In the years since it was launched, the iPad has become a repository of our digital lives, and it contains an astonishing amount of personal data which we, naturally, want to keep safe.
In this tutorial, I'll show you a number of security measures that will help keep your data safe and secure just in case your iPad gets lost or stolen.
Set a Passcode
Setting a passcode is a good first step to securing your device.
Tap Settings > Touch ID and Passcode and then press Turn Passcode On. Enter and then re-enter a four-digit passcode, or, if you prefer a stronger passcode, tap Passcode Options and select one of the following three options:
- Custom Alphanumeric Code
- Custom Numeric Code, or
- 6-Digit Numeric Code
By default, as soon as you lock the iPad’s screen, you'll need to enter the passcode to unlock it.
Press Require Passcode to choose the window of time before a passcode is required. Shorter times are more secure; however, you may prefer a slightly longer window between locking your iPad and entering the passcode.
Flip the Erase Data switch to On to erase the iPad’s data after 10 failed passcode attempts. Be aware, however, that the erasing of data is permanent, so this option may be a little too extreme for some users, especially if you’re the forgetful type!
Set Up Touch ID
If the device supports Touch ID, you can choose to use a fingerprint to unlock the iPad instead of using the passcode. You can also use Touch ID to make payments with Apple Pay, as well as iTunes or App Store purchases.
Once you’ve set a passcode, tap Add a Fingerprint under the Fingerprints section to set up Touch ID. Touch the Home button lightly with a finger, but don’t press it. Hold the finger there until you feel a vibration, and then repeatedly tap the button when prompted, slightly adjusting the position of that finger each time.
Next, touch the Home button again, but with the outer areas of the fingertip, adjusting the position of the finger until the entire fingerprint has been scanned.
Enable Find My iPad
If your iPad is lost or stolen, Find My iPhone can help you trace the device. You can also use Find My iPhone to activate Lost mode, in which you can remotely lock or wipe the iPad and display a custom message containing your phone number on the lock screen.
Sign in with your Apple ID, and then press Allow to grant permission for Find My iPhone to access your location when using the app. Tap Turn On to allow Find My iPhone to store the last known location of your iPad for up to 24 hours once the battery has run out.
Press Settings > General > Restrictions and then Enable Restrictions to prevent thieves from disabling Find My iPhone. Enter and then re-enter the chosen Restrictions passcode in the Set Passcode box.
Scroll down until you reach the Privacy section, and then tap Location Services. Scroll down once again to the bottom of the screen, select System Services, and ensure that the Status Bar Indicator switch is flipped to Off so that thieves won't see an icon informing them that their location is being tracked.
Without realising it, you may have personal assistant Siri configured to bypass the lock screen security.
To block Siri from being able to bypass the passcode, tap Settings > Touch ID and Passcode, and then ensure that Require Passcode is set to Immediately. Afterwards, flip the Siri switch to Off under the Allow Access When Locked section. Siri will now only respond once the passcode has been entered.
Use an App
Here are three apps that will help beef up the iPad's security further:
Instead of writing the password on scrap pieces of paper or in the iPad's Notes app, consider using a password manager.
1Password is essentially a virtual vault in which you can store passwords, software licences, and other private information. It can also remove sensitive data from the iPad when you travel, and restore it with a tap once you arrive at your destination.
The app is subscription-based, costing £3.49 per month, or £34.99 annually.
Norton Mobile Security
Norton Mobile Security is another alternative to Find My iPhone, and it protects the iPad against theft and loss.
It triggers an alarm to help quickly locate a lost device and lets you place an Internet call to the missing iPad in order to make arrangements to get it back. Norton Mobile Security also automatically saves the device's location when the battery is low, and it will pinpoint it on a map using the remote locate feature.
Like 1Password, Norton Mobile Security is subscription based, costing £9.99 annually.
Although SurfEasy VPN will not protect an iPad from theft, it can help safeguard the device from other threats such as hackers.
SurfEasy VPN hides the iPad's activity and personal information from hackers, network monitoring tools and Internet service providers, and it encrypts web browsing, emails, messaging, online shopping purchases, apps, and more.
Again, SurfEasy VPN is subscription-based with several different subscription tiers, starting from £2.29.
In this tutorial, I've introduced you to a number of security measures that will help keep your data safe and secure if your iPad gets lost or stolen.
Ideally, though, it won’t come to that, and maintaining vigilance with both the device itself and the data stored on it will go a long way to keeping it secure.