information, including credit cards, passwords and PIN numbers in clear and readable text. Even though the developer does not specifically claim encryption, many users have come to assume that a “secure” wallet app means that at least some form of encryption will be used, a deficiency that is inexcusable in any app of this nature and actually offensive for an app with a $5 price tag. iLounge Rating: F.

Keeper v1.2 from Craig Lurey

Keeper ($1) is a basic wallet app that takes a slightly more basic approach to password storage. Rather than worrying about customization of data types and fields, Keeper has only a single record type with no field customization. Each record consists of a title, two “secrets” and an additional notes field. There are no further categories, and no search feature. Other than a generic alphabetical record listing, Keeper provides a single other view of recently-accessed items.

Keeper uses a PIN-based (numeric) login screen, and would be a generally unremarkable application except for one feature: it incorporates an intruder lockout feature with a “Self-Destruct” feature. After five incorrect passwords, Keeper will erase all of its own data—your secrets—from your iPhone, returning it to the same configuration as when it was first installed. The number of attempts cannot be customized, but the Self-Desctruct option can be enabled or disabled in the application’s “Tools” section.

Unfortunately, like iSecret, Keeper doesn’t actually encrypt your data, leaving all of your “secrets” and even your PIN completely readable to anybody with direct access to your iPhone or your iPhone backups. In other words, a hacker’s better off not bothering to guess your PIN; it’s available just by connecting the iPhone a computer.iLounge Rating: F.

ME iWebLogin v1.4.1 from HINZ Steuerungs & Datentechnick

ME iWebLogin ($5) is designed solely for the purpose of storing web-based logins and allowing simple sign-ons to various stored web sites. Access is controlled by a simple password with no intruder lockout or forgotten password recovery capabilities. Once in the application, your saved logins are presented in a scrolling list menu type of view.

Entries are added or removed by tapping the + or - symbols, respectively.

Tapping “New Password” will allow you to change the application’s password, although this button is easily confused with adding a new entry. Selecting an entry and tapping “Accept” will open an integrated web browser where you will be taken to the appropriate web page and signed on.

The browser includes a number of buttons at the top for page navigation, to return to the main screen, edit the current entry, or paste in the login name and password information from the current entry. Your only way to edit an existing entry is to open the browser and then tap the “Edit” button. A summary of these buttons can be viewed by tapping the “i” symbol from the main screen.

Unfortunately, iWebLogin suffers from the same issue as a few of the other apps we’ve reviewed: a lack of encryption. Your saved web userids and passwords are stored in the clear and available either directly on a jailbroken iPhone or via your iPhone backups. While this may be less of an issue for an app that stores only web passwords as opposed to personal financial information, it is still a glaring deficiency in a $5 application. iLounge Rating: F.

NotePadLock v1.1 from Hon Cheng Muh

NotePadLock ($2) is a secure note storage application that almost falls into an entirely different category from the other apps we’ve looked at, but is included here as it is a general-purpose secure storage app. Rather than taking the approach of a single password that opens up the entire database, NotePadLock uses a six-digit code as its filing system. You basically create a note with a title and text, and then lock it down with a six-digit code. You then use that particular code to retrieve or edit that particular note. If you want to create another note, you simply secure it with a different code.

You can re-save an existing note with the same code by tapping on the padlock, or change the code by tapping on a key icon that appears after editing an existing note. No master database or index of notes is provided. If you create a note with a given code and then forget that code, you will basically forget that this note even existed. This approach may appeal to a certain type of user, but in general it does not seem practical. Further, no encryption is supported at all, with all codes and notes being easily readable from your iPhone backup folder, which for the same reasons as described above for other applications leaves this particular app with our lowest rating. iLounge Rating: F.

Passwd v1.2 from Thomas Kilmer

Passwd ($1) is a small app that is devoted solely to the storage of passwords. Fields are provided only for the storage of basic web login and password information, along with a URL to the web site and a free-form notes field. An integrated browser is included to open the URL and display the user id and password in a pop-up window.

The biggest problem with this particular application is the same one we’ve identified with several others—a complete lack of encryption. Information is stored not even in an SQLite database, but actually in PLIST files, including both the application password itself and any “secured” logins. It’s cheap, but hugely insecure. iLounge Rating: F.

Earlier iPhone Gems columns are available here.

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Comments

1

eWallet is half price until tomorrow, if you’re thinking of getting it. smile

Posted by Peter Johnston on October 9, 2008 at 1:50 PM (PDT)

2

Am I just old school or does storing one’s CC# in in a phone sound like a fundamentally bad idea?

Posted by Mark on October 9, 2008 at 2:44 PM (PDT)

3

Jesse,

Good job with the reviews (again)!  My personal choice is SplashID but eWallet is a good choice too.  As far as I’m concerned, PC users like me should choose between those two.  Mac users best choice, for now, is SplashID.

I find the synching to the desktop to be one of the most important features.  I have hundreds of entries in mine and do 95% of the creation and maintenance of those records on the desktop. 

Judd

Posted by Judd Jackson on October 9, 2008 at 7:05 PM (PDT)

4

Thanks for this great article. I’ve been trying to decide on a good program like these for some time now. I recieved 1Password when it was free, and since it was rated B+, I think I will stick with that.

Posted by Germansuplex on October 9, 2008 at 7:21 PM (PDT)

5

I had all sorts of trouble with SplashID.

It crashed repeatedly and did not allow me to organize my data in any sort of a logical fashion.

I trashed it and purchased eWallet.

Now there’s a nice solid app.

My only complaint is the wait for the Mac version of the backup software.

Posted by Tara Wheeler on October 9, 2008 at 9:07 PM (PDT)

6

I have to agree with Mark storing this data on an iPhone is a recipe for disaster

Posted by Trotskiii on October 10, 2008 at 3:40 AM (PDT)

7

It’s a good article, but I wish you included a comparison table to bring it all together ...

Posted by Paul on October 10, 2008 at 4:09 AM (PDT)

8

I can’t believe the posts by Mark and Trotskii above about the concerns around storing this data on the iPhone.  Did you read the reviews???  The higher rated apps use STRONG ENCRYPTION for this data.  There is nothing to be concerned about. 

And my choice is SplashID too.  They had some issues initially—probably due a desire to be the first “name brand” app out there.  It’s as stable as a rock now.  Support is really good too.

Posted by kalahari surfer on October 10, 2008 at 4:17 AM (PDT)

9

Great reviews!  Thanks for taking the time to review so many of these apps, it saves me a lot of time digging through all of them myself.

Posted by Chris K on October 10, 2008 at 7:21 AM (PDT)

10

“It’s as stable as a rock now.”

I have no doubt that the software is “stable”.  I just know that the word “secure” is used loosely when it comes to protecting CC#s.

EVERY piece of software has a workaround.  Even the ones that boast “STRONG ENCRYPTION”.  Personally I’m not on eBay and Amazon 24/7 and don’t even see a need for this labor saving piece of software.  I think I can handle entering the 16 digits if the need ever arose.  But for those of you who suffer from CBS or Compulsive Buying Syndrome,  I can see where you may feel you “need” this.

Posted by Mark on October 10, 2008 at 7:43 AM (PDT)

11

#3: I agree wholeheartedly regarding desktop syncing, which is why the only apps with any form of an A rating in this review included some form of desktop sync.  An app that stores this type of information in an accessible form only on the device doesn’t seem nearly as useful or practical.

#4: 1Password is also what I personally use, but that’s largely because it’s such a great desktop app, and I use it primarily for passwords rather than credit card and other wallet-type info.

#7: I tried to do a comparison chart, but with 22 apps the resulting chart was extremely unwieldy, and there were so many little things that didn’t offer an nice even-keeled comparison. In the end we figured the general ratings said enough about the different apps overall.

#10: I do find these types of comments rather interesting, since the reality is that your credit card information is far more likely to be compromised by handing it to the waitress at the local TGI Friday’s than it would ever be living in a secure app on your iPhone or using it on any reputable web site.

In fact, the relatively closed nature of the iPhone OS platform in some ways provides better security than you might experience on a Palm or Windows Mobile device. For instance, the lack of copy-and-paste support is rather ironically a good thing in this case (and only in this case), since you’re less likely to put your credit card info or password info on an insecure clipboard that’s going to be lying around in memory somewhere else.

Further, the “Sandbox” approach precludes apps on your iPhone from reading each other’s data, meaning that even if a dodgy “spyware” type app were to make it through the App Store vetting process and onto your iPhone, the probability of it accessing any data from one of these apps would be extremely slim, and they’d then still have to break through the encryption on top of that.

In fact, the only significant risk the iPhone platform specifically presents in any of these apps is the auto-correct dictionary:  If you’re entering a lot of records that have the same information (ie, password for instance), the iPhone will eventually pick that up and store it in the auto-correct dictionary just because you’ve actually typed it so many times. Of course, the password won’t be associated to anything (ie, it will just be a random word or string of text), but it will still be lying around in your iPhone in clear text as part of your backups.  Entering data in a desktop app and syncing it to your iPhone won’t create this problem, however.

Another useful point to note as well for security purposes: A global password/PIN on the iPhone itself will enhance security by preventing anybody who might acquire your iPhone from actually connecting it to iTunes to back it up.  They can restore it, but they can’t actually get the data off it without resorting to very advanced forensic attacks.

Of course, if you’ve jailbroken your iPhone, then you’ve naturally created other possible points of access, and additional caution should be used in terms of what types of unofficial apps you’re loading onto the device. The “sandbox” approach doesn’t exist on a jailbroken iPhone, and apps can easily read data from anywhere on the device.  Of course, a secure wallet app’s data is still encrypted, except when you’re using it, and the possibility of spyware in the jailbroken app space is always a possibility (although that community is reasonably self-policing, you do have to be careful what you install on a jailbroken iPhone).

Regardless of all of this, however, the bottom line is the same thing I stated in my original recommendation at the beginning of this review:  that if you’re concerned about an actual tangible possibility of somebody cracking into your iPhone or your iPhone backups, then simply don’t store any sensitive data on the iPhone in the first place. 

Personally, I don’t use a “wallet” app to store much of anything beyond passwords.  1Password stores my passwords, since I have a fair number of those for a zillion little web sites I infrequently visit and it’s easier to keep track of them on the desktop app.  However, I have an eidetic memory, so I know all of my credit card numbers and other personal identification numbers by memory anyway.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on October 10, 2008 at 9:14 AM (PDT)

12

FD: I’m the author of Memengo Wallet.

How come Memengo Wallet is not covered? Seems to fit perfectly well the topic at hand…

Posted by Denis on October 13, 2008 at 6:36 PM (PDT)

13

For whatever reason, Memengo Wallet is only available on the U.S. iTunes App Store at this time.  Since iLounge has an international community of readers, we try to ensure our reviews cover software that is going to be available to the majority of our readers.

In fact, as a case in point, since I’m in Canada myself, Memengo Wallet was not even readily available to me, and I was therefore unaware of its existence until it was brought to my attention specifically by the author.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on October 15, 2008 at 10:16 AM (PDT)

14

I’m surprised by the apparently low value placed on a search function. Or did I miss a highly rated app with BOTH desktop sync AND robust search function. The latter would add enormously to the ways these apps could be used, especially since the iPhone’s Contacts database is searchable only on its name field.

Posted by Michael on December 26, 2008 at 3:40 PM (PDT)

15

I’m looking into an app than can keep certain pictures private and password protected. Any recommendations?

Posted by Rene on December 18, 2009 at 10:37 AM (PDT)

16

What I don’t get is to enter all this information for your card. Why not provide a front/back picture of your cards ?

This would be more efficient in certain cases. Of course this does not mean to remove any form of field entry. Just add the picture to the entries would be very good!

Posted by abud on March 8, 2010 at 2:37 PM (PDT)

17

Rene: 10X Camera Tools. You can create categories, tag pictures to a category, and protect certain categories with password.

Posted by abud on March 8, 2010 at 2:44 PM (PDT)

18

However “Secure” you make an app so an intruder cannot breach it, that still doesnt stop the Vendor itself from sending the data in plaintext format, to its own servers over internet or cellular network. So you might be protected from intruders from the encryption, but employees of the Vendor firm of the iphone/desktop app “could” possibly sell you out. Putting personal data on a proprietary app capable of establishing connection over any network, is a bad idea IMO - Victim of identity theft.

Posted by thisnickistaken on December 4, 2010 at 3:06 PM (PDT)

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