Care you must take before leaving your iPhone in service

It is a very common situation: the iPhone or iPad has a defect and soon it beats that anxiety of delivering the device in the technical assistance. Your whole life is there, after all – from private conversations to bank details, to notes with personal information and photos that you might not want to see circulating on the internet.

Unfortunately, cases of data or images improperly exposed on the internet are not at all rare. We can recall the leaks of the intimate photos of several Hollywood celebrities, or occurrences recorded right here in Brazil, such as that of actor Stênio Garcia and his wife and the case of actress Carolina Dieckmann.

Sometimes, the problem can take even more serious forms: a few weeks ago, in the city of Feira de Santana (BA), the owner of an iPhones service was arrested after blackmailing a client, threatening to post intimate photos of her on the internet if she do not have sex with him – the information is from the newspaper mail. The victim even claimed to have erased all data from the iPhone before handing it over to assistance, but the criminal managed to recover it from an iCloud backup.

Therefore, it is good to always stress: there is a very simple way to guarantee that your data will remain private when handing your iPhone (or iPad, or iPod touch) to technical assistance. Check it out below:

Simple solution

The simplest and quickest (but not 100% foolproof) way to protect your device’s data revolves around two practical measures, but you must be running iOS 11.4.1 or higher.

“USB Accessories” option on iOS 11.4.1 or higher | Credit: Placeit

The first is to change your password to the most complex code you can imagine – use a strong alphanumeric password, with uppercase and lowercase characters, numbers and symbols.

Go in Settings »Face / Touch ID and Code» Change Code. Enter your current code and, when the option to enter the new one appears, tap on “Code Options”. Then choose “Custom Alphanumeric Code” and create your strong (but still memorable, of course) password.

Then, also within Settings »Touch / Face ID and Code, find the option “USB accessories” in the “Allow access when blocked” area. Make sure that this option is disabled – it is already inactive by default, but it is always good to make sure that you have not made the change at some other time and forgot about it.

As explained in this article, the tool (created to curb the action of unlocking boxes, such as GrayKey) blocks any communication from USB devices with your device after an hour of inactivity; you must enter your password for the initial connection protocols to be established. That is, it will be basically impossible for malicious individuals to use tools to discover your password by brute force methods.

The method is not 100% effective because, well, there are other ways for someone to find out your password – a security camera caught you unlocking the iPhone with it, for example, or someone peeked over your shoulder. Still, it is a solution that can be adopted by those who are sure that they will not pass the personal code to third parties under any circumstances.

Radical solution

There is also a more radical – and secure – way that guarantees the integrity of your data. Like? Simply backing up everything and erasing information from the device – this is also true for the moment when you will pass your device on (be it a sale or donation).

Resetting the iPhoneResetting the iPhone | Credit: Placeit

First, you must do backup of all your data. This can be done on iCloud itself or by transferring files, photos and other items of interest to an external device, such as a Mac or PC – get ready to take the spider webs from iTunes to complete the process, if you want something more automated. Remember to ensure that everything will be properly saved, as your device will be completely reset (that is, it will have the data completely erased and will return to its initial state, as it came out of the box).

Activation Lock

Then, you need to disable the Activation Lock. For non-initiates, this is a Find My iPhone tool that prevents device activation with another iCloud account without authenticating the original account. To do this, you must go on Settings »iCloud» Search My iPhone and turn the feature off. A system window will ask for your Apple ID password; type it in and the device will be unprotected by the tool (don’t lose it now!).

Finally, simply reset the device data and settings completely. To do this, just go on Settings »General» Reset and select the option “Delete Content and Settings”. The device will ask for your password, if it exists, and start the self-destruction process; in a few minutes, he will rise from the ashes like a newborn, totally out of memory.

With that, you have the certainty that, when you hand it over to someone else for repairs or after a sale / donation, it will not be possible to wallow in the data saved there (after all, there is none) or even have access to your data. iCloud (at this point, the device is completely disconnected from your account).

Then, in case the device comes back from repair or you receive a new one, just pull the backup and go back to your digital life.

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No need to thank. ?

tip from George Porto