My Eyes Only for IPhone

Until retailers, airlines, bus terminals, and any other place where you need a credit card lets us use a phone as a form of ID, we'll all be carrying around plenty of plastic. My Eyes Only is a database tool for inputting all of your data for credit cards, passport info, your driver's license number, and just about anything else you carry in a wallet or purse.

The $9 app from Software Ops is useful for travelers or for those who want to keep a record of personal data. The interface is a bit crude, and it's debatable whether you should rely on one tool for all of this personal info. Still, My Eyes Only helps you stay organized, and it's a useful tool that works reliably well.

The main point of My Eyes Only is to help you store all of your personal ID and credit card data on your phone. (It's worth noting that My Eyes Only shares many features with 1Password ( Macworld rated 3.5 out of 5 mice ), a mobile secret keeper that works in tandem with the desktop app of the same name.) This is helpful when you need to fill out forms, buy something on the Web, or just as a back-up. Still, in many situations--shopping at a brick-and-mortar store or boarding an international flight--you can't just give a number; you need the card or document itself.

It's easy to enter data into My Eyes Only, with the app displaying a visual representation of the actual card or document--such as a Bank of America card or a social security card. You can add membership info for your health club, and bank accounts (with the routing number and bank number used for direct deposits), but you can't create your own category or design your own templates. There is a generic other category for adding other kinds of data, such as the IP address for your home router.

You can also store login info, such as your MobileMe username and password. As the Web moves to authentication methods such as OAuth and OpenID, where you type your Facebook username and password to gain entry into a different site, the login storage feature becomes less appealing.

My Eyes Only works with the desktop Aerochive software from Software Ops, which costs $10, to back-up your My Eyes Only data over the Internet. The back-up service, and the app itself, worked well and never caused any crashes or--perish the thought--loss of data.

My Eyes Only is a handy tool, but the interface is amateurish. It often looks like a database you might create using FileMaker with large garish fields (and sometimes too-small, garish fields) for data entry that use colors that do not go together well.

It's also an open question whether it's a good idea to store all of your personal data in one place. My Eyes Only uses 512-bit RSA encryption for credit card data and identification cards, which is more than enough protection against hackers. (It uses 256-bit encryption for login data and notes.) However, the security is also directly tied to the password you use. If you just use your middle name, for example, the app becomes much less secure, even with the encryption, because someone could steal your iPhone and find the password online, giving them access to everything all in one app.

That said, My Eyes Only is a good organizational tool--and you can always decide not to include some personal info, such as your credit cards. Software Ops offers a free version of My Eyes Only that limits the number of entries per category to just one or two. It's otherwise comparable, but with so few entries, the free version is not too appealing.

As a back-up for your personal data, credit cards, social security numbers, and just about any other ID and membership cards you carry around, My Eyes Only is a good choice, but not a must-own. With a better interface and more customization, the app would be indispensable.

My Eyes Only is compatible with any iPhone or iPod touch running the iPhone 2.2 software update.

[John Brandon is a 20-year veteran Mac user who used to run an all-Mac graphics department.]

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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