Hopefully your iPhone (or other iDevice) will never be lost or stolen, but in the event it does, you'd probably feel better if the finder or thief didn't have full access to all your private data. There may also be a few things you don't want friends to accidentally discover when they borrow your mobile for quick use. Here's how to lock down all your private data so you don't have to worry about it.
Photo by Alhovik (Shutterstock).
When it comes to locking down your iPhone, you basically have two options: standard and jailbreak. There's a lot more you can do with jailbreak apps and tweaks, but you can still keep private data private with options available to every iOS user. We'll talk about the stuff anyone can use first, and then get into the jailbreak options.
How to Lock and Encrypt Data on Your iPhone
Keeping data private on a regular iPhone is pretty simple, though it involves making a few compromises. The obvious option is adding a password to your device, but that means your data is only protected when the phone is locked. Resetting that password isn't impossible, and some data can still be accessed through apps like iExplorer. If you want to really keep your data secure, you need to use apps that encrypt it.
One app we like for the job is Ben the Bodyguard ($5.49). It not only keeps a collection of private data encrypted on your iPhone, but it's also a lot of fun. It features a fictional bodyguard named Ben who has a complete backstory and a charming accent. If $5 is a little too rich for your blood, Private Data is a decent and free alternative.
Not all data can be relegated to a private app, however, as you likely send text messages and emails that you might want to keep away from prying eyes. Unfortunately, there is no solution to the email problem (that we're aware of), but a previously mentioned app called Black SMS can send encrypted text messages. (The app is also required for decryption.) The process is a little tedious, but it's worth a shot if you have anything private you want to say on your phone.
How to Lock Just About Anything with One Jailbreak Hack
As it generally goes, you can do a lot more if you jailbreak your iPhone (or other iDevice). Data privacy is no exception. If you don't want to make any compromises, there's a very simple way to selectively lock down pretty much anything on your device. It's a jailbreak tweak called Applocker.
Applocker ($US1) is a very simple tweak that will pretty much provide you with the security you'll need, easily and on demand. To install it, just search for it on Cydia, pay the $US1, and open up your Settings app to set it up. If you swipe down the main settings page, you'll find Applocker's settings tab. Tap it and you can start locking apps, folders and pretty much anything else on your iPhone. If you turn on the jiggle-mode setting, you can lock any single app from the home screen so that it requires a password to be opened. The process is very simple: you just tap and hold down in the same way you would to delete an app or rearrange it on your home screen, then tap the lock icon in the app's bottom-left corner. You can even have apps automatically unlocked on certain Wi-Fi networks, if you'd prefer not to bother entering your password frequently at home (for example). Basically, you pay a dollar and have incredible control over when and where pretty much anything is locked down (or not).
Hopefully these methods and apps will help you keep your iPhone's data nice and private. Got any other suggestions? Let's hear 'em in the comments!