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How can I secure my iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch?

Note: Although you can use the manual instructions here, another option is to use the Get Connected iOS utility to configure your device automatically.

To secure the data on your mobile device, you should always use a pattern, PIN, passcode, or password to lock your device. If your device is lost or stolen, this precaution can prevent others from accessing your email, calendar, contacts, and other data. See How can I protect data on my mobile device?

Important: The IU Mobile Security Device Standard (IT-12.1) requires the use of data encryption on handheld devices used to access, store, or manipulate critical information at IU. Such use also requires "written approval from the senior executive of the unit involved or the Institutional Review Board confirming a critical business need".

Using the Passcode Lock feature

Every iOS device provides a Passcode Lock feature that lets you set a four-digit passcode for locking the device. On a device running iOS 4 or later, you can choose to set either a simple, four-digit passcode or a variable-length alphanumeric passcode.

To use Passcode Lock on your iOS device:

  1. From the home screen, tap Settings, and then choose General > Passcode Lock.

  2. In iOS 4 or later:

    • To use an alphanumeric password:
      1. Switch Simple Passcode to OFF, and then tap Turn Passcode On.
      2. Enter your passcode, tap Next, re-enter your passcode to confirm it, and then tap Done.
    • To use a simple, four-digit passcode:
      1. Leave Simple Passcode switched ON, and then tap Turn Passcode On.
      2. Enter your passcode, and then re-enter your passcode to confirm it.

    For guidelines on setting a secure passcode, see Passwords and passphrases and At IU, how can I choose a secure PIN?

  3. To select how long the device will remain idle before requiring your passcode, tap Require Passcode, and then choose from:

    • Immediately
    • After 1 minute
    • After 5 minutes
    • After 15 minutes

    Note: Choosing the shortest time provides the best security.

With Passcode Lock turned on, you'll see "Data protection is enabled" at the bottom of the Passcode Lock screen.

If you forget your passcode, you can restore your device by connecting it to the computer you use to sync it.

Enhancing standard security

Hardware encryption is built into iOS 4 and later, and is a standard feature on the iPhone (3GS and later), iPad (all models), and iPod touch (third generation and later). To enhance the standard security of your iOS device:

  • Enable Passcode Lock's Erase Data option. To do so, on the Passcode Lock screen, switch Erase Data to ON, and then tap Enable. With this option set, your device will securely erase all data after 10 failed passcode attempts. (To restore data to your device, connect it to the computer you use to sync it.)

  • When backing up your device data to a computer, use the encrypt local backup option in iTunes. UITS recommends setting a password that uses a combination of letters and numbers, and saving it in your Keychain.

  • If you use iCloud to back up your device data, make sure to use a strong iCloud password.

    Important: At Indiana University, if you use your device to access or store electronic protected health information (ePHI) regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), do not use iCloud to back up your device data (regardless of the strength of your iCloud password). For more on ePHI and HIPAA at IU, see At IU, where can I find information about IRB requirements for working with HIPAA-regulated research data?

Additionally, iOS 5.1 (and later) supports the use of S/MIME Client Certificates to digitally sign or encrypt email messages. At IU, Client Certificates are provided by the InCommon Certificate Service. For more, see Using S/MIME Client Certificates with iOS devices.

Wiping data from your device

To remove all personal data from your device, see How do I clear all data from my iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad? You can restore your device by connecting it to the computer you use to sync it.

At Indiana University, if you have configured your device to connect to Exchange, you can use OWA to wipe your data remotely if your device is lost or stolen; see In Outlook Web App, how can I manage my Exchange ActiveSync device?

For more about iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch security, see Apple Support.

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Last modified on February 27, 2014.

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