Our lives are filled with account numbers, passwords, PIN codes, and other pieces of confidential information that we need to remember and keep track of. Passwords for frequented websites, credit cards, bank accounts, group or association membership numbers, frequent flier/travel club information, driver's license and passport numbers, and insurance policy numbers are just a sampling of what we need to keep track of.
We're told that "for security reasons" never to use the same password or PIN for everything, and that a password is more secure if it contains a combination of letters and numbers. It should also contain eight or more characters. However, writing down confidental account numbers and passwords on paper in order to remember them is counterproductive to maintaining secrecy and security.
Thus, for the average person, it is necessary to memorize a lot of information. There are, however, a handful of iPhone and iPad apps designed to help people securely organize and store all sorts of confidential information, so the information is readily accessible when it's needed, but encrypted and password-protected against unauthorized access by others.
If you opt to store confidential information on your iPhone or iPad, in addition to the password and encryption used by the app itself, you can enhance the security of your iOS device by activating the Passcode Lock feature of your device. When this is done, an unauthorized person can't get past the iPhone or iPad's Lock Screen without entering the proper code.
By default, you can set the Passcode feature to be any four-digit number by accessing the Settings app. From the General menu within Settings, select the Passcode Lock option, and turn it on. From the Passcode Lock screen, you can switch the Simple Passcode option to the off position, which will allow you to utilize a custom alphanumeric password of any length, instead of a four-digit numeric passcode.
If an unauthorized person enters the incorrect passcode or password 10 consecutive times, you can preset the iOS device to erase all its data. (You can later restore the data, assuming that you have an iTunes or iCloud backup.)
When you know other people will be using your iPhone or iPad, you can restrict them from accessing specific apps or performing certain tasks on your phone or tablet by first adjusting the Restrictions options, which can also be found under the General menu within the Settings app.
Third-Party Apps for Securely Storing Private Information on Your iOS Device
Available from the App Store, you'll find a handful of security-related apps that can be used for storing and encrypting specific types of data on your iPhone or iPad. These security apps are ideal for storing account numbers and passwords, for example.
While each of the apps for this purpose might look similar, each offers a unique set of features that make it suitable for storing and managing specific types of information or data.
My Wallet: Password & Credit Card Manager
MyWallet: Password & Credit Card Manager ($1.99) is a security database app that allows you to store credit card account details, bank account information, website passwords, software license information, passport/driver's license numbers, as well as other information that you constantly need access to, but that needs to remain secure.
This is a simple app that works with both the iPhone and iPad. Once you enter each piece of data once, it's easily accessible via the app. The app stores the data in an encrypted format and is password-protected using a password you set. However, if you forget the main password you associate with the MyWallet app, it can't be retrieved.
Password ABC: Password Safe For iPhone
Password ABC: Password Safe For iPhone ($9.99) is another personal database app that's designed to securely store confidential information. One nice feature of this app is that once you enter your account details for frequented websites, you can access those sites with a single tap on the screen, without having to manually launch Safari and reenter your username and password.
The Password ABC app also features database templates for credit card accounts, bank account details, passport and driver's license data, insurance policy information, and other important data. Plus, you can securely store text-based documents entered into the app.
As each piece of information is entered into the Password ABC app, a separate database entry is created. Depending on the type of information it is, the app will prompt you for related information. Later, when you need to retrieve data, you'll need to access the app using a four-digit password. Your database will display each entry by name, but categorize and group together types of entries, such as bank accounts, credit card accounts, and website passwords.
Like all iPhone apps, Password ABC will function on an iPad, but won't utilize the entire screen unless you tap the 2X button to enlarge the iPhone-formatted screens.
SaveItSafe! ($2.99) also allows you to store account information and passwords in a secure database. You can also securely store notes (created using the Notes app) and digital photos (copied from the Photos app).
Like the other apps of this type, SaveItSafe! utilizes a master password that someone must know to access data stored within the app. However, if you forget your password, a security question is offered to help you recover the password and regain access to the app.
Another third-party app for managing and storing sensitive information is eWallet ($9.99). This hybrid iPhone/iPad app has a user interface that displays a virtual credit card on the screen, for example, when you input details about your credit card accounts. So, when you retrieve the information, it's as if you're holding the credit card in front of you.
This app allows you to create one central database containing many different types of entries (bank accounts, credit cards, password websites, etc.), or you can create separate databases for each type of data. In addition to the core data you associate with each entry[md]such as a website URL, username, and password[md]you can include private notes and/or attach a photo to each entry.
One of the unique features of the eWallet app is that the developer also offers a desktop version for Windows-based PCs ($19.99) and Macs ($9.99), so you can wirelessly (but securely) synchronize the data between your computer and iOS device. While the eWallet app is available from the App Store, you'll need to visit http://www.Ilimsoft.com to purchase and download the PC or Mac version of the software.
The Safe app ($1.99) is also a hybrid iPhone/iPad app that allows you to securely store all types of information in a personal database format that's password protected and encrypted. The unique feature of this app is that in addition to the predefined database templates that are built in, you can create your own custom forms, so the app is highly customizable for storing any type of data you enter.
The Safe app allows you to categorize your data entries and then group them together, so all your credit card accounts, bank accounts, website passwords, or text-based notes are easily retrievable and remain well organized.
Another useful feature of Safe is that you can move digital images stored within the Photos app to the Safe app, so they also become password protected and can't be accessed by unauthorized users. Or, if you opt to use the app to store usernames and passwords for frequently visited websites, you can launch Safari from within the Safe app by tapping a URL field within the app and then have the Safe app sign you in to the desired website automatically.
As you're using the Safe app, if you switch to another app (using multitask mode) or leave the iPhone or iPad unattended for a pretermined period with the Safe app still open, it will automatically relock itself and become inactive.
Because the Safe app stores images, you can use the camera that's built into your iPhone or iPad to photograph important paper-based documents and then store those images within your iOS device, creating a secure virtual file cabinet. Documents that have been scanned can also be transferred to the Safe app to be password-protected, encrypted, and stored.
As you input data into the Safe app, in addition to catagorizing data by type, you can assign graphic icons to each entry for easy visual reference. The app includes a library of symbol icons representing credit cards, bank accounts, documents, ID cards, website URLs, and other commonly stored types of data or information.
Secure Your Wallet Contents by Using These Apps
Once you install any of these apps, begin by going through your entire wallet. Enter into the app the account numbers and related information for every debit card, credit card, and/or ID and membership card that you carry. Within each entry, include the toll-free customer service phone number that's associated with the account.
In the future, if you ever lose your wallet or it gets stolen, the security app you utilize will contain a complete inventory of what was lost. You can then quickly contact your banks, financial institutions, and other organizations to arrange replacements without wasting time sorting through old files trying to recall everything contained in your missing wallet.