You should always use a passcode on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to protect your mails and other sensitive data. Even if you think “my data isn’t that important” keep in mind that anybody who has access to your iOS device (e.g. your stolen phone) can check where you have your mail or online shopping accounts and reset your password. The new password gets sent to your mail address which is accessible through your device. Even if the provider (a potential thief wants to reset your password at) requires additional data like the full address, your birthday or some information about your parents: you most likely lose. There is lots of data like this in your mails and address book.
Are you setting a passcode yet? Good. It’s located under Settings → General → Passcode Lock. Apple has a more thorough explanation.
While you’re at it: do yourself a favor and activate Erase Data. This will wipe your device after ten failed passcode attempts. “Just ten attempts? What if a prankster or small child has my iPhone?” I’m glad you asked:
After the sixth incorrect passcode your iPhone will be disabled for one minute. Another failed attempt afterwards and add another five minutes of waiting time. The following table lists the waiting times which are missing from Apple’s knowledge base document on this topic.
|Failed Attempts||Added Waiting Time||Total Waiting Time|
|1 to 5||none||none|
|6||1 minute||1 minute|
|7||5 minutes||6 minutes|
|8||15 minutes||21 minutes|
|9||60 minutes||81 minutes|
|10||60 minutes||141 minutes|
|11||black screen||wiped device|
After eleven failed passcode attempts (which take at least two hours and 21 minutes) your device’s screen will go black and all data will be deleted. After that you can always restore from your last backup made with iTunes — sync every day!
Getting my new iPhone 4 gave me the opportunity to try this on my 3GS; tortured in the name of science!