Apple devices have always been known for their security features, like the Find My Network, which has been updated a lot in recent years. But a report from the Wall Street Journal on Friday said that these features are not enough to stop thieves from getting into users’ data. With iOS 17, Apple should put even more money into making iPhones and iPads less likely to be stolen.
Smartphones have been taken before. But the reasons for these thefts have changed a lot in the last few years. People used to steal phones to sell them on the black market. Even though Apple and other companies made things like iCloud Lock, phone thieves still took them.
What Then? Smartphones Have Both Passwords and Fingerprint Scanners.
Some of you might be asking the same thing. How could you get to all the apps on a smartphone if it has a password or, even better, Face ID or Touch ID to protect it? Criminals have found ways around this, and I’m not even talking about advanced ways to hack the phone.
In one of the examples given by Joanna Stern of the WSJ, a group of thieves chooses a person who isn’t paying attention so they can steal their phone. But before they do that, one of the thieves secretly records videos of the victim typing in their password to unlock the phone. In some countries, like Brazil, armed thieves even ask the person they’re stealing from for the iPhone’s password before taking it.
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Apple has also made changes to its security system that make it easier for iPhone and iPad users to do a lot of things with just a password. For example, you can go into the Settings app and change your Apple ID password using only the PIN code for your device. This can help someone who forgot their Apple ID password, but it can also help thieves change the account password quickly on a stolen phone.
Even if you have Touch ID or Face ID turned on, if you know the iPhone passcode, you can easily bypass these security measures. That’s because iOS asks for your passcode as a backup when it can’t read your biometrics. This means that if someone knows your password, they can use your private notes, banking apps, and even Apple Pay.
What Can Be Done to Fix the Problem?
There’s no easy answer to this problem. As I said before, there’s not much you can do if someone records a video of your password from a distance or even forces you to give it to them in a violent way.
Apple, on the other hand, can (and should) do a few things to make it harder for thieves and give victims more time to find a way to lock their stolen phones and bank accounts. Samsung, for example, lets users make a protected folder with certain apps that can only be accessed in certain situations, like when the phone is connected to the user’s Wi-Fi network.
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On Samsung phones, users can also change the names and icons of their bank apps to make them look like something else. This doesn’t stop others from using them, but it makes it harder for them to do so. You might have time to call your bank and ask them to lock your account.
But the first thing Apple should do is get rid of the option to reset the Apple ID password using only the iPhone and iPad passcode. This is very worrying for a company that says it cares about privacy and security. Most people use weak passwords for their devices, and Apple’s default option for iOS is a 6-digit PIN.
The Brazilian online bank Nubank recently added a feature called “Street Mode.” When this mode is turned on, the app uses the location and Wi-Fi network name of the user to block some transactions. So, if someone steals your phone on the street, they won’t be able to send you a lot of money. Even if the attacker knows the victim’s password.
Apple could add a native API to the system so that apps can only do certain things depending on where the device is. And most importantly, Apple should make users set a password that is different from the iPhone passcode in order to change these settings.
How to Keep your iPhone Safe Right Now?
Apple told the report that it will “continue to advance the protections to help keep user accounts safe.” Even though Apple hasn’t added any new anti-theft security features to the iPhone yet, here are some things you can do to protect yourself
- Use Face ID or Touch ID instead of typing your password in public.
- If you have to enter your passcode on your iPhone in public, cover the screen.
- Opt for a stronger password
- Don’t write down or store bank passwords in password managers or notes.
- Screen Time > Privacy Restrictions > Use a different PIN code