I have a few Mac utilities which manage what I will call secret Mac information. Secret as in login IDs, passwords, web site bookmarks, serial numbers, credit card information, software license and registration information, and more. Why two?
While they are handy, useful, and in use for years, one does what the others do not. One simply stores everything I want in a simple, elegant, secure database and not much more. Another one, 1Password, does something similar, but adds the feature of automatically logging in to any of the dozens of web sites and servers I visit each day. Oh, the former is no longer available so I’m looking for a replacement, perhaps a competitor to 1Password.
Steel the Steal
I’ve used the venerable Steel for years. It was a steal at $9. Steel
is was a simple database that was easy to configure, easy to use, and safely stored the aforementioned secret items.
Alas, Steel is no more. I’m looking for a modern replacement. The main criteria has changed from my days with Steel. Yes, this utility must store a wide variety of information in a secure database, be elegant and configurable, be affordable, and be around in a few years.
Oh, and there must be an iPhone version that synchronizes easily with my Mac version.
What’s In Your Wallet?
Wallet has an iPhone version which syncs Mac-to-Mac using MobileMe, and Mac to iPhone using WiFi or MobileMe. I like that.
Otherwise, the plethora of Mac utilities which store such secret information as login IDs, passwords, serial numbers, credit card and financial information, all have a similar look and feel. SecretBox and Wallet look similar, though much different than 1Password.
Sharing Wallet Secrets
Wallet and SecretBox even have a similar feature set. Both export your secret data in a variety of formats (a major problem with Steel) so your data is not held hostage.
Both utilities are optimized for Mac OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard. Both are published my Mac software developers who have multiple Mac products. Both have been on the market for a few years.
Both share a simple, almost typical user interface layout customizable tools at the top, organized folders (groups and sub-groups) in the left column, and details of each item in the center columns.
Both use 256-bit AES encryption to protect your data from prying eyes. Both have an iPhone (and iPod touch) version which synchronizes data with your Mac.
Not So Secret
Wallet has a nice auto fill feature which can fill in web forms (similar to 1Password), which is very handy since I visit dozens of secure sites each day managing various web servers.
1Password, while great for managing auto login login IDs and passwords, is not so great for storing other secret information, though it also comes with an iPhone version.
1Password appears to be the more secure of the three utilities, with features to block phishing attacks and keyloggers. None of the three utilities will safely or easily import data from Steel’s data export utility, which results in a lot of manual work to re-enter years of information.
For the moment, I have all three running on my Mac, and in various stages of use. Synchronizing from Mac to iPhone is simple. 1Password is $39.95. SecretBox is $42.65. Wallet is $20. More than anything else, I don’t want to repeat the problems with the low-priced $9.00 Steel, which is discontinued.
What do you use to store login IDs, passwords, credit card information, serial numbers and other sensitive, secret data? Why? How does it compare? Share your experience and click the Comment link below.