Reader mail: Simple password manager for iPad/iPhone?Karen writes: I’m looking for an iPad/iPhone app for my passwords but I’d like something simple, like the Contacts app, that I can secure with a password. It would also be great if I could sync with my computer. Any suggestions?

Hi Karen! Great question—and great idea, too.

Installing an actual password manager on your iPhone or iPad is the best way to get serious about password security, particularly when it comes to a) creating lengthy, “strong” passwords and b) using different passwords for each of your online accounts, particularly your financial ones.

I admit, I was (until very recently) one of those people who used the same one or two passwords (and fairly weak ones at that) for all my accounts.

My sole password manager: a pad of paper and a pen.

Several months ago, though, I bit the bullet and bought a real password manager, and gradually began the process of replacing my old, weak passwords with newer, longer, stronger, and (crucially) unique ones.

Yes, there was a certain amount of pain involved—after all, even the easiest password app takes getting used to, and you probably have many more passwords to replace than you think.

That said, I’m resting easier knowing a hacker couldn’t completely hijack my digital life and drain my bank accounts by stealing a single password.

Of course, the first and most daunting step is picking the right iPhone- and iPad-friendly password app for you.

AppAdvice has a nice overview of a few dozen of the top iOS password managers, while iMore has a relatively recent “shootout” between three top password-keeper apps: 1Password (which has been revamped since iMore’s review), LastPass, and mSecure.

1Password password creation tool

1Password lets you create lengthy, “strong” passwords directly on your iPhone or iPad.

After much deliberation, I finally went with 1Password. At $18, it’s one of the most expensive iPhone/iPad password managers in the App Store, and you’ll pay even more for the Mac and Windows versions ($50 each). I’d recommend try the free, 30-day trials of the desktop programs before springing for the iPhone app.

Despite the hefty price, I’ve found 1Password to be simple to use—indeed (and as you said in your question, Karen), it does feel feel like a password-protected version of the iPhone’s Contacts app.

Once you set a master unlock code for 1Password (which should be a strong one, containing letters, numbers and symbols), you can create and store lengthy, tough-to-crack passwords for all your online accounts, from Amazon and Facebook to your banking and email accounts.

You can use Dropbox or iCloud to sync your passwords with 1Password apps on your iPad, iPhone, Mac or PC, and you can either copy a password to your mobile browser or just use 1Password’s capable, built-in browser to securely log into your accounts.

Again, though, I suggest you try before you buy—after all, a password manager is something you’ll use every day, and these are your passwords we’re talking about.

Hope that helps, Karen!

Have questions, or any recommendations you’d like to make? Let us know in the comments.

Note: My opinions in this post are my own, and none of the makers of the password apps mentioned in this article compensated me in any way.