When it comes to your iPhone, or any smartphone for that matter, security is key. You’ve spent so much money on this device already, whether you purchased the phone outright, or if you’re tied into a contract. The last thing you want is for it to get lost or stolen.
Nowadays, getting your phone stolen isn’t just inconvenient because you need to buy a new phone or you’re unable to log into Facebook for a few days. Actually, the consequences are a lot more serious.
There are so many more issues that come with a security breach. You could have your data hacked, including your emails, where you could keep passcodes for bank log ins, or sensitive information could get into the wrong hands.
It really does pay to keep your iPhone secure. Here, we discuss some tips and ideas for securing your iPhone properly. You may know or do some of these already, but combining them with a few other tips could keep your device even more secure.
One of the most basic iPhone security functions is the Auto-Lock feature. This locks your phone’s touch screen when it has not been used for a certain amount of time. This could be for one, two, three, four or five minutes. It is an automatic feature of many iPhones when you first get them. You may not think that this on its own would do much for your phone’s security. However, when combined with the Passcode feature, it can really help to create that instant barrier that a thief will come across if they get hold of your phone. Passcode Lock requires a four-digit code to be entered before the device can be used again.
To turn on this feature, click the main iPhone Settings icon, click General, click Passcode Lock, then enable the function by clicking Turn Passcode On.
Obviously choosing your passcode is important. Anyone who may know you could guess a common passcode, such as your date of birth or the year you were born. Don’t, whatever you do, use simple passcodes like 1,2,3,4. There is simply no point having a passcode feature if you choose a basic password like that.
You can also choose when you are asked for your passcode. Choosing to have your phone prompt you to enter the passcode every time you wish to unlock it is the safest and most secure way. Although some people may find this irritating, especially if they are constantly picking their phone up and using it, there are enhanced features on the iPhone 6 which allow fingerprint recognition. This negates the need to enter a code and simply uses your unique fingerprint to open the device.
Tip: You might find it useful if you have an iPhone 6 to input several fingerprints from different fingers into your phone. This makes it easier for you to unlock the phone even if you’re using the other hand or can only use your thumb, for example. You can also enter your partner’s fingerprints if you are happy for them to use your phone.
Say someone has managed to pinch your phone and comes across your passcode feature. After several guesses, they still haven’t managed to access your phone’s data. Then what? Well, iPhone’s Erase Data function lets you completely wipe your iPhone after 10 failed passcode attempts. The device increases its lock-out time after each additional failed attempt from the 6th failed attempt onwards.
Great! The thief has failed to get into all your important data and although you don’t have your iPhone back in your hands, you have no need to worry that your sensitive and personal information is going anywhere. But after your iPhone has erased itself, a little like an iPhone data self destruct feature, where does that leave you? Well, hopefully, you have backed up your iPhone. Everyone is encouraged to back up their phones onto the cloud so that even if your phone isn’t stolen, but instead is broken, has water damage, or something similar, you never lose anything important.
You can back up your iPhone’s data either by USB connection to iTunes or via wireless – if supported by your iOS version. This means that you can log into any computer and access messages, photos, emails, notes, calendars and anything else you need.
To set up this feature on your phone, you must have an active iCloud account – these are free from Apple.
Apple summarise this feature quite well:
“…with the Lost Mode feature, you don’t just see where your device is, you can track where it’s been. That way you can decide on your best course of action. You can immediately lock your device and send it a message with a contact number. Then whoever finds it can call you from the Lock screen without accessing the rest of the information on your device.”
Siri is the personal assistant that allows you to ask any question to the phone even when the screen is locked. By turning this feature off when your phone is locked, you will make your phone even more secure. This is because Siri will communicate with anyone – not just its owner’s voice. To diable this feature, go to “Settings” –> “Passcode” ->”Allow access when locked”–> “Siri: off” and lso don’t forget to also go to “Settings” –> “General” –> “Siri” –> “Allow “Hey Siri”: off”.
iPhones will try to automatically connect to known WiFi hotspots without your permission. Although often useful, there’s a chance that a savvy thief could establish their own wireless network with the same name as a trusted hotspot. They could then possibly access your personal information. By turning this feature of your phone off, you can further enhance the security of your phone.
So, go to “Settings” –> “Wi-Fi” –> “Ask to join networks-> then switch this on.
Another tip would be to disable cookies. Many of you will know that cookies are files which are left on your device after you visit a website. Some may contain information about you, which you may wish to avoid. By turning off cookies, you will reduce the risk of unauthorized use of your login data.
To try this, go to “Settings” –> “Safari” –> “Privacy & Security”–> “Do Not Track: on” then go to, “Block Cookies: Always Block.” Some people may find this annoying as it means that the device will forget your preferences, but other people find that this is a necessary and small inconvenience to properly secure the device and protect personal data.
We are always downloading different apps but rarely think about how these apps are accessing data on our phones. You should be careful about what you download. Only choose apps that are reputable and highly rated, and also check the privacy settings on apps. Many apps will also want to use location services which could pose a risk. Be careful about what is displayed in app notifications. Look out for what your apps are trying to access and don’t just simply ‘accept’ whatever they ask. For example, are apps trying to access your iPhone’s microphone, photos, or contacts? Delete those that you do not trust and kill the apps in your background when not in use.
So far, we have spoken about thieves and wrongdoers getting hold of our phones and threatening their security. But what about something a little closer to home? Our children, whatever age, like to play with the big bright iPhone screens even when they are not supposed to. So it is important to set guidelines for your phone. If you will allow some play on your iPhone, then set usage restrictions so that your child cannot access anything that they are not supposed to when your back is turned. Children can unknowingly buy items or download expensive games – or access adult material- in just a few minutes.
Restrictions can be found on the main iPhone Settings menu, within the “General” tab. You will see, “Enable Restrictions” followed by a list of options. You can click the On/Off button next to each option to choose what you would like restricted.
So, if for example you decide to block YouTube and iTunes, the phone will not allow access to any of these functions until a passcode (that only you know) is entered.
While on the subject of children, there are some other practical things you can do to secure your iPhone. Make sure you get a quality screen protector, for instance. Children can easily scratch up a delicate phone screen and investing in one of these screen packs will allow you to get that added peace of mind.
You may also want a phone case. There are so many iPhone cases on the market. Most of these act as fashion accessories, but try and find one that also suits your phone’s practicality. You can buy some that are tough and durable, meaning that if your phone is accidentally dropped, it will quickly bounce back and not damage the phone itself. You can also buy wallet-like cases that allow your whole phone to be covered for added protection.
Remember that if you do break a part of your iPhone, it isn’t always the end of the world. You can buy replacement parts but make sure you only purchase these from reputable sites that you trust. Don’t allow your phone to be sent off to any company that you do not trust. The risk could be that your phone content is duplicated and your information is used without your knowledge. If you are recycling your phone, you should also be careful to erase all data properly – including a full factory reset. Even after erasing the data from your phone, you should ensure the phone recycle company is a reliable and reputable one – this could include Mozima Mobile, Envirofone, or Music Magpie. Your current phone supplier may also run a similar service.