In my never ending quest to improve my digital life– nothing improves without change– I check out new software on a regular basis to see if it can be adapted to my daily digital workflow. In most cases, new software cannot because I work diligently to keep the routine simple and safe. One app I came across recently might help you to secure import information; documents, photos, contacts, files and folders, passwords and user IDs, even video clips away from prying eyes.
The app is called Safe + and all it does is save files with 256-bit AES encryption so government spooks, hackers, authorities, and criminals won’t be able to see what you have hidden unless you give away the password. Even better, Safe + works on Mac, iPhone, and iPad so whatever incriminating or sensitive information you want to keep private can remain private on all Apple’s major devices.
Sounds great, right? The idea is sound but the implementation could use some work, especially since it competes with so many other apps, tools, and utilities which do much the same thing and for a lesser price tag.
Safe + does not use iCloud to sync your files automatically with each device; Mac, iPhone, or iPad. Instead, it relies on Wi-Fi to transfer files. That’s fine if you trust your Wi-Fi connection, but most security experts would prefer a different method, though the paranoid don’t trust the cloud, either. Still, iCloud Drive, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox and others are an extra step alternative for encrypted backups, and restoring files is straightforward.
On the positive side, Safe + uses Touch ID so accessing files and data is easier than remembering a password. What the apps stores is pretty much up to you. Obviously, the are templates for different types of information.
- Credit cards
- Bank accounts
- User accounts
There’s also an option to create your own custom forms which also makes it easier to add information. Notes can be added to any item and you can create as many categories of items as you need. Also handy is the option to open secure websites in Safari from links within Safe +, and you can make phone calls from numbers with a tap on the iPhone version, too. While the iOS version is far less expensive than the Mac version, there’s an odd option for in-app purchases for different file types. And the iOS version gets better reviews than the Mac version.
True, nothing improves without change and a product must differentiate itself from competitors to be a success. For example, 1Password, long considered the gold standard for storing information securely, is cross platform, too. Competitors like Enpass and SafeInCloud, both much like 1Password in features, are far less expensive.
I can see why Mac, iPhone, and iPad users would look to Safe + and the iOS version remains attractively priced, but a savvy Mac user can get similar security through the Mac’s Keychain app (also encrypted) and a secure disk image from Disk Utility and both are built-in and included with the Mac.
Personally, I use 1Password on all devices and it works great, but I worry about the trend toward subscription pricing which has a tendency to raise the ongoing price of using software. But I also use the free and cross platform Encrypto, and to keep files safely stored– and encrypted– off premise, I use Arq and Amazon S3.