Wallet: Simple & Flexible Information Storage

I don’t know about you, but I carry around 14 pieces of information on my wallet everyday, between ids and cards of some sort. Despite the apparent digital convergence, the physical world still clings onto these plastic cards.

Wallet for iPhone can help you reduce the bulk in your pocket and also centralize and synchronize some of that information in addition to anything digital you have spread over your email account, browser and file system.

Getting Started

If you’re using this kind of software, chances are you intend to store your login credentials for several sites as well as credit card information, and the best way to start is by setting up a strong password to protect all that valuable info. Wallet gets you up and running by helping you out with a step by step wizard:

Setup

Setup

Make sure you remember that password, as there is no way to recover your database if you lose it or forget it.

Storing information

Wallet comes with three suggested groups to get you started: Serial Numbers, Credit Cards and Web Passwords. Storing a new entry is as simple as filling in the requested fields. You can also add new fields on-the-fly, one of the most powerful albeit simple features.

Adding a New Item

Adding a New Item

Web Passwords also allow you to automatically browse to the particular url and fill in your login credentials for you:

Autofill

Autofill

Using Groups

In Wallet, groups are templates that define which fields will hold whatever information you want to store. In addition to the title and set of sections and fields, you can customize the icon for each group, choosing from a nice bundled selection:

Creating a Group

Creating a Group

You can of course reorder, edit or delete any of the built-in or custom groups, although Web Passwords’ auto-fill functionality apparently can’t be replicated on new groups, so think twice before ditching it.

Syncing

This is one of the nicest, simplest and most useful features of Wallet that sets it apart from the competition. In Wallet, there are to ways of keeping your information up-to-date on different computers and devices: connecting locally through the same Wi-Fi network or using MobileMe or any other WebDAV server to backup, sync and restore your database.

Setting up Syncing

Setting up Syncing

Don’t add the domain (@mac.com or @me.com) to your MobileMe username when entering your details.

Once you’ve set it up, you can use this same information, together with you Wallet password, to retrieve your database on another device or in case you had to reinstall the application.

Competition and Limitations

Wallet’s power lies in its simple, straight-forward approach, as well as in its capability to sync over MobileMe. There is one clear competitor in my mind, and that is 1Password, which some people may be a little overkill or beyond their budget.

There are, however, nice touches in 1Password that Wallet could borrow into its clean interface: different types of text fields is the most notable: there are only “text” and “hidden” (password) fields, so dealing with dates, for example, doesn’t have the polish you might expect.

At the same time, it’s so flexible -like its ability to add custom fields anytime, anywhere- and so easy to sync and backup -specially if you have a MobileMe account- that it’s hard to resist Wallet’s workflow.


Summary

Wallet is a great solution for storing sensitive information on your iPhone, automatically filling in web forms, and keeping all your data in sync. It's worth also taking a look at 1Password before purchasing, but we'd certainly recommend it as a solid option.

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