Take security seriously and interested in how to enable data protection on your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad? The good news is that if you use a passcode, iOS 4 data protections protects the hardware encryption keys on your device, making email, attachments, and 3rd party apps (if they enable it) much more secure. The bad news is, if you updated your iPhone 3GS, iPod touch 3, or original iPad from iOS 3 to iOS 4, data protection might not have been turned on even with the passcode. Not to worry, we'll walk you through all the possibilities, after the break!

[Apple KB via TidBITS]

How to set a passcode

If you haven't got a passcode lock set up on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, that's the place to start.

Bonus Tip: You can set your passcode lock to automatically erase your device after 10 failed attempts. That's great if you ever lose your device but if you have young children who can get ahold of it, you might find yourself restoring your wiped device with frustrating frequency. Security is constantly at war with convenience, make your choice.

How to set a stronger passcode

With iOS 4 you can switch the passcode from simple 4-digit numeric to full on alphanumeric for seriously stronger protection.

  • From the Settings: General: Passcode Lock screen...
  • Switch the Simple Passcode toggle to OFF
  • Enter your current 4-digit numeric passcode to verify
  • Enter a new, strong alphanumeric passcode

A combination of numbers, letters, and symbols is good, pseudorandom is even better but the difficulty in remembering it probably outweighs any benefit.

How to check for data protection

Now that your passcode is enabled, check to make sure you have data protection on. (It should be on by default for all iPhone 4, iPod touch 4, and iPad 2 devices, but if you updated your iPhone 3GS, iPod touch 3, or original iPad from iOS 3 to iOS 4 it might not be.)

  • From the Settings: General: Passcode Lock screen...
  • Scroll down to the very bottom and look for the text "Data protection is enabled"

If it's there, you're good to go. If not, keep reading!

How to enable data protection if it's not on by default

Remember, this is only for iPhone 3GS (2009), iPod touch 3 (2009), and original iPad (2010) if "Data protection enabled" isn't showing up on the Settings screen.

Make sure you backup your device before restoring, then choose restore from backup to get all your data back onto your device. Once it's done, sync and then check the Setting screen again to make sure data protection is now enabled.


If you have any questions or any other data protection tips, leave them in the comments!

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