iPad/iPhone Security in Five Simple Steps

If you’re not the proud owner of one of the 10 million iPads sold last year, no worries.  With projections of 65 million iPads shipping this year, chances are you could be the owner (or user) of an iPad sooner rather than later.

But maybe you’re not ready for a tablet device.  You’re still content with your smartphone.  If you picked up one of the 47 million iPhones sold last year, this article still applies to you.

You’ll find that the more you rely on your iDevice, the more sensitive data you’ll begin storing on it.  Before long, your iDevice will contain access to your email accounts, your Facebook account, your Mint account… the list goes on and on.

As long as your new iDevice remains at home, locked up in a fireproof safe, it’s all good.  But where’s the fun in that?

What you may not know is that you can SIGNIFICANTLY increase your iDevice’s security in just a few minutes.  Apple doesn’t enable these settings by default (shame on you, Apple!), but these five simple changes will go a LONG way toward keeping your private data private.


  • Enable the passcode lock.  You use a four-digit PIN to keep other people from using your debit card, so why not do the same with your iDevice?  To enable the passcode lock:
    • Go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock
    •  Switch it to On
    • Select your PIN
    • While you’re on this screen, make sure to go to Require Passcode and choose how often your passcode is required.  Mine is set to Immediately.
  • Enable auto-lock.  Separate from the passcode lock, you can configure your iDevice to auto-lock after a period of inactivity.
    • Go to Settings > General > Auto-Lock
    • Choose the length of time between when you set your iDevice down and when the auto-lock function takes effect (between 1 and 5 minutes).
  • Enable local memory wipe.  A very patient thief could figure out your four-digit PIN in time, unless you configure your iDevice to automatically delete its data after 10 failed login attempts.  Since your data is already backed up in iTunes, the only thing you’ve lost is your hardware.  To enable local memory wipe:
    • Go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock
    • Switch Erase Data to On
  • Enable confirmation of Wi-Fi connections.  Chances are you’ll use your iDevice to login to a number of different websites.  That’s a lot of usernames and passwords floating around in the air.  To make sure you always know which network your phone is connected to, enable confirmation of Wi-Fi connections by doing the following:
    • Go to Settings > Wi-Fi > Ask to Join Network Connections
    • Switch it to On
  • Disable Bluetooth.  Do you use Bluetooth?  If not, there’s no reason to leave your phone open to connections from other devices.  Disable Bluetooth by doing the following:
    • Go to Settings > General > Bluetooth
    • Switch it to Off

If you’re using an iPhone 4 or and iPad, you can also install Find My iPhone or Find My iPad, a FREE app that helps you recover your device in the event that it’s lost or stolen.  Me?  I’m still using an iPhone 3GS, so I can’t take advantage of this feature. L

All told, applying these settings will take all of 5 minutes.  Considering the amount of time it would take to recover from a compromised email password or bank account login, it’s well worth the effort.



One thought on “iPad/iPhone Security in Five Simple Steps”

  1. A good lock screen + honesty will help

    Even with “Find my iPhone”, it is always a good idea to set an explicit Lock Screen, with a phone number to reach you.

    You can do it by creating an image from your PC or directly on your iPhone/iPad with my app called A+ Signature. See: http://www.rti-net.com/Apps.aspx

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