secure iphone
iPhone 6 with the six figure pin code

Whenever you hear about iPhone security, it’s going to be quite different from what you hear about computer security. You’re still going to learn about smartphone security, however, it’s not all going to be the traditional things you hear such as using anti-viruses and anti-malware software.

When you’re protecting your device, you’re going to be protecting it from the physical side of theft rather than the electronic side as you see on computers. Many thieves on the street are attracted to people’s personal items which make devices such as iPhones such an easy target for thieves.

There’s been a lot of talk about security around phones these days so I thought I’d take the time to show you the different options you have within iOS and different things you can do now.

Enable Touch ID

This is a really convenient way to have a long password which is secure but not has to enter it every time. The exceptions to this are if you have your phone turned off, the next time you boot it up, you’ll have to put in your password before you use touch ID.

You also have to put in your password if you haven’t unlocked your phone or device for 48 hours, that’s just a security precaution that’s built-in. If you go ahead and unlock your iPhone, you probably have a simple password set up and it’s probably four digits.

This is all that Apple originally had which means you should at least have a four-digit password or better. However, having a 4 digit passcode isn’t very secure so you have a couple of different options.

1. Go into settings

2. Under settings you go to touch ID and passcode

3. Under touch ID and passcode, it first makes you enter your password so you want to go ahead and do that. Here is where all of your information and options are stored

Touch ID actually registers to a chip on the iPhone and that data is encrypted and only accessible in that chip, and once you reset the phone it goes away and you can’t get it any other way so it’s a really nice feature that’s built in.

Alphanumerical Passcode – 6 Digits plus

However, if you don’t want to use Touch ID, you can simply turn it off and you’ll be able to enter your phone with a password every time.

If you scroll down further into the Touch ID and Passcode settings, you can change your passcode and you can tell it how often to require it.

So if your phone screen goes out, if you have it set to time out and it shuts off, it’ll require a passcode immediately.

1. Change the passcode to a more complex passcode, rather than a four-digit passcode

2. In the same settings, you can go ahead and hit change passcode, put in your current passcode. Once you’re on the next screen, you’ll have an option to put in a six-digit passcode

This is fairly secure and you can just use a six-digit PIN code. But what’s even better is if you hit passcode options and then you use a custom alphanumeric code and this can be anything you want. So once you have the keyboard in front of you, you can type and meaningful text and then you could put a bunch of numbers after it.

You’re going to be asked a few things after you change your password. You’ll be asked whether you want to use the passcode for iCloud security.

If you want to use the same passcode for iCloud, just put in your iCloud ID, once the iCloud password has been entered you’re good to go. So that’s one way to make your iPhone more secure.

You can make that password really long or really short and that way it’s much more difficult to actually get into the phone and change that.

Lock Screen Access – Fewer Accessibilities

If you have a failed passcode attempt when you unlock your iPhone, you can actually set it to wipe the phone after a certain amount of set attempts, so that’s usually ten attempts and then it will erase data.

All the way at the bottom of touch ID and passcode, you can see erase data. It says erase all data on this iPhone after 10 failed passcode attempts. If you have this turned on and you have family members who always try to guess your password, your iPhone would probably get erased a lot.

If this is your situation, I recommend leaving it off by default. However, if you do want a more secure phone, I would recommend turning it on. Below there a couple more options and these are things that show on your iPhone’s home screen.

If you don’t want these things on the home screen when it’s locked, you might want to turn it off. A lot of people thought there was a problem when Siri was accessible from a locked home screen.

It’s not a problem it’s actually a feature. It’s not a bug the apple forgot to fix, it’s actually something that’s built in and put there on purpose. However, if you don’t want it, you can just simply toggle it off. Once it’s turned off, you won’t see any of the options on the lock screen anymore.

Encrypt your iCloud Backup

Now that you have your passwords more secure and you know how to do that, one of the things you should know is that your actual phone is encrypted but your iCloud backup is not encrypted.

So what that means is if you were to directly try and access the information on the phone it’s encrypted and you would need basically a supercomputer and a lot of time to actually access and decrypt that information.

Your iCloud backup is turned on by default under your iCloud settings. Because this is turned on, it’s very convenient and easy way to restore and backup your phone.

However, this data is actually not encrypted on Apple servers. So it’s lying there on their servers which are secured but that information is actually available if someone really needs to get it.

If you don’t want that particular information available to anyone, you can turn off the iCloud backup.

However, that means you need to back up somewhere else such as your computer using iTunes and you can have a local backup that way.

Private Browsing – Clear your Web History

Aside from the security on your phone, there are some other things you can actually do more securely such as browsing the web. So if you’re in Safari, if you want to surf the web securely, you can hit private and what this does is it doesn’t record any history of which websites you’ve visited or anything like that.

So if you want to go to whatever site and you don’t want anybody to know where you’ve been for whatever reason you have that option. If you need to clear that information for whatever reason you can do that as well under settings.

In settings scroll down to Safari and hit clear history and website data. You have a lot of other options as well. You can select, do not track and you can tell it to block cookies. There are all sorts of information that you can actually change and customize.

Once you turn off private browsing mode, all the tabs that were previously opened will have been wiped out and cleared.

Location Services – Disable Location

Another way you can secure your iPhone has to do with your location data. Location data can be very handy if you want to use maps or things like that. But what if you don’t want anything else using your location? That’s actually found under your settings and under privacy.

Under privacy:

Go to location services and under location services. You have all of your apps and it will tell you if they’re being allowed to use the location or not.

For example, say you don’t want Google Maps to use your location, you can tell it to never use my location although that kind of defeats the purpose of maps but you do have that option if you want it.

You can also do that individually for everything or you can just turn it off altogether. That’s another way you can more securely use your phone.

Enable iCloud Keychain

One of the other things you may want to consider turning off if you want a super secure phone really has to do with iCloud keychain. ICloud keychain is incredibly convenient.

It allows you to store your passcodes across multiple Apple devices securely and you actually have to prove them from device to device. But what that means is if you go to a website that requires a password, you can put in the password and then whenever you go to your Mac, iPad, or my iPod Touch, it will autofill that password again and you’ll have access to it.

However, there are more secure solutions such as one password, Last Pass or data vault. So if you do want to turn off the actual keychain, you just go into settings, you go down to your iCloud settings again, scroll down and you’ll see there’s keychain.

You can just go into it and turn it off. There are more security options under as well but this is more so something you’ll find more convenient than it is to not have it turned on. It’s really up to you when it comes to that sort of security.

Send Last Location

What this does is it sends the last location right before your iPhone dies. So in case your phone is dying and you lose it, you know where to find your phone. To do this, all you have to do is go to settings, scroll down and go to iCloud and make sure your iCloud is enabled.

Scroll down and go to Find My iPhone and this will have to be enabled. Here you’ll see the feature called, send Last location. At the bottom, it says automatically send the location of this iPhone to Apple when the battery is critically low.

Once you enable it, it won’t be sending out your location all the time, it’ll just send it right before your battery is about to die. You can log into your iCloud on another phone in the find my iPhone app. Here, you can search where your iPhone is in case you lose it or even if it’s stolen.

Your Device is Already Protected

Your iPhone is locked with a unique 256-bit encryption key. Security services such as the FBI have asked for Apple help to disable the encryption on your devices to solve cases, but Apple won’t provide the tools for this.

What does this mean for you? First, let’s start with the word 256-bit encryption. Like all computers your iPhone stores data as 0s and 1.

A bit stores a 0 or a 1. 1 bit has two possible patterns. 2 bits has 4 possible patterns. The more bits, the more possible combinations of 0s and 1s. A 256-bit encryption can provide trillions of patterns. Virtually impossible to guess for a computer.

When an iPhone leaves the factory. Apple doesn’t keep a copy of its unique 256-bit encryption key. Without the key, no one, not even Apple can access the data on your iPhone.

If you set a passcode on your phone. That passcode allows the encryption key to unscramble your data which makes it readable. So why does the FBI need Apple help? Couldn’t they just guess the passcode? Well no. The FBI could use what’s called, a brute force attack.

This is where a program continually throws random numbers at your device until one of then matches the correct passcode. But the iPhone has a feature that makes the data permanently inaccessible if the wrong code is entered too many times.

With these securities, the FBI risk losing the information on your phone permanently. So the FBI wants Apple to write software that will bypass these features and allows them to use the brute force method. So what’s the problem? Apple says that if they create this software, all iPhones would be vulnerable to the same approach.

If the software managed to get in the wrong hand, this would destroy Apple Image.

This means that the chances of someone getting into your Apple device without any clues of what your password could be are pretty much impossible. Don’t be too worried if your phone is in the wrong hands. As long as you at least have a passcode, you should be protected from anyone trying to get into your device.