iPhone Security Tip #1: Enable Auto-Lock
One of the most basic iPhone security functions is the Auto-Lock feature, which locks the device's touch screen after not being used for a preset time period. Users can choose to set their iPhones to automatically lock after not being used for anywhere from 1-5 minutes . Auto-Lock can also be disabled altogether, but this is not a desired feature.
Auto-Lock is enabled by default, but you may change the specific settings here:
- Settings icon
- Tap General tab
- Tap 'Auto-Lock'
- Select the desired time period by tapping the on-screen value
Finally, exit the Auto-Lock and Settings screens by tapping the box in the display's top left corner.
iPhone Security Tip #2: Enable Auto-Lock
The iPhone Auto-Lock disables the device's screen after a preset time period of non-use, but the 'Passcode Lock' feature takes that a step further. Whenever the device's display locks, whether due to Auto-Lock or because you've hit the iPhone Sleep button--found on the top right of the device--Passcode Lock requires a four-digit code to be entered before the device can be employed again.
The Auto-Lock feature (Settings >> General >> Auto-Lock) only locks the screen after a preset time of not using the iPhone. Passcode Lock makes it more secure; One additionally needs to enter a four-digit code to access the iPhone's home screen.
**By default, iPhone doesn't require you to enter a passcode to unlock it. To set a passcode, choose:
- Settings icon
- Tap General tab
- Tap 'Passcode Lock' and enter a 4-digit passcode. Try not to use a consecutive or sequential passcode (e.g. 1111, 4567).
* It is recommended to set 'Simple Passcode' to 'off' and use a longer than 4-digit PIN.
Passcode unlock also has two other options to "Show SMS Preview" and "Erase Data".
* With 'SMS Preview' you will see the name of the sender and the first few words of the text message when you get the text message when iPhone's screen is locked. This can be disabled for an additional layer of physical security.
* The 'Erase Data' feature completely wipes your iPhone after 10 failed passcode attempts. After six failed attempts, the iPhone locks out users for a minute before another passcode can be entered.
iPhone Security Tip #3: Keep up with Apple firmware updates
Apple's well-publicized flaw that allowed access to the address book via the 'emergency call' mechanism was repaired a while back, but only if you applied the patch. Unfortunately, Apple requires the use of desktop tools for firmware updates; Users must run Apple Software Update on their Mac or PC to grab them from iTunes when they become available. This type of vulnerability alone is a great reason to ensure that your device is updated to the currently available version of the iOS software.
iPhone Security Tip #4: Backing up
By default your iPhone will automatically sync and create a backup each time your iPhone is connected to your computer. If you want to manually create an iPhone backup though, it is very easy. It is a good idea to create a current backup before you download and install the latest iOS version.
How to start an iPhone backup:
- Plug your iPhone into your computer
- Launch iTunes
- Select your iPhone in the 'DEVICES' list
- Right-Click on your iPhone
- Select 'Back Up'
- Wait for iPhone backup to complete
**This will create a backup of your iPhone that you will be able to restore from later. This procedure is the same in both Mac OSX and Windows.
Phone Security Tip #5 Secure your Wi-Fi
Every time you use Wi-Fi on your iPhone, ensure it is secure using Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) or any other security protocol.
To ensure that you do not unknowingly connect to any open (unsecure) Wi-Fi networks while on the go, you should enable the iPhone's 'Ask to Join Networks' function. This is enabled by default (Settings >> Wi-Fi >> Ask to Join Networks). Insecure networks are dangerous for any secure activity such as online banking, but also exposes any other non-encrypted internet traffic to the same caliber of danger.
iPhone Security Tip #6: Web-based Email with SSL
For non-business iPhone users, receiving Web mail (like Gmail, AOL and Yahoo Mail) is a breeze; However, the process is not always secure--especially if you're not aware of how to ensure that secure socket layer (SSL) protection is enabled, where available. SSL encrypts mail that is sent and received via your iPhone. If you are unable to connect to your web-based email using the iPhone and SSL, consider using another mail account that does support the safeguard--The majority of major email providers support this now. Or, if you choose to access mail without SSL, be aware that your messages are NOT secured; Think post card vs. sealed letter.
**To ensure that you're using SSL when retrieving Web mail, click the main iPhone 'Settings tab', choose 'Mail', 'Contacts and Calendar' and then select one of your active mail accounts. While on the mail account screen, select 'Advanced', scroll down to the 'Use SSL' option and ensure that it's set to 'On'.
iPhone Security Tip #7: Secure your Mobile Safari
For making your Mobile Safari secure:
- Enable basic security features such as 'Fraud Warning' and 'Block Pop-ups'
- Tap 'Accept Cookies' and make sure that either 'From Visited' or 'Never' is selected instead of 'Always'.
iPhone Security Tip #8: Self-awareness
The last and the most important tip of all: Be conscious with your iPhone. Keep track of where you leave it. Don't locally store passwords. Think of the information on your iPhone as if it were the same important information as on your home computer, and treat it so.