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Understand how the iOS “Erase Data” feature works and why you should activate it

IOS has a very interesting data protection feature. If you are in Face / Touch ID and Code settings and scroll down, see an option called “Erase Data”. It works as follows: if someone incorrectly enters their 10x password, all data on the iPhone / iPad / iPod touch will be erased.

This is great when we think of a theft scenario or even if you lose your device and find no more. Knowing that after these 10 attempts your data will be protected (that is, it will disappear from the device) can give you some comfort after all, the content inside belongs to you only and should not be seen by anyone else. Although the loss of iGadget itself is bad, life goes on, you buy another one and you can restore all your data in a good way in the new one (as long as you have a backup in iCloud or iTunes, of course).


I've always had this option enabled here, but an article written by John Gruber (from Daring Fireball) showed that many people simply don't know how this beautiful resource works.

Gruber did a Twitter poll recently in which 4,000 people participated. About 1/3 replied that they used the resource, while 2/3 said they did not. Among the people who do not use it, many answered that they do not activate this option for fear of their children typing the code incorrectly 10 times and boom! This impressed me a lot, since such fear just doesn't make sense. But I remembered exactly how I found this out: it was precisely because of my daughter, who took my phone and typed the wrong password many times. 😝

You know what happened? No, the data has not been erased. The feature is very smart and makes it difficult just so that data is deleted only when someone really wants to break into your iPhone / iPad / iPod touch.


It works like this: when you miss the code by fifth time in a row, the system is inactive for 1 minute until someone can enter the code again to try to unlock the device (while, during this inactivity, everything you can do with the iPhone to call an emergency service); on the sixth error, iOS is inactive for 5 minutes; in the seventh error, 15 minutes; and the numbers will increase in such a way that to enter 10x the password incorrectly, it will take 3 hours! Thus, it is almost impossible for your child to be able to erase your data without you noticing.

The problem that apparently hardly anyone knows is that this feature works like this, thus generating this fear of losing all data at any time, in a simple and easy way. The truth is that data will only be erased from the device if really a malicious person is trying to get on the iPhone / iPad / iPod touch. The, at least in my view, it is better to erase everything soon so as not to take the risk after all, if your device is in the hands of such a person, you will hardly be able to recover it.

In short: you can (and should!) Activate “Erase Data” without fear. 😉