It’s amazing how much you can accomplish with a smartphone these days. These handheld computers can be used to search the internet, complete financial transactions through banking apps, take spectacular photos with near-professional quality cameras that are built-in and so much more. Tap or click here for a list of apps that will help you get even more out of your device.
Now imagine losing everything stored on your smartphone by accident. It’s truly a nightmare situation.
Believe it or not, but there is actually a hidden iPhone setting that could make this a reality. Let’s take a look at why this setting exists and how you can avoid erasing all of your critical files and precious memories by mistake.
Nightmare iPhone scenario comes to life
Apple put the setting in place to stop thieves from breaking into stolen iPhones. If someone steals your iPhone and attempts to guess your password or PIN multiple times, it’s designed to wipe its memory clean. While this is a great idea to thwart a crook’s attempt at getting into your device, it’s scary to think it could happen by mistake.
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Meteorologist Katie Walls recently found out the hard way that after 10 unsuccessful login attempts, iOS will by default erase everything on the device.
In a tweet, she explained that her 10-month-old son was “gumming” her phone, and in the process, managed to chew his way through 10 unsuccessful login attempts. The result from her default security settings? Everything got deleted and her last backup was made months ago.
PSA if you have an iPhone: unbeknownst to me, that bottom option was toggled on. So when my 10 mos old was gumming my iPhone, he inadvertently made ten unsuccessful attempts to log in…..AND IT DELETED EVERYTHING. The last backup I made was in June. Double check your settings! pic.twitter.com/aI5yq5aySQ— Katie Walls (@KatieWallsTV) December 14, 2020
Prevent your data from deletion
Reading that might send a shiver up your spine, so here is how to check or disable the function in iOS. Keep in mind, turning this setting off means if your device is stolen, the thief could make unlimited guesses to break in.
- Open Settings
- Scroll down and tap Face ID & Passcode
- Log in using your PIN code
- Scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see Erase Data
- Slide the toggle to the left to deactivate this setting if you so choose
When this setting has been deactivated, your device won’t delete everything after the maximum number of attempts have been reached. Just above that section, you can also double-check and enable which apps and functions would have access to your device when locked.
RELATED: Tech Tip: Back up your data before it’s too late
Backup your data regularly
It’s an excellent idea to keep your iPhone data backed up as regularly as possible. Apple has made this process rather seamless, and we’ll show you how to set it up.
- Open the Settings app
- Tap on your name card (the first option)
- Tap on iCloud
- Under the Apps Using iCloud heading, scroll down and tap on iCloud Backup
- Tap the slider to activate (it must turn green)
Once that has been activated, your iPhone will back up to iCloud automatically every time it is connected to power, the screen is locked and connected to Wi-Fi. It will backup data like your photo library, accounts, documents, Home configurations and the device’s settings.
Backup your camera roll
You can also manually back up your device by connecting it to a PC or Mac through a lightning cable. Apple iTunes will automatically open and ask if you want to save a copy of your device on that machine. If you ever lose your device or need to restore data, you can easily get all your information back by loading the latest backup through Apple’s recovery process.
Besides settings and important information, the tons of photos on our camera roll are often irreplaceable. There are several options if you want to double-backup your photos.
RELATED: How to hide photos and videos from your phone’s camera roll
One thing to remember is every iPhone user gets 5GB of iCloud storage for free. Beyond that, you will have to pay a monthly fee for more storage space. You would be better off using a professional backup service.
We recommend using our sponsor, IDrive. Back up all your PCs, Macs and mobile devices into ONE account at IDrive.com and use promo code Kim to get 50% off 5 terabytes of cloud backup! That’s less than $35 for the first year.
Google used to offer free unlimited storage for photos but not for much longer. It’s doing away with unlimited photo storage in Google Photos. In a few short months, anything you upload will count against the 15GB data cap that comes with your Google Account.