After my PayPal account got hacked a year ago, I didn’t take any more chances. I changed all of the passwords of my most important accounts, making sure they are impossible to remember and predict. The problem now is finding a safe place for all of my usernames, passwords, account numbers and more, and being able to access the list whenever I need to log in.
It didn’t take long for me to purchase a copy of 1Password for both the Mac and iOS. Recently though, I reviewed the desktop version of oneSafe and believe it to be a terrific alternative to the rather pricey 1Password app. What I didn’t mention was how significantly different it was to its iOS version after being able to test both apps together.
Priced at $5.99 on iTunes, oneSafe is a universal app that boasts of unique security features that keep all of your accounts and web logins safe from intruders. Let’s see what oneSafe for iOS can really do and if it also stands as a worthy alternative to 1Password 4.
Entering the Vault
Before using oneSafe, you have to create a “master” password to secure your entire database. Similar to its desktop app, you can choose to set a 4-digit PIN code or an alphanumeric password; create a visual pattern; use a combination lock wheel; or the new and innovative TRI-PIN password.
TRI-PIN remains to be the best choice when creating a password, since each digit on the keypad contains a colour and symbol that changes position at random. The visual pattern and the combination lock wheel come in second and third both for the many numerical combinations you can possibly make and that they are the easier to use on an iPhone.
Once you’ve set your master password, you’re given the choice to define two security questions. If you are confident that you can memorise it, you can proceed to the main interface where you can begin adding new content to oneSafe such as your web accounts, wallet accounts, documents and the like.
The Many Ways to Add Content
If you’re working with a fresh database on oneSafe, you can create all kinds of content to save. There are three ways to do this:
You can use pre-existing card templates when creating new logins and accounts on oneSafe. Just click on the plus sign located at the top left corner of the app to add a new card to the collection. You have templates for wallet and admin accounts, username/password templates, and all-purpose versions for anything and everything in between. You can also use the search template tool to quickly find the best template for a specific account.
2. The Camera
An iOS-only feature, you can use your iPhone’s camera to scan ATM cards, credit cards, IDs and more. If you’re looking for speed, this is a much quicker option than having to type the data manually onto a template. Just hold the camera steady over the front and/or back of the card to take a snapshot of it. Edit its details and save to oneSafe.
It is also possible to take and save photos and videos to oneSafe. I like that it does not leave another copy of the content in your photo library, and so removes redundancy from the feature.
On the other hand, if you would like to store photos and videos from your photo library, just scroll down to the Import items section, tap on Photo or video, and select the media you want to save. In this case, you will have to delete the photo or video after if you want to sweep up any trace of the item on your phone.
3. Import from iTunes
Your third option is to add content by importing files using your computer and iTunes. It is also possible to import files from other iOS apps capable of opening documents (e.g., Mail, Safari). You can then choose which oneSafe category you would like to place the file. You can also import existing oneSafe backups, but to do this you will have to visit Settings, tap on “Backup,” then “Import” and “Upload from iTunes.”
Built with AES 256-bit encryption and PBKDF2 for password authentication, oneSafe is designed to provide the highest level of protection of your valuable information, and you see this from the moment you launch the app for the first time. But there are ways to further heighten the security, and it’s found deep within the app’s main settings.
There are three extra security options to protect your data from anyone who attempts to break in and access oneSafe: Decoy Safe, Self-destruction and Break-in Report. These features are cautionary measures to ensure that anyone who tries to access your information are tracked and prevented from getting in.
Decoy Safe shields the real content by setting up a fake safe and locking it with a fake password. A second database is created within, which carries and displays fake content. To set up the decoy safe, visit the Settings panel to switch Decoy Safe to “on.” Self-destruction is another more critical preventive measure in that wipes all of your data clean after three unsuccessful login attempts and wrong answers to your two security questions. Proceed with caution though — you won’t be able to recover your data once it goes off.
For tracking, you have the Break-in report, which monitors the number of attempts at breaking into your database. When activated, the number of attempts will appear on the app icon.
Finally, you can export a oneSafe backup of all of your data in case your existing database self-destructs, or you lose your Master password and have forgotten to set the two security questions. When performing a backup, choose which section to backup and encrypt it with a key for maximum security.
Autofill and Email as Zip
In my review of oneSafe for Mac, I pointed out how the app lacks the ability to autofill and login usernames and passwords for web accounts. I then discovered that this is an iOS-only feature and it works with a built-in browser where you can autofill and login into your online account.
The way it is executed isn’t automatic as how it works on 1Password. For items created with the regular web account templates, you need to indicate which information goes into which field first. From there, oneSafe will be able to autofill your login information the next time over.
Another iOS-only feature is sharing via email. oneSafe creates a zip archive file of the items you wish to send by email, giving you the option to set a password for the archive. I personally wouldn’t use this for anything other than documents I’m fine sharing with other people, though.
Fort Knox Indeed
As a whole, oneSafe does live up to its name as Fort Knox on your iOS device. It’s packed with strong security features inside out, it has the autofill feature for easy logins, and you can create and save all kinds of content using templates, your camera, or by importing via iTunes file sharing. Finally, you can always backup your data or synch your content via iCloud for easy access and viewing.
Compared to 1Password, I’d say it stands as a worthy rival built with the highest level of security and plenty of card options when creating logins and accounts. And while I prefer the former for its interface design and being able to sync my Agile Keychain via Dropbox, I recommend oneSafe for users looking for an affordable but equally powerful password manager.