Face ID customises your cell phone security but that alone does not make your iPhone secure. There is more to its safety than just a password or fingerprint recognition. There are apps and device settings that allow a savvy techie to access and operate your iPhone or iPad, even after it is locked. They can reply to a message from your lock screen without unlocking it. You can change these settings to securely lock them.
If your iPhone has the Face ID function (some old ones don’t), look for the notifications on your lock screen, which come on only after you pick up your phone, and unlock it using your Face ID. You can stop your iPhone or iPad from revealing the contents of any message. Opt for an alert from a specific app and tap on it to open your messages. Go to Settings>Notifications>Show previews, and choose between ‘Unlocked’ or ‘Never’. ‘Always’ will reveal the content of your notifications even when your iPhone is locked. This alone may not fully protect the device, but you can limit what an intruder can see or do on a locked phone.
The most important preventive action is going to Settings> Face ID/Touch ID and Passcode. Enter your passcode. Scroll down to ‘allow access when locked.’ This setting has numerous features like Siri, Today view, Control center and Wallet. Remember, any of these can be assessed directly from the lock screen—even when your device is locked—so long as the button is kept in the ‘on’ position. To check this out, press the side button to open Siri and ask it to send a message or make a call. You can swipe to the right across the lock screen to view your ‘Today view’ page with widgets that have your information. To protect your phone, turn off features that you deem others should be able to access. Turn off ‘Home control’ on your iPhone to stop an outsider from controlling your smart home through Alexa to Google.
If you are even more security conscious, use ‘Erase data.’ But make sure that you regularly back up your iPhone or iPad to iCloud. To ease data, go to Settings> Face ID/Touch ID & Passcode> enter your passcode and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Swipe to ‘on.’ In this status, the device will automatically factory reset, should anyone incorrectly enter the passcode 10 times.
Apple engineers are clever. After the intruder enters incorrect credentials, the phone will set a time limit to enter the passcode again. Each time a wrong password is entered, the device will automatically extend the time between attempts. Data shows that it takes an hour and 36 minutes to activate the erase function after 10 failed attempts.
Next on your agenda must be tidying up the privacy settings. Turn on ‘Find my’ available on Apple to locate a lost or stolen phone. Simple. Now, nobody can access any of those.