Apple is proud of the fact that it protects the privacy of its users, but it isn’t perfect. Apple devices aren’t perfect when it comes to security, just like any other tech. For example, there have been stories that thieves are not only stealing people’s iPhones, but also using them to lock people out of their Apple IDs. But Screen Time, which comes with iOS, could help you protect yourself.
iPhone Thieves Are Using Recovery Keys Against Users
A story has been going around the internet lately about how easy it is for a thief to lock you out of your Apple ID if they steal your iPhone. It has to do with a protection feature on Apple called a “recovery key.”
The recovery key is a unique password with 28 characters that can be used to prove who you are if you ever lose access to your Apple ID. In theory, it’s a great security feature: if you forget your password, your security key will let you in.
But you are the only one who knows where the key is: It only shows up once on your screen when you first set it up. After you check the code, it goes away for good. You have to write it down and keep it in a safe place. If you forget it, you won’t be able to log in without your Apple ID password, which will be hard to get if a thief has already changed it.
This means that if a hacker changes your Apple ID password and recovery key, you won’t be able to get into your account at all. The second is a bit too easy to do since all you need is the passcode for your iPhone to change the settings for your Apple ID restore key.
Thieves may look over your shoulder as you open your iPhone, copy your passcode, and then steal your iPhone. Then, they can open your device, go to the Recovery Key settings page, and use that passcode to set a new recovery key that you don’t know.
People get locked out of their iPhones and Apple IDs is not a new story, by the way. Back in February, after a string of thefts and lockouts, we gave some tips on how to stay safe. (Your iPhone’s four- to six-digit password can be a security risk.)
We’ve talked about some good ways to keep your device and its info safe in the past, but the recovery key mess has brought to light a new way. Screen Time could be your best friend if your iPhone ever gets stolen, as it turns out.
Screen Time can keep track of how you use your phone and limit how long you can spend on certain apps. It can also block access to certain settings. When it’s set up right, you can use it to block access to Account Settings, which will help a lot if your account is stolen: Even though your iPhone is gone, thieves won’t be able to lock you out of your whole Apple account.
How to Use Screen Time to Stop Thieves from Messing with Your Apple ID
you haven’t already set up a passcode. Make sure it’s not the same passcode you use for your iPhone because a thief probably already knows those numbers. Go to Content & Privacy Restrictions and scroll down to Account Changes. Type in your Screen Time PIN, then click “Don’t Allow.”
When you go back to the main Settings menu, you’ll see that your name at the top is grayed out. You have blocked access to everything that has to do with your Apple ID, including your recovery key settings.
Consider Not Using a Simple Passcode
This risk can be avoided if a thief never figures out your PIN. Face ID and Touch ID can help with this, and so can hiding your PIN when you have to enter it. But the best way to keep yourself safe is to bother yourself with an alphanumeric password.
It’s not fun to type out, but thieves won’t be able to get it just by watching you enter it. Plus, it’s much harder, if not impossible, to guess an alphanumeric password, especially on an iPhone. If your password is “L1F3h@cker,” instead of “528491,” no random person will be able to get in.
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