If your phone gets stolen, the loss isn’t just the physical object; you also have to worry about what will happen to the sensitive data it contains. And, because your wireless network and personal data are only as secure as the weakest link in your security chain, your phone needs to be as secure as your laptop, if not more. Here are five security features that all iPhone users should take advantage of to ensure that their entire data network is secure.
1. Encrypt Your Data With a Longer Password
iOS 9 allows you not only to encrypt all of your data so that even Apple can’t see it, but also to do it with a longer, alphanumeric password. The standard four-digit password makes your password one of just 10,000 possibilities. That might sound like a lot, but it’s not to a hacker. On the other hand, a six-place alphanumeric password has more than 2.1 billion possible combinations. That’s five orders of magnitude more security.
2. Enable “Find My iPhone”If you phone does get stolen, there’s fortunately a very easy way to find it. It’s called “Find My iPhone,” and it allows for GPS tracking of your phone. You might worry about being tracked wherever you go, but your iPhone also allows you to shut off location tracking for just about any application, so you can go through, shut off the other location tracking options and still find your iPhone if it gets lost or stolen.
3. Allow Voice and Video iMessages to Expire
It’s just a simple fact that the longer data is allowed to sit around, the more likely it is to become compromised. So it’s good that iOS 9 allows you to let voice and video iMessages expire in their time. That means you don’t have to monitor or clean out your old messages. iOS 9 is going to do it for you.
4. Change Your Default Wi-Fi Hotspot Password
iPhones also double as Wi-Fi hotspots for those times when you’re getting a signal on your phone but don’t have any Wi-Fi. The problem is the default password, which any hacker worth his salt probably already has. Change that immediately or you might be looking at a serious security situation.
5. Disable Preview Notifications
It’s probably not smart to let every text message and alert show up on your lock screen. Fortunately, you can disable this so that you get only generic notifications like “New Text Message.” That’s a good thing for just about any situation.
Nicholas Pell is a freelance writer based in Hollywood, CA. He writes about music, personal finance and technology for publications such as LA Weekly, Salon and Business Insider. He’s been online since the days of Usenet groups and bulletin board systems.