Best Security Practices for Using Your iPad at Work

By Galen Gruman

You should take several steps to keep your iPad secure if you use it at work. After all, it’s got a treasure trove of information on it that you don’t want to lose or have fall into the wrong hands. So be sure to adopt the security best practices recommended here.

Require a password

Every iPad should have a password enabled so that a stranger can’t just wake your iPad and get access to your documents, apps, bookmarks, and so on. If your iPad doesn’t have a password already set up, go to the Settings app to do so:

  1. Tap Passcode to open the Passcode Lock screen.

  2. Tap Turn Passcode On.

  3. Enter the desired passcode.

    It’s best to use something that combines letters and numbers and isn’t the same as other passwords you use so that a thief who knows one password can’t access everything with it.

  4. Set Require Passcode to a comfortable period.

    For example, if your iPad is rarely out of your control, set it to 5 Minutes. If your iPad contains state secrets, set it to Immediately.

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Limit information to data when locked

The iPad provides a lot of access to data even when it is locked. That’s really handy because you can glance at your iPad to see recent alerts and missed messages, check your calendar, turn on and off features like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and even issue voice commands through Siri.

In iOS 8, you can activate Siri by simply saying “Hey, Siri,” so someone can get Siri to respond without even having to touch the iPad.

But maybe you shouldn’t do this. On an iPhone, which you nearly always have in a pocket or your hand, these easy-access features are hard for others to use. But most people leave their iPad unattended for long periods of time, as they do their computers, so someone can easily see what information is available on your Lock screen. So maybe you shouldn’t show so much there.

Go through the following settings and ask yourself what you really want accessible on the Lock screen:

  • In the Passcode Lock screen, disable any service you don’t want people to use when the iPad is locked by turning off their switches. The options are Today, Notifications view, and Siri.

  • In the Notifications screen, go through the various services, including your email accounts and Messages, and decide what you’re okay with being visible on the Lock screen to strangers. That way, you can leave Notifications view on in the Passcode Lock screen, knowing you’ve filtered the information it displays.

  • In the Control Center screen, think about turning the Access on Lock Screen switch to Off so that someone can’t enable or disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirDrop, or other such settings behind your back.

  • In the General screen, tap Siri and consider setting the Allow “Hey Siri” switch to Off so that saying “Hey, Siri” doesn’t activate Siri.

Limit what’s monitored on your iPad

Apps can take advantage of a lot of data on your iPad to better serve you. They can access your contacts to see what your friends are sharing if they use the same social network you do. They can check your location to deliver localized restaurant recommendations, weather, and driving conditions. They can monitor your motion to track how many steps you walk each day, or to let you play games in which your movements simulate that of an onscreen character.

But many apps monitor more than they need to. You can manage what they monitor in the Settings app. On the Privacy screen, go through the various services periodically to see whether you’re comfortable with the access that various apps have to them. For example, why does that calculator app need to know your location? It probably doesn’t, and you can block it here.

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Another place where your activities are monitored is the web browser. The iPad’s Safari browser tracks the websites you visit, as do third-party browsers like Google Chrome. But these browsers also have a way to disable such tracking, called private browsing.

If you use Safari, tap the New Tab icon at the upper right. Then tap the Private button at the upper right. Anything you visit while Private is enabled is not tracked in the browser’s history. While you’re in Private mode, the menu bar is dark gray, not light gray.

If you use Chrome, tap the Menu button at the upper right and choose New Incognito Tab to begin a private browsing session. You’ll see the icon of a spy at the upper left of the screen as long as you’re browsing privately.

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Use Find My iPad

Apple has a really useful service called Find My iPad, which you should be sure is turned on. You’ll find the control in the Settings app’s iCloud screen.

This service lets you find your iPad from Apple’s iCloud.com website on any computer, as well as from the Find My iPhone/iPad/iPod app on another iOS device — so be sure to install this free app from the App Store on all your devices.

But Find My iPad does more than help you find your iPad. It can lock or wipe the iPad remotely, if it has an Internet connection, as well as send a message to the screen. You can also send a noise to it, which is quite handy when your iPad is hiding under a couch, car seat, or pillow.

It also enables activation lock, so someone can’t wipe your iPad and set it up with a new iTunes account (or, if you have a cellular iPad, set up a new data plan) — the person would need to know your Apple ID and password to do so.

With Find My iPad, you may not get your stolen iPad back, but at least you know the thief can’t use it, either.