But even when your iPhone or iPad is locked, there are still some apps and device settings that anyone with physical access to your device can tap through. For example, someone might be able to reply to a message from your lock screen without ever unlocking your phone.
Scary, right? Here are three settings you need to change to completely lock your iPhone or iPad right now.
Don’t show notification content on the lock screen
If you have a newer iPhone that uses Face ID, you may have noticed that notifications on your lock screen are hidden until you pick up your phone and unlock it with your face.
You can take this security feature one step further by telling your Apple device never to reveal the contents of a message. Instead, you will see that you have a warning from a specific app and tapping it will open it.
Doing this will prevent prying eyes from seeing what your incoming emails and messages are saying. To double-check your settings or make a change to: Settings > notifications > Show previews and choose one of the two When unlocked or Never. Always, as the name implies, will always show the contents of your notifications, even when your phone is locked.
Limit what can be done on your locked iPhone or iPad
This is arguably the most important part of fully securing your Apple device. Go to Settings > Face ID/Touch ID & Passcode > enter your passcode then scroll down to the section labeled Allow access when locked.
There you will find a list of various device features ranging from things like Siri and Today View to Control Center and Wallet. Any feature with the switch in the on position can be accessed directly from the lock screen, even if your device is locked.
For example, I was able to pick up my wife’s phone, hold the side button to activate Siri, and tell her to message or call. I was also able to swipe right on the lock screen to see her Today View page, where she has widgets showing her day’s agenda and other personal information — while the phone was locked.
Go through this list and disable any features you don’t want anyone to access. I recommend turning them all off if you really want to keep your phone and its information locked. Leaving something like Home Control turned on may seem harmless, but depending on the number and types of HomeKit devices you have, someone can control your smart home. Fortunately, Apple requires authentication before you can unlock a door or open a garage door.
Ready to go to the extreme? Enable Clear data
This should be something you only do if you regularly back up your iPhone or iPad and can get your information back without a hitch.
Go to Settings > Face ID/Touch ID & Passcode > enter your access code and then scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. Slide the switch next to Delete information to the On position.
If Wipe data is turned on after someone incorrectly enters your device passcode 10 times, it will automatically reset to factory settings.
The process is not something that takes place in just a few minutes. After a few incorrect attempts, your phone or tablet will set a time limit before someone can re-enter your passcode. After another failed attempt, the time between attempts is extended. It would take 1 hour 36 minutes for someone to reach the 10 failed attempts mark before the erase function would be activated.
Now that you have more control over what kind of data and apps can be accessed while your phone is locked, take a few minutes. It’s a good idea to on all your Apple devices, so you can find a lost or stolen phone (now with the peace of mind that no one can access it).