More ways to protect your smartphone

Last Monday I suggested ways to prevent thieves from getting in to your phone if it is stolen, Today I’ll talk about some more tricks you can use to keep your life private.

If you have an iPhone you can find it, and remotely wipe it (that is, remove all user-installed data). Formerly you needed to install an app called Find My Phone, but now you go to Settings, then tap iCloud. (Note that these instructions apply also to iPads) Here are the rest of the instructions from Apple’s site:

  1. If you’re asked to sign in, enter your Apple ID, or if you don’t have one, tap Get a Free Apple ID, then follow the instructions.
  2. Tap to turn on Find My iPhone (or Find My iPad or Find My iPod), and when asked to confirm, tap Allow.

Once you’ve got it set up, you can go to Apple’s Find website and then sign in with your AppleID. If the phone is turned on (and not in Airplane mode) a green dot will appear on the map (here’s what mine looks like as I write this:

Find my phone


If you want to erase it, instructions are on this web page. Note that if you click on My Devices and then on the relevant phone (or iPad, for that matter) you can make it play a sound (in case it’s in your house and you’ve lost it) or erase it, but once you do that it won’t have Find my phone on it either.

Finally, be sure you have the latest version of the operating system on your phone: 7.0.3. If you don’t have at least 7.0.2 someone could turn off Find my phone without getting past the lock screen (which, you’ll recall, you set after reading my last blog 🙂 )

Remember, these instructions work for iPads as well, because they use the same operating system.

The instructions for Androids are somewhat more complex (due, in part, to the fact that there is no uniform implementation of the Droid operating system–please no brickbats..), and instructions on remote wiping of those devices will have to wait for a later blog.

Celebrate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month by Protecting your Smartphone

OK, so NCSAM isn’t your favorite time of year. But if you were to lose your smartphone, and you hadn’t been careful with it, it would very definitely be your least happy time. And it’s not just the annoyance of having to get a new one, and reinstalling all that stuff…

For many of us, most of our life is accessible from our phones–from dates with our sweeties to bank account access to plane tickets–even blood pressure tracking and lists of meds. How much of that would you like to share with a phone thief? And make no mistake, Wayne State, like everywhere, is a good place for ‘Apple Picking’ (swiping a phone from someone’s hand while they are holding it out and looking at it).

What can you do? There’s a good website that C&IT provides. But the most important thing you can do is to lock your phone. Both iPhones and Android phones can be locked so that you need to type in a PIN before you can do anything other than call 911 (or, in the case of iPhones, take a picture). It’s mildly annoying, but you can set it so that the lock doesn’t take effect for some specified time, say fifteen minutes. That way you can reopen your phone right after you’ve closed it, if you’re like me and forget why you opened it in the first place, and only remember after you’ve closed it again.

In my next post I’ll talk about how you can remotely wipe your phone, so that even if someone breaks into it, they won’t find anything.

Can the University find you in an emergency?

For several years the University has had the ability to send out emergency messages through the most popular (and quickest) conduit–texting. If you register your cellphone number with the emergency messaging system, you can receive a text when a message goes out about, say, a snow day (or an electrical holiday, like we had a couple of weeks ago).
And, of course, if God forbid, there should be a real emergency (tornado, shooter, bomb threat) you would get the message within a minute or two of it being sent out (assuming your phone is capable of receiving texts, which most are these days).

Go here to learn about how to set this up–it only takes a few clicks and keystrokes.