App Preview: 1Password for the iPhone -- for FREE!

Confession: I use 1Password on the Mac a lot. I just used it to login so I could write this preview. I use it (synced via keychain) to my desktop at home, and I've used the various incarnations of the 1Password javascript bookmarklet on the original iPhone 2G. But now they've gone native, baby!

Internet security is a a huge concern, and with mobile internet security we ain't seen nothing yet. Browsers the caliber of MobileSafari make it possible to do our transactions on the go, be it logging into our favorite social network, or doing some emergency banking on the road. But what if we get out of the cab and leave our iPhone behind? If it gets snatched? What if someone else takes possession of the tiny little device with all our precious logins on it?

Read on to find out!

The good: 1Password has us covered, proving as innovative on the handset as they've always been on the desktop. Breaking things out into 2 categories, they provide a simple 4-digit PIN to access lower security logins (i.e., for a forum), and a full blown master password for high security items (i.e. your credit card account). And the interface? Gorgeous.

If you haven't previously used 1Password, just start entering your credentials and you're good to go. If you've already built up a 1Password store on your Mac, setup looks a tad more involved, favoring security over convenience in the age old battle, but given the focus of the app that's certainly understandable. If you're familiar with how Apple's Remote app works, this isn't dissimilar -- search for networked 1Passwords on your Mac, establish trust, and then sync.

The bad: Due to Apple's SDK restrictions, 1Password doesn't work with MobileSafari the way it works with regular Safari on the laptop. Basically, Apple doesn't allow plugins. To get around that, 1Password has built in it's own web browser. That means you may end up using a different app to access your secure sites than you use for casual browsing. Not a deal breaker for some -- and there doesn't appear to be an alternative approach -- but it's something to consider.

Also, they apparently let their programmers sleep, so we won't get features like wallet items, identities, password history, folders, search, etc. until version 1.1. What about my pseudo-random password generator? I use that all the time on the Mac! (Or did I just answer my own sync-enabled question?)

The unbelievable: According to the fine folks at Agile Web Solutions, for a limited time the 1Password App Store app will be given away FREE!

Not able to try it out first-hand yet, I'll have to wait for Apple to clear 1Password for App Store launch to see if the reality lives up to the concept, but they've sure made it a no-brainer to download and try out.

Check out their Switcher's Blog for detailed screenshots and setup instructions.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.