How to Protect Your iPhone From Being Stolen

Losing your iPhone is more than just losing the hardware, it also means that all your data are lost, and potentially accessed by hacker that use them with bad intention. While it is difficult to prevent you from losing your own phone, there are ways that you can use to make the retrieval process much easier, or make accessing the data an impossible task.

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One service that is highly recommended to protect your iPhone is Find My iPhone. Don’t be misled by the name, it can be used to find your iPad and iPod Touch as well.

Find My iPhone is by Apple and it is deeply integrated with iCloud. It allows you to see your iDevice on a map and you are able to remotely lock, send a message, and wipe your device from home. A chime can even be activated, letting either the thief know to leave the phone alone, or let the individual who discovers the lost iPhone know where to return it to.

How it works: To activate, you must first make sure you download the service from the App Store. Additionally, you must make sure you signed up for iCloud. Once the app is downloaded and you are all set up with iCloud, go to the iCloud settings in Settings. From there, go to Find My iPhone and turn the toggle on.

Back Up And Sync Your Stuff

For most individuals, it isn’t the fact that their iPhone was stolen, but more of the fact that their information was stolen that makes them angry. One way to prevent this from happening is to ensure that you have services like iCloud and Dropbox installed on your iDevice and your Mac.

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First off, with iCloud, make sure that you have it set to ping your iCloud stuff onto your other iDevices. When activated, iCloud keeps a copy of all of your iCal events, notes, Apple mail (.me, .mac, and .icloud), all of your iWork and contacts information, plus Find my iPhone. This technically only leaves your photos out of being saved.

How it works: To activate iCloud on your iDevice, make sure your device has iOS 5. Go to “Settings -> iCloud”. You will be able to sign in using your Apple ID. In iCloud settings, toggle all of the information you want to save to iCloud. Going to “Storage and Backup” allows you to view how much storage is available and how to purchase more. Toggling “Back Up” allows you to back up automatically (highly recommended). You can also back up any music, apps, and iBooks you purchase by going to Store and toggling Automatic Downloads.

Photo Stream allows you to view your photos saved from the last 30 days.This is where Dropbox comes in. If you activate Dropbox, you will be able to save information from apps that make use of Dropbox. In addition, photos can also be saved in Dropbox. With 2GB for free, that is ample space for saving your most important information when a theft occurs.

iphone-backup-dropbox

To activate Dropbox, make sure to download make sure to download the app for both iOS and Mac. You can sign up for Dropbox and download for Mac here. Everything from there is pretty seamless. Apps that support Dropbox (iBooks, PDF files in Mail or other programs etc) allow you to add straight from the app. If you want to view the content, you can do so straight from the Dropbox app.

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If your iPhone is lost or stolen and you have pre-configured Find My iPhone beforehand, you can now activate it to find your device.

If it is found and you are very sure that it was stolen from you, contact the authorities and give them information on the lost iPhone and where it is. If it was lost or if location information can’t be provided, you should either play a sound and message on your iPhone, deterring thieves. You can also activate a remote wipe, which cleans your iPhone of any information and locks it. A message can include your contact info on when/if found.

Call Your Service Provider

You should also contact your service provider and get them to suspend your account. This is highly recommended if your iPhone isn’t hooked with Find My iPhone or if you aren’t able to activate it. This will prevent the thief from using your service to make calls or use data.

It is easy to say that you need to be careful while handling your phone and not to place it anywhere, but considering how careless we can be while we are tired or not paying attention, implementing it at all times can be a difficult task.

Losing your phone or have it stolen is a pretty common thing that will happen to almost everyone. While you can’t prevent it, the best way is to protect you so you can retrieve it later, or the worst case, make it difficult, or even impossible, for the thief to access your data.

What other ways do you use to protect your phone?

Image credit:
pickpocket in action by BigStockPhoto
Iphone With Apps In Hand by BigStockPhoto

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