If there was one thing, or one set of things I guess, that I could force everyone to do, it would be to set up Find My iPhone and to lock their iPhone or iPad with a passcode.
Since Find My iPhone was made free to all iDevice owners with the release of iOS 4.2.1 in November of 2010, I have tried to help at least 20 people locate their lost or stolen iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
And the unfortunate thing is that approximately 90% of those people could not be helped. Why? Because they had not set up Find My iPhone. Or, confused, they downloaded the Find My iPhone app thinking that was all that was needed.
This whole process is really quite easy. For the time it takes to get things set up and tested, it far outweighs the chance of never getting your device back.
Lock your iPhone or iPad with a passcode.
I’ve asked people to do this more then I can count. But I always hear the same set of excuses. It’s either, “I don’t want to have to unlock my phone every time I want to use it.” or “My [significant other] will flip out if my phone is locked.”
For those that don’t want to deal with tapping a 4-digit code. It literally only takes 2 seconds more to get into your device. And for those that have an un-trusting significant other. Give them the code! I’m not a counselor so get it figured out.
It’s as easy as: (iPhone and iPad) Settings > General > Passcode Lock. At the top, tap “Turn Passcond On”. Choose a 4 digit code that is not easy for others to guess. This would be things like birth dates and easy to guess codes like 1234 or 0000. You’ll have to enter it twice.
Just below you will see “Require Passcode”. Make sure it is set to “Immediately” or “After 1 Minute”. Mine is set to “After 1 Minute”. I recommend staying away from the longer options. If someone steals your device and it is set to a longer interval, they could have access to everything in your device like your contacts or pictures/videos.
Just below that is an On/Off toggle titled “Simple Passcode”. Set to on, it uses a 4 digit numeric code. When set to Off it allows you to use letters, numbers, and special characters (!@#$) in your passcode.
The next option is for Siri. When set to On, Siri can perform certain operations when the phone is locked. If an operation cannot be performed, Siri will require a passcode to continue with the request.
The final option is the On/Off toggle, “Erase Data”. If the wrong passcode is entered 10 times, your device will erase all of your data from itself. This could be useful, but I have never enabled it. I have children who love to play with our iPhones and iPad. I don’t feel like restoring our iDevices every time they get a hold of them.
Note: Seeing that I have never enabled the “Erase Data” option, I do not know exactly what it does. So I backed up my iPhone, enabled it, and entered the wrong passcode 10 times. I’ll let you know all about it in a post following this series.
The last thing to check in regards to locking your iDevice is the “Auto-Lock” settings. (Settings > General > Auto-Lock) The Auto-Lock setting sets the amount of time your iDevice stays “awake” before shutting itself off. The time interval you set in the “Require Passcode” section starts AFTER you device turns off (goes to sleep).
For the iPhone, you can choose 1 through 5 minutes or never. For the iPad you can choose 2, 5, 10 and 15 minutes or never. If you choose never, the iDevice will stay on until you hit the Wake/Sleep button.
Be sure to check back for part two covering Find My iPhone.