Securing your new iPhone 4S

If you are a happy new iPhone 4S owner (I know I am, as are about 4 million other people), congratulations! As soon as I received mine I transferred all the data from my old, and now obsolete, iPhone 4. As I watched the progress bar I realized just how much information about me I carry around in my phone:

  • My work emails
  • My 1Password database with all my accounts and their passwords
  • Pictures
  • All my contacts
  • All my appointments
  • A variety of notes about both business and personal matters

What if I were to lose my phone? Or worse yet, what if someone stole it! Those criminals would have a ton of information about me… or would they?

One of the first things I did when I got my new iPhone 4S was enable a passcode (these instructions will also work for older iPhones). Here’s how to do it:

  1. Tap on the Settings icon.
  2. Tap General
  3. Scroll down until you see the Passcode section.
  4. Tap on Passcode Lock.

Under Passcode Lock there are a number of interesting options. The first thing you’ll want to do is tap “Turn Passcode On.” You’ll be prompted to enter your new password twice.

Once a passcode is set tap on “Require Passcode.” This sets the delay between when you lock your phone and when the passcode is required to unlock it. I would recommend choosing “immediately” because I’m paranoid.

You should also set “Siri” to Off in the Passcode Lock settings, otherwise someone could use Siri (the iPhone 4S voice activated personal assistant) to send emails/text messages to people from your locked phone (not very secure). Keep in mind this doesn’t turn off Siri for your phone, it is just disables it when your iPhone is locked.

Finally, while you’re there slide “Erase Data” to yes which will erase everything on your iPhone when someone enters the wrong passcode 10 times in a row (chances are you’ll need many fewer attempts to unlock your phone).

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About Scott McNulty

I'm a writer in a technologist's body.

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