Protect Your iPhone If It Gets Lost Or Stolen

iphone security

iphone safetyOur mobile devices are no longer just phones. In fact, I use my iPhone far more for email, texting, scheduling, weather information, directions, social media, and of course as my day-to-day camera, than I do for making phone calls.

Unfortunately I had the experience of having my iPhone stolen right out of my hands as I stood on a busy NYC street in the middle of the day writing a long email.

Luckily the only thing I lost was the email I was in the middle of writing. Well, and the phone itself. But my photos, notes, files and all my other data were safe.

Here then are my steps for how to protect your iPhone in case it gets lost or stolen. Steps 4 and 5 are essential in order to protect your photos.

1) Always get the insurance

Luckily my phone was insured, but to be honest, it was a spur of the moment decision at the time of purchase, and when my phone was stolen, I couldn’t remember which way I had decided until I was able to check with my carrier after the theft.

As a result, I was only out a $199 deductible and then a replacement phone was sent to me overnight within 24 hours of filing the claim. You can bet that I will ALWAYS get the insurance without hesitation in the future.

2) Have a back-up device, if possible

I don’t know about you but I am really not sure how I would function without my iPhone. Luckily, I have a second phone as well as an iPad and I had both on me. My second phone wasn’t charged but I also had my Moiphe charger with me, and I will definitely be paying more attention to keeping my backup device charged. In the meantime, I was able to use my iPad to text and email.

I know a second phone is not really feasible for many, but if your job offers you the option of a separate phone, take it! I know many people carry a personal device as well as a work one and it seems a little crazy to carry two devices but I never thought about the benefit of having one to back up the other… until now!

3) Check that Find My iPhone App is turned on

Locate the app under Settings/iCloud. Download the Find My iPhone App to all your other devices as well. Using my iPad, I was able to quickly note that the thief had turned my phone off, and I was able to remotely wipe it, or at least set it so it would get wiped when it is next turned on.

4) Turn iCloud backup on

Locate this app under Settings/iCloud, as well. To be honest, I did not have this turned on because I didn’t want to pay extra to increase my storage allowance so that it would backup. Now that I have, I found out it is only $1/month for the storage I need right now. What was I thinking? That is $12/year that is worth spending!!!

I had an iTunes back-up from about a month ago so it wasn’t too bad, my texts are also on my computer and everything else is backed up to the cloud via other means (including my photos) so all it meant was that I had to re-download a few new apps I had recently downloaded and try to remember how I had rearranged a couple of screens. Still, for the truly minimal cost, it is worth it to know I always have an up-to-date backup so I can restore my phone to EXACTLY how it was.

5) Turn on Photo Stream

You will also find Photo Stream under Settings/iCloud. Yes, your photos are backed up if you have iCloud backup on but they are not backed up as frequently as they are with Photo Stream.  iCloud backups run when your phone is locked and plugged into power, whereas Photo Stream updates every time you are on a wifi network.

Photo Stream also allows you to access your photos from all your devices including iPhoto or Aperture on your Mac. This is truly magical.  There’s no need to plug in your phone to download your photos! And if your device is lost or stolen, you don’t need to wait to get a new device and restore from backup in order to access your photos.

6) Don’t stand on the street writing long emails!

Ok, so this one might only apply in big cities, but there are certainly very few, if any situations that require you to stand on the street writing long emails. In the future, I will at least make sure to duck into a store if I have an urgent email to write.

Am I never going to take my phone out again in public? No. I suspect the thief had been watching me write the email for a while and I think that quick checks on the street are ok. But I am making sure to be more aware of my surroundings and to hold my phone more “defensively” when I do take it out.

That’s it! Stay safe, protect your data and your memories, and if you have any other suggestions or questions, please post them below.