Phone security tips

iPhone securityMy recent horrible but happily resolved adventure with my lost phone has gotten me thinking about additional phone security.

You can keep a lot of very important information on your phone these days.  Losing it could cause serious problems and a lot of worry.

What security tales and tips can you share?

I have an iPhone… which is soon going to be beefed up with more security tools.

Here is a first tip, if you have an iPhone, you can look up its geographical location through MobileMe. 

I didn’t have that, but I think I am going to get it.  I sure wish I had that option when my iPhone went missing.

I wonder if there is an app which allows you to erase or "brick" your phone if it goes missing.

Also, is there a way to tell if your phone has been "cloned"?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Did you find it Father?

    No, I mean did St. Anthony lead you to it?

    He NEVER fails!

    I have stories I could tell…hey, that might make a good post topic for your combox…the proof that St. Anthony really works!

  2. Actually, Father, the MobileMe service also allows you to completely wipe your phone (which you can restore from a backup in the future) or just lock it (if you never set a wake-from-sleep passcode) when it’s missing, in addition to telling you it’s geographical location and sending it a beeping message if you lose it. Even though mobileme costs around 100$/year, I think it’s worth it simply for its find-my-iPhone features!



  3. Girgadis says:

    Sorry if this is something you already know, Father – with the MobileMe option, upon discovering that your phone was missing, you could have erased all of your personal information from the iPhone by logging on to your MobileMe account. I only know this because my adult daughter has an iPhone as well as a talent for losing and misplacing things. She knew when she bought the phone that she had better get the MobileMe feature with it.

  4. Mariana says:

    Father, there isn’t an app that allows you to erase things, but if you’ll phone your operator they’ll shut down your lost phone.

  5. Mariana says:

    “that might make a good post topic for your combox…the proof that St. Anthony really works!”

    And the Guardian Angels!

  6. jasonrossiter says:

    You can get a discounted version of MobileMe from for just $72 or so (for an individual account). At least you can as of this afternoon.

  7. roamincatholic says:

    Not to repeat what they said above, but the “Remote Wipe” capability started with the iPhone 3G, which if you don’t have, it won’t work. You can do this through Microsoft Exchange or Mobile Me. I like Mobile Me, personally, because of all of the Apple applications that you can use via the web, your computer, or your phone.

    Good luck!

  8. RichardT says:

    But how do we know that it IS Fr.Z posting this, and not the iPhone thief?

  9. MAJ Tony says:

    Some of the newest phones, Palm Pre, for example, have a way to remotely disable any way of accessing things like passwords.

  10. I’m glad you found it, Father.

  11. KarenLH says:

    If you passcode lock your iPhone (Settings->General->Passcode Lock), you can additionally set an option (I don’t, but you can) which will wipe the iPhone if someone tries 10 incorrect passcodes in a row. Also, there are several apps (I use “If Found +”) which allow you to edit your wallpaper so that your name and contact number (or any other text you like) are displayed even if the device is locked.

  12. Magpie says:

    Up until very recently, I used to put my confession ‘note’ on my mobile phone. Hmmm… Yes well anyway, I would delete it after confessing, but it’s not really a good idea since you might lose your phone, have it stolen, and even if you delete the note, it’s still on the phone since it will remain there unless the data is over-written, which may never happen. Needless to say, I’ve now given up that practise out of security concerns!

  13. BTW… by sheer good fortune I had backed up my phone to my laptop about 10 minutes before it had gone missing. That is something people should to do often. BACKUP!

  14. I have a Blackberry, so I end up with a different software available for me. That said, there are two pieces of software that I’ve had luck with – RobLock & SmrtGuard. Like MobileMe, they’re subscription-based software, but good to have. GPS-location, remote calling (listen in on whoever has your phone), remote lock, remote alarm & remote wipe.

    About three months ago I decided that I DIDN’T need this software and took it off – BlackBerry’s have a smaller limit for applications than iPhones. Not two weeks later, I left my phone at a Fred Meyer’s. Some kid picked it up, as I found out after getting in touch with the security office there.

    I ended up tracking my phone usage online through AT&T’s online account access. I called each person my phone’s holder called and called each person he sent a text message to. After several conversations where the words ‘police’, ‘witness’, ‘charges’ and ‘jail’ were liberally dropped, my phone was peacefully returned intact five hours after I lost it.

    Software on my phone would have been less painful…. so I re-installed RobLock and won’t ever take it off!

  15. thefeds says:

    Dear Father Z,
    Philip Platz (2nd comment from top) is right on the money. MobileMe is all you will need to wipe the phone clean remotely. I have had an iPhone for 2 years now, and would be totally last if it got lost. Hope you and it have been reunited. Also, regarding an earlier post, I hope some day we might meet and swap seminary horror stories.
    Keep up the good work you do, both in your ministry and blogging ministry. Your articles and posts are a big help to a lot of people, myself at the top of the list.

    Rob Federle

  16. kelleyb says:

    I do not have “Home”or “hubby” etc number on my phone. If my purse goes missing, it would have keys and phone. Now the bad guy would have house keys & address. He would be unable to call “home” to see if anyone was there before attempting a break-in. I list home as Kelley and
    Dan. I do the same for the kids phones.
    I also attempt to keep my keys in my pocket when out instead of my purse. So if my purse is stolen, I still have a way to get home.

  17. kelleyb says:

    Oops, preview window is my friend.
    He would be ABLE to call “home” to see if anyone was there before attempting a break-in.

  18. I have found MobileMe to be well worth it.

  19. CarpeNoctem says:

    Father, I recently came across a blog on the topic of stolen iPhones, which perhaps people here are referencing: I found it an amusing story, a reason to get MobileMe, and a reminder to have my iPhone turned OFF if I do not want to be found/tracked/bugged/stalked for some reason.

  20. ipadre says:

    I have MobilMe and love it. You can track, lock, send a message to and erase your phone. Every now and than I test the tracking and see how close the GPS will go and it comes within 100′, and that’s in the country. Another tip is to keep it in lock mode when traveling. I unlock it to use it and when I put it to sleep it goes back into lock mode, that way, if you drop it or it is stolen, they can’t get to your data.

  21. Carpe: That blog you posted about was really interesting!

  22. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Father, I’m very happy you got your iPhone back.

    Carpe: your blog story about tracking the stolen iPhone is riveting, and glad for the happy ending.

    Hoo-boy, what a story about loss of privacy. Gulp.

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