Tips for traveling with an iPhone or iPad (iOS) and protect our data

Many people have to travel for work at any time of year. However, during the summer the number of people traveling (for leisure in this case) increases. In an interconnected world where personal data is very valuable for hackers and where we usually take all kind of personal information with us, it is essential to keep our device (both Android and iOS) safe and protected to prevent any unauthorized person from accessing it.

iOS is the OS that Apple installs on its iPads and iPhones. This system, which is closed source as opposed to Android, is also much more secure because it is very complicated to run unsigned malicious software on it (unless the device is jailbroken) and skip security measures. Therefore, in most cases, the information stored in the device is secured and no one can access it. However, it is always good to take precautions whenever we go on a trip to prevent hackers from identifying us and accessing our data.

Now, we will take a look at a series of tweaks that we must perform on our device before traveling in order to strengthen our security and privacy.

Protect your iOS devices before going on a trip

The first thing we must do is to make sure that we are using an iPhone 5S or a newer model, since the previous versions have serious vulnerabilities that can lead to data leaks. We also have to make sure that our phone is running on the latest iOS version. Additionally, to avoid being identified through our Apple ID, it is advisable to set up a new one to use it only during that trip.

As for our device’s security, it is recommended to activate Touch ID both for your safety and comfort. It is also advisable to set a long alphanumeric password to unlock the device without using Touch ID. We also recommended activating the two-factor authentication and the security questions/answers for Apple ID, and the option to erase all data after 10 failed attempts.

Another good option is to turn off the following features:

  • Siri
  • Bluetooth
  • Control Center on the lock screen
  • Siri Spotlight suggestions
  • Handoff and suggested apps
  • Voice dial
  • The access to all apps while the device is locked
  • All the iCloud features (especially the creation of backup files) except for Find My iPhone
  • The email, Messenger and SMS notifications
  • JavaScript on Safari
  • The automatic download of apps and updates

Before traveling, it is advisable to install the apps that we need (the less the better) and configure them. Other recommendations are using safe apps (such as encrypted note-taking apps), setting up a browser to connect only to secure HTTPS servers and carrying a USB Condom device, our own cable and charger, and even external batteries to charge the devices safely.

Lastly, we recommend restarting the device often to clear the cache and temporary files, and keeping the Wi-Fi off all the time (you should even turn on the airplane mode) unless we need to stay connected.

In this way, whenever we travel with an iPhone or an iPad, we can do it in a much safer and more private way, using the device only when strictly necessary so we are sure that our most private data will not be compromised even if our device gets stolen.

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