How To: Secure Your iPhone (iOS 7)

How To: Secure Your iPhone (iOS 7)

Our phones know our bank details, our passwords, our credit numbers, our browser history and more so there’s a lot at risk if your phone is lost or stolen.

Nobody plans to lose their phone but you can plan ways to minimise the negative effects of a lost phone.

We’ve put together a list of tried and tested ways of securing your iOS 7 iPhone that will help you keep your private information private and maximise your chance of recovering your phone if the worst should happen.

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Setting a passcode is one of the easiest and most effective ways of securing your iPhone.

On the off chance that your phone leaves your possession, it will be very difficult for anyone to break into the phone and access your private information.


iPhone Settings General Screenshot

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iPhone Settings General Screenshot

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iPhone Enter Passcode Screenshot


To set up a passcode:

  1. Open Settings and hit General.
  2. Then open Passcode Lock.  Hit Turn On Passcode.
  3. Your phone will ask you for a four digit passcode.  Enter something that will be easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess.
  4. Once you’ve entered your passcode, your phone will ask you to confirm it again.
  5. Enter your four digit passcode in again and your passcode should be set.

Once you have a passcode set, you can add further layers of security.

Auto Lock

Under the General tab in Settings there is an Auto Lock option which determines how long it takes for your phone to automatically lock after a period of inactivity.

The options are one to five minutes.  To maximise security and battery life, we recommend setting this function to One Minute.

Require Passcode

Below the Auto Lock tab is the Passcode tab.  If you open the Passcode tab you have the option of shortening or extending the time period before your phone requires a passcode in order to be unlocked in the Require Passcode tab.

For example, if set to immediately, your phone will require a passcode every time you wish to unlock it.  If you set it to one hour, your phone will only require a passcode if the phone has been locked for an hour or more.  Obviously shorter times are more secure.

We recommend setting the Require Passcode function to Immediately.

Complex Passcode

Complex passcodes are a lot more difficult to guess or hack so we recommend turning the Simple Passcode option off and setting a Complex Passcode.  A Complex Passcode can contain over 90 characters, which can include any combination of letters, numbers and special characters.

To setup a complex passcode:

Settings > General > Passcode Lock

Settings > General > Touch ID & Passcode (for iPhone 5S users)

Below the Require Passcode tab is the Simple Passcode option which you can toggle on and off.

If you leave the Simple Passcode option on, your phone will allow you unlock and lock your phone with a four digit code.  If you turn Simple Passcode off, your phone will then require you to create a new passcode of any length with characters and or numbers.

Touch ID

If you have an iPhone 5s you have the option of setting up a Touch ID for added security.

A Touch ID will enhance the security of your phone by requiring your fingerprint before unlocking.

To set up a Touch ID first you need to set up a Passcode.  We explained how to do this on the previous slide.


iPhone Touch ID Screenshot

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iPhone Touch ID Scan Screenshot


Once you’ve done that open Settings > General > Touch ID & Passcode > Touch ID.

Now you can enroll your fingerprint by following these steps:

  1. Pick up your phone and hold it like you normally would when touching the Home button.
  2. Touch (not press) the Home button with your thumb or your preferred finger and hold it there.
  3. Remove your thumb or finger when you feel a vibration or when you are told to.
  4. Touch and lift your finger a number of times, making small adjustments to the position of your finger each time.
  5. After the initial scan, you’ll be asked to adjust your hold on the phone in order to also scan the edges of your fingerprint.
  6. Your phone will let you know when the scan is finished and your fingerprint is enrolled.

You can set your phone to recognise up to five fingers by following the above steps for each digit you wish to enroll.  However, having more than one finger enrolled slows the recognition process slightly and it may take your phone longer to unlock.


Setting Restrictions on your apps is extremely important if you wish to secure your iPhone against theft or loss.  Essentially, Restrictions allow you to restrict or block the use of certain apps, purchases, sensitive material and location services. Setting Restrictions is a good idea especially if you are using a shared device.


iPhone Settings General Screenshot

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iPhone Restrictions Screenshot


To set Restrictions

  1. Open Setting> General> Restrictions.
  2. Your phone will then ask you to set up a four digit restrictions passcode.
  3. You can pick which apps on your phone you would like to restrict by using the toggle function.

Importantly, there are options to restrict the installation of apps, in app purchases and the deleting of apps.  It is a good idea to turn these restrictions on so that if someone were to pick up your phone, they would be unable to make purchases with your Apple ID.

You can turn these restrictions off by:

  1. Going back in to Setting> General> Restrictions.
  2. Then use the toggle function to enable in App purchases.

To maximise the security of your phone, only turn the Restrictions off when you need to make a purchase and turn them back on immediately after.

The Restrictions section of your phone also allows you to block media based on rating, prevent certain apps from making changes to existing apps and can block apps from using your location services.


Keep Push Notifications Off The Lock Screen

iOS 7 allows users to access the Control Centre (panel containing frequently used settings) and view Push Notifications from the Lock ScreenPush Notifications may seem harmless but they can reveal a lot more of your personal information than you think.

Keeping your Push Notifications off the Lock Screen not only means fewer distractions for you but it will also make it much harder for potential thieves or hackers to  gather information about you and break into your device.


iPhone Notification Centre Screenshot

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iPhone Passcode Lock Screenshot


To hide the Control Centre and Push Notifications from the Lock Screen follow these steps:

  1. Open Setting> Notification Centre.
  2. Under the heading Lock Screen turn off Notification View and Today View.
  3. Open Setting> Control Centre.
  4. Turn off Access On Lock Screen.

Set Up Find My iPhone

Find my iPhone is a great application that can help you remotely lock, wipe and locate your lost or stolen iPhone or other Apple device.

However, before this application can be used it has to be activated so it’s a good idea to activate Find My iPhone as soon as possible, just in case you need it later. Find My iPhone requires iOS 5 or later so if you have not updated your devices you will need to do this first.

To set up Find My iPhone you will need to link your iPhone to your iCloud account.  If you have not already done this, you can follow the steps below.


iPhone Touch ID Screenshot

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iPhone Find My iPhone Screenshot


  1. Open Settings and then iCloud.
  2. Enter your Apple ID into the pop up notification.
  3. If Find My iPhone is turned off use the toggle to turn it on.

Find My iPhone should now be activated on your iPhone.

If you ever have the misfortune of needing to use this application simply open in a browser on any mac or pc.  You will then be able to track your missing device.

Connecting your device to your iCloud and turning on Find My iPhone also automatically activates Activation Lock which will require users to input the Apple ID registered to the phone before they can turn off Find My iPhone, erase the device or reactivate and use the device.

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