I almost learned a big lesson yesterday when I got to work and didn’t have my iPhone with me. Did I leave it in the car when I parked at the bus stop, or did I leave it on the hood of the car when I got my bags out of the backseat? Perhaps something diverted me away for just a few moments, like the fact I was about to miss the express bus I take downtown everyday for work. Such a slight distraction would have caused me to leave my phone outside of my car and give anyone access to important information.
No, my iPhone wasn’t locked down at the time. I didn’t have my passcode feature set, so anyone could gain access to email, my WordPress blogs, notes, passwords, financial apps (although, they are password protected) and other private information. Not smart of me, I know. Fortunately, my iPhone was in the passenger seat of my car when I arrived at the bus stop and I could breathe a sigh of relief.
However, this little scare got me thinking about the importance of protecting information, especially financial, on devices such as the iPhone. In today’s world, everyone is walking around with an iPhone, Blackberry or Droid, which pretty much acts as another computer with applications and the ability to store information. Should one of these handy devices get stolen, private information can be placed in the wrong hands.
Here are some of the things I’m doing to protect myself should I lose or misplace my iPhone again. I know some of these seem straight – forward, but even so, most people don’t take the time to implement them.
Use Your Device Passcode Lock and Erase Feature
If you store any personal information on your phone or don’t want others to have access to your email, or apps like Facebook, Twitter, etc., lock down your phone with a passcode. You can set up the passcode in the settings for your iPhone. In addition, enable the Erase data feature. This feature will automatically erase all data on your phone after 10 failed attempts. You should have all your data if you back your iPhone up with iTunes.
Require Login and Password for all Financial Apps
You may have downloaded a banking app. If so, make sure it requires a username and login before data can be accessed. Most of them do, but double check. Also, if you a have an iPhone version of your budgeting software, make sure you have it protected with a passcode, ideally different from your device passcode.
Install the Find My iPhone App
Apple now has a free app to help you find your iPhone if it’s lost. It’s for newer versions of the iPhone, but a must have app. Look for many apps that offer a similar service in the Apple app store for older versions of your phone. If you think your iPhone has been stolen, call your service provider immediately to shut down phone and internet service.
Don’t Store Sensitive Data
Use common sense and don’t store passwords, credit card numbers, bank account numbers in note files on your iPhone. I wouldn’t even consider doing this with the passcode set on my iPhone. If you’re doing this, take the time today to transfer this information to a more secure place.
Remove Unnecessary Apps
Remove apps you don’t use. I mentioned that my blogs can be accessed via my iPhone. They could and I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t have a password set. I rarely use the app, so I decided to remove it.
What tips do you have to protect the information on your iPhone if you were to lose it?