In a nutshell, 1Password (both the iPhone version and the Mac version) stores login information for websites. It does more than that (one feature that I like: password-protected notes, where you can store things like the combination to a padlock or your secret cheesecake recipe.) It’s easy to use, and it’s not too hard to keep your iPhone and your Mac in sync, which means you can store a password for a website using your Mac, and then retrieve that password using your iPhone later. I did this exact thing last week, when paying my truck’s registration fees in person. Turns out I forgot my proof of insurance papers, so I pulled out my iPhone to log into my insurance company’s website in hopes of getting the documentation. Naturally I didn’t know the user name and password– but 1Password did! I looked up the info in 1Password, went back to my insurance company’s website, and used the name and password to log in (and to get my proof of insurance emailed to my iPhone). That saved me more than an hour– I would have had to drive back home to get the info. 1Password (on the iPhone) to the rescue.
You may be thinking “but I use the same password for everything, why would I need this?” The answer is “because using the same password for everything means that if your password is stolen for ONE thing, in effect it’s stolen for everything.” So you really ought to use different passwords for everything.
(A compromise strategy: use one password for your financial accounts and online shopping, and another for everything else. Using this strategy, if someone gets your email password, or your password for the New York Times website, your bank accounts are still safe.)
Whether you are keeping track of two passwords or two hundred, 1Password will remember them for you. It remembers, the name of the website, the name or email you use to sign in with, and the password. All YOU have to do is remember the password that unlocks 1Password. 1Password does the rest. And, because 1Password will lock itself when your iPhone goes to sleep, you don’t have to worry about having all of your passwords in one place, unlocked.
In combination with Dropbox (see my post on that) you can keep 1Password synchronized across multiple Macs. That’s what I do, and it’s great. If I create a login for a new website, or change a login for some other website, I know that my other machine will know about the change. VERY handy.
The Mac version of 1Password, which I recommend, is not free, but it’s great, and it syncs with the iPhone version. 1Password is the best password manager there is, it’s the one I use, and it’s the one I recommend.